Sony Music Entertainment and Somethin’ Else, the British production company the former acquired in June, are launching the series today, November 1. It tells the complex story behind Hefner’s rise and legacy told through the eyes of the women who knew him best.
It comes after the first season of Power, which profiled Robert Maxwell, launched earlier this year, and ahead of A&E’s documentary Secrets of Playboy, which launches in 2022.
Hosted by journalist and author Amy Rose Spiegel, the series will delve into Hefner’s rise to power and the origins of Playboy and investigate questions around the dark side of the brand, including notorious Mansion parties and Hefner’s manipulation and control of his girlfriends and other associates.
It will feature conversations with a number of women involved with Playboy including Holly Madison, who had a relationship with Hefner, who died in 2017.
Other contributors include Linda Smith, the daughter of Janet Pilgrim, Playboy’s first magazine star, Jaki Nett, Playboy Bunny and Bunny Mother from 1967-79, Diane Crothers, who debated Hefner on The Dick Cavett Show, Jeanne Bell, one of the first Black Playmates, Marilyn Grabowski, Playboy’s photography editor for 43 years, Suze Randall, photographer and pornographer, and Marilyn Cole, Playboy’s first full-frontal nude centerfold.
The series will tackle important questions around the brand’s complicated role in contributing to both progressive movements and oppression.
Dave Anderson is the series producer and Peggy Sutton is the executive producer. Paul Smith, Georgia Mills, and Cheeka Eyers also produced the show.
“As a journalist who examines power and gender dynamics, Playboy has been a constant source of fascination and influence in my work and life. I’ve always wanted to know more about the women who were really responsible for its power: How did Playboy affect the courses of their lives, for better and for worse? I was totally drawn to the story of how a multi-million-dollar business that was supposed to be socially progressive force for good actually affected the people who built it up.” Rose Spiegel said. “With this series I have the enormous pleasure and privilege of uncovering the personal stories of women who knew Hugh Hefner and used the clubs, magazine, and man himself to find their way.”