NBC continues to take hits, while remaining unable to launch one (zing!). The peacock network's big fall period drama, The Playboy Club has been canceled, after failing to lure in viewers. Who would've thought that The Playboy Club would ever have a hard time attracting people? (Double zing!)
This news comes as little surprise (and likely even less regret amongst viewers) as our own TV Anthony Ocasio predicted way back in his Fall TV Preview that the series' flawed writing and controversial setting would make it a difficult sell to the primetime masses.
The Playboy Club attempted to cash in on the success of AMC's award-winning period drama Mad Men by offering viewers the same bygone era nostalgia and drama. Unfortunately, whereas Mad Men's great strength has been its quality writing, as well as intriguing and rich characters, Playboy Club settled for a cliched mystery/drama formula, with a thinly-drawn (read: uninteresting) collection of pretty faces, all set within the network TV-restricted world of Playboy.
The shoddy construction and lack of intrigue was noticed by audiences: Playboy Club premiered to a mild 5.1 million viewers and steadily declined in its three-week run, with this week's episode snagging just 3.4 million viewers. The ratings in the show's coveted 18-49 demographic fared even worse, hovering around the 1.2-1.6 ratings bracket. Given the cost of producing the show, cancellation was a no-brainer.
For the few fans of the program reading this: sorry, you won't get to spend anymore time inside the Club before it vanishes from the airwaves. NBC will reportedly rerun episodes of its new cop procedural Prime Suspect in Playboy Club's Monday night time slot, in an attempt to boost the former's ratings. In my opinion, a move to Monday would be good for Prime Suspect, and better competition for CBS' Hawaii Five-O and ABC's Castle, both of which are cop procedurals.
Whitney & Up All Night Full Season Pickups
It's not all bad news for NBC, however: the network has seen fit to pickup freshman comedies Up All Night (starring Will Arnett and Christina Applegate) and Whitney (starring stand-up comedian Whitney Cummings) for full season orders.
Both shows have done OK so far at attracting overall viewers (around 5 million, respectively), but are probably getting a longer lease on life since they are far less costly to produce than Playboy Club. It also bodes well that both comedies are faring considerably well in their target demographic, with Up All Night earning a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49, while Whitney has earned a 2.9 rating - the highest average of NBC's freshman comedies.
As was the case with other NBC comedies like The Office, Community, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock, the network is hoping that Whitney and/or Up All Night will slowly but surely gain a loyal following. I see that possibly happening for Whitney (the comedian does have a growing fanbase) - though even my Magic 8-Ball tells me that the future of Up All Night is uncertain at this time. Stay tuned (literally).
Are you happy that The Playboy Club is closed for business? Happy that Whitney and/or Up All Night are still going strong? Do you even watch ANY of these shows?
You can catch Up All Night Wednesdays @ 8/7c on NBC
You can catch Whitney Thursdays @ 9:30/8:30c on NBC
You can catch The Playboy Club in your dreams - or, you know, when Hugh Hefner invites to the actual Playboy Club.