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Playboy hops onto reality wave

Erotic formats to include 'Road Rally', 'Funhouse'

CANNES — Playboy TV has caught the reality wave and is using Mipcom to take the wraps off a trio of erotic formats for the world market.

The company is hoping to capitalize on two trends sweeping the international TV biz: the unprecedented traffic in unscripted reality formats, everything from shockumentaries and adventure gameshows to makeover shows; and the popularity in almost all territories of local shows or at least imported programming that has been localized.

“We have always been in the forefront of voyeur television, but given the success of reality concepts like ‘Millionaire’ and ‘Survivor,’ we’re now taking it to the next level,” Playboy VP of programming and sales Andrea McBurnett told Daily Variety.

Think again

Playboy also wants to persuade traditional broadcast clients of Playboy to “think again” about the company’s programming. The new sales pitch is “Playboy sensuality and local sensibility.”

Among the erotic formats McBurnett and her team will be hawking at Mipcom are “Playboy’s Road Rally,” which she describes as “Road Rules” meets “Survivor” — but with Bunny ears.

Another new concept is “Funhouse,” which monitors three women and two men who frolic in a house in Malibu with both visible round-the-clock cameras and some hidden ones as well.

Checking in

Third up is a show now being shot in L.A. called “Sexy Urban Legends,” which focuses on sexy encounters in public places like hotels and restaurants.

For station buyers at this week’s Mipcom trade show, the Croisette in Cannes has been dressed with posters advertising the new-look Playboy formats.

Playboy programming is widely sold in more than 47 countries, and it’s not just latenight niche cable channels that air it. Mainstream broadcasters in Europe and elsewhere air sexually explicit material with much more nonchalance than their counterparts in the U.S. do.

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