It’s always a bit of a risk when watchdog groups like the Parents Television Council go public with criticism of whatever it is that’s gotten their goat — or, in the PTC’s case, their bunny. In effect, going public makes it public, and therefore keeps the conversation going about something you don’t want to talk about. Case in point: Tim Winter’s group has been on NBC’s new series The Playboy Club from the start for its direct reference to the 1960s clubs that were spun off from Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine. There’s been calls to boycott advertisers, kudos for the decision by a Salt Lake City affiliate not to air the show, and general anger at NBC and parent Comcast attempting in the PTC’s view to “mainstream pornography.”
Now today comes the latest “hey look at this don’t watch this” in the form of a press release ripping the show’s tie-in with Playboy that has series star Laura Benanti posing on this week’s cover — timed to the series premiere Monday night — and is priced at 60 cents, the same as it was during the era in which the NBC show is set. The PTC says NBC is being hypocritical by insisting that the series isn’t about the nudity aspect of Playboy, but rather about the times in which the clubs thrived — and the group certainly has a point with the magazine stunt (Benanti appears inside but not fully naked). But the bigger question is, who’s really winning this fight? Are more people not going to watch the show because of the PTC’s efforts, or have those efforts made people more likely to tune in?