The Parents Television Council has put a second broadcast pilot in its cross-hairs this season. After blasting ABC over the working title of its dramedy pilot Good Christian Bitches, now the TV watchdog is attacking the NBC drama pilot The Playboy Club over the nudity clause in the actors’ contracts.
Interestingly, PTC is going after the newly merged NBCUniversal, whose network NBC commissioned the pilot, not after the pilot’s producing studio 20th Century Fox TV, whose business affairs department inserted the controversial language. “During last year’s public comment period for the Comcast/NBC merger, the PTC called on the FCC to force Comcast to stipulate that it absolutely will not use the public airwaves to distribute pornographic material, the public interest demands no less,” said PTC president Tim Winter. “NBC now says it will air a pilot with Playboy in its name and the production company is requiring performers to sign a nudity clause — something virtually unheard of for broadcast TV. The ink isn’t even dry yet on the company merger and we’re already saying ‘we told you so’.”
OK, first, NBC has not agreed to air the pilot, it has ordered it for series consideration and will air it only if the project is picked up to series. Secondly, the nudity clause, which indeed is extremely rare for broadcast series, was put in the actors’ contracts by a 20th TV business affairs executive as a hypothetical, with sources close to the production stressing that there is absolutely no nudity in the pilot nor there is any plan for nudity on the potential series. Also, not all of the pilot’s actors agreed to the clause, so it is not in everyone’s contract. But, given its setting, a Chicago Playboy club in the 1960, and its subject matter, The Playboy Club would certainly be a sexy drama that no one envisions as a 8 PM show.