Jeff Hephner (Hellcats) has just landed the role of Hugh Hefner in the upcoming NBC series pilot Playboy. Hephner will join the previously cast Amber Heard (Zombieland) and Naturi Naughton (Fame), who will play two Playboy bunnies in the drama.
The story is set in the year 1963 at the Playboy Club in Chicago. According to the report, "Heard will play Maureen, a new hire at the club, originally an orphan from Fort Wayne, an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past. Naughton will play Brenda, a stunning African-American Bunny determined to become the first black Playboy centerfold who is Maureen's confidante and roommate in the Bunny Dormitory."
As we previously reported:
The story will follow a group of women working as Playboy bunnies in the Chicago club. Playboy will use that as a jumping-off point to explore the nation's changing mores and the coming sexual revolution.
The show is being brought to the small screen by Twentieth Century Fox TV and Imagine TV. Imagine's Brian Grazer and Francie Calfoalso exec produce, along with Hodge.
The swinging 60's seem to be swining in full effect. Playboy looks to be capitalizing off of the success of Mad Men on AMC. Another show set in the period is called Magic City and has a 10-episode order from Starz. Pan Am is another cool series set in that decade; it is being developed by ABC, and it centers on the airline's wild crew.
This show is also perfect for the real-life Playboy Clubs currently making a comeback. The first new Playboy Club opened its doors at the Palms Hotel in Vegas in 2006. Another club opened just last month at the Sands Macao casino in Macau. It is reported that Playboy hopes to open around 20 clubs in the next few years, including locations already in the works in Cancun, Mexico, and London.
The original clubs had over 22 locations around the globe and were famous for their staff of women dressed in bunny outfits. At one time the clubs had more than a million paid "Keyholder" members. The last U.S. location, Lansing, MI, closed in 1988. The final international Playboy Club, in Manila, closed in 1991.
Playboy Enterprises will be unleashing some sexy TV programming in the form of reality shows, uncensored specials, and documentary series as par of the new "TV for 2" slate being presented to TV critics on Thursday.
Playboy is a classic publication and was one of the first popular ways to show the popular culture of Hollywood and celebrity to mainstream America. I am loving this new crop of period shows and am looking forward to watching Playboy, Pan Am, and Magic City.