NBC Shuts Down 'The Playboy Club'

Declining Audiences Set Back NBC's Bid for Revival

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'The Playboy Club' sought a 'Mad Men'-esque ambiance.
'The Playboy Club' sought a 'Mad Men'-esque ambiance. Credit: NBC

NBC has axed "The Playboy Club," making the hourlong drama the first cancellation of the new fall season and a setback to the network's attempt to reclaim past glory.

The series, set in the 1960s with an eye toward "Mad Men" polish, had received criticism from Gloria Steinem and the Parents Television Council. It probably could have overcome those knocks if the viewers were there, but they weren't -- at least not in big enough numbers.

"Playboy Club" audiences had declined over its three showings to just 3.4 million viewers last night. Last night's CBS's "Hawaii Five-0," by comparison, drew 10.9 million total viewers. Over on Fox, "Terra Nova" got 8.3 million viewers and the return of "House" got 9.8 million.

Starting Oct. 31, NBC will fill the 10 p.m. Monday hour that had belonged to "Playboy" with its new prime-time news magazine "Rock Center with Brian Williams." NBC said Tuesday it was ordering full seasons of new comedies "Up All Night" and "Whitney."

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