Lingerie Special off the Air Since 2004 Super Bowl Fiasco

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NEW YORK ( -- The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will return to CBS on Dec. 6 after a two-year absence, the network said.

Victoria's Secret is set to prance its models back on to national TV.
The fashion show began life online in 1999, and moved to TV in 2001. The marketer canceled the special in April 2004, two months after the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show that landed CBS in hot water with the Federal Communications Commission. Victoria’s Secret Chief Creative Officer Ed Razek said at the time the show was canceled because the marketer wanted to look at other ways of promoting the brand.

Climate of fear
The return of the fashion show, which costs around $10 million to produce, indicates that the climate of fear following the Super Bowl fiasco -- the government slapped heavy fines against media companies including CBS parent Viacom for violating broadcast decency standards -- appears to have lessened. However, the show will be taped and will air at 10 p.m. EST, late enough to avoid criticism that children will watch it. CBS would comment on plans to air the show online, on cable or on wireless video-on-demand platforms. Victoria's Secret said the special will be shown on its Web site,

The special features supermodels including Tyra Banks, Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum and Adriana Lima strutting the catwalk in the latest Victoria’s Secret lingerie. It is the final Victoria's Secret show for Tyra Banks, who now hosts her own syndicated talk show and created the UPN hit America’s Next Top Model. That show is one of the only successful branded-entertainment projects to make it to a broadcast network of late, though it still draws fire from women’s groups.

Ratings declines
Ratings for the Victoria's Secret show had declined on each outing. Walt Disney Co.’s ABC first broadcast the show in 2001 and reached a total audience of 12.4 million. That dropped to 10.5 million when it transferred to CBS in 2002 and to 9.4 million in 2003.

While conventional wisdom would suggest the show’s biggest demographic draw would be young males, older women make up the largest audience block watching the show. Older females accounted for 2.1 million viewers, while men ages 18 to 34 accounted for just 960,000 during the 2003 broadcast, according to analysis provided by Nielsen Media Research.

The Columbus, Ohio-based marketer, which is part of clothing retailer Limited Brands, saw September same-stores sales drop by 6% year-on-year. Limited Brands saw net income decline in the second quarter to $113 million from $148 million. Operating income for the period dropped from $226.9 million to $203.9 million.

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