'The Playboy Club' EP Chad Hodge: Show is simply 'a fun, sexy soap'

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playboy-heard-cibrian-nbc.jpgEver since NBC announced their new series "The Playboy Club," the program has been surrounded with controversy. Activists from all sides of the political spectrum have weighed in on the period piece that follows the early days at the Chicago-based club. Even women's rights activist Gloria Steinem, who wrote an expose while working undercover at the New York City Playboy Club, called for a show boycott. But executive producer Chad Hodge remains unphased by the debate.

"When people see the show, the controversy may seem a little silly," he says, adding that the show is about the club not Playboy magazine.

Hodge explains the show is "a fun, sexy soap" that he feels is a lot more like " 'Chicago' or 'All that Jazz' meets 'Desperate Housewives'."

Hodge spoke to Zap2it from the show's location in Chicago.

On how the program came to be: "They [Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Imagine Entertainment co-founder Brian Grazer] had the notion that there could be some sort of TV series about the first Playboy Club in Chicago and about the Bunnies ... So they came to me and said, "We think you'd be the perfect person for this ... What do you think?" ... I was so excited about the idea and I immediately dove into it.

On making the program work within broadcast standards
: "Working with Bob (Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment) is really a creative, rewarding experience because it feels like you're working at a cable network. So it's been great. I don't feel censored in any way. In fact we're pushed to be more outside the box than typical network television."

On dealing with controversy: "It hasn't effected the show whatsoever, any of the scripts, any of the performances, anything. The controversy was started and fueled by these people and organizations who all admitted they haven't seen the pilot ... I think that when people see the show, the controversy may seem a little silly."

On their target audience: "It's fun, beautiful, dramatic stories about women. I think it will attract more women than men probably, but it's the Playboy Club, so there's certainly a lot here for men."

On the time period of the show: "The best times of the Playboy Club were certainly the beginning years when it was just taking off and everything was new ... [when] juxtaposed to society and what was going on at the time, [it's] the most dramatic."

On the characters: "These women are asking themselves 'What do their parents think of what they're doing?' 'What do their other friends think of what they're doing?' 'What do they think of themselves?' 'Is this a good thing, is this a bad thing?' and that's part of the drama."

On the fun and the challenges of shooting a period piece
: "Your imagination can run wild with everything you can to portray, wardrobe and music and production design of the show is so much fun to do. It's also the hardest part about the show because creating a period world is expensive..."

"The Playboy Club" premieres at 10 p.m. ET Monday (Sept. 19) on NBC.
Photo/Video credit: NBC