There's a sad little sweepstakes on TV every fall: "What Show Will Be Cancelled First?" This year the winner, to absolutely no one's surprise, is NBC, suffering the worst ratings of any fall premiere season ever, clear across the board. And the 'winning' show? "The Playboy Club," starring, among many others, Latino actor Eddie Cibrian.
This isn't a major blow to Latinos on TV (though it's certainly not great news for Cibrian, who's had to endure a long line of one-season wonders, from "Tilt to Invasion" to "Vanished" to "Chase"). Cibrian's role was really not much more than a less-than-entirely-successful knock-off of Jon Hamm's sleek dark-harried beauty on "Mad Men," an icon of white anglo successes of 1961. Meanwhile, Cibrian's own Latino background went unnoticed and unmentioned during the promotion of the show. And though it's never good to see anybody lose a gig, there was no large contingent of Latino talent in front or behind the Playboy cameras.
And it's not as if NBC didn't give it every chance. It was touted as one of the glitziest new one-hour shows of the season, given a plum 10P slot, and --when its opening night ratings impressed absolutely no one--it was still given a second and even a third chance. But even after a soft start, things went from bad to worse, with double-digit decreases in viewership with every new episode. Now CBS (at least according to Nikki Finke's "Deadline Hollywood") is pulling the plug, shelving the remaining episodes that are already in the can, and replacing it as of Oct. 31 with Brian Williams' new primetime newsmagazine, "Rock Center with Brian Williams." (Hasn't NBC run out of variations on their "30 Rockefeller Center" address for the names of TV shows yet? Apparently not.)