A&E Network’s “Secrets of Playboy” is not here to play, boy. The upcoming docuseries, which unveiled its trailer Tuesday during the cable channel’s TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour day, aims to dive into the “ugly” side of Hugh Hefner’s outwardly “beautiful world,” as one of its interview subjects puts it. The side that “nobody wants to talk about,” another adds.
“He really did believe he owned these women,” Miki Garcia, a former playmate and director of playmate promotions, says in the trailer.
Watch the trailer via the video above.
“Secrets of Playboy” will look back at Hef’s media empire “through a modern-day lens,” A&E’s logline reads. It continues: “The series delves into the complex world Hugh Hefner created and examines its far-reaching consequences on our culture’s view of power and sexuality. Unravelling the glamourous mythology created by the brand over several decades, the series features archival footage and exclusive interviews with insiders from all facets of the Playboy world, many sharing their stories for the first time.”
More from A&E: “For nearly six decades, Hefner kept a tight rein on Playboy. Now, four years after his death, insiders, colleagues, executives and employees are ready to share the full story of what life at Playboy was truly like. Across 10 hours, ‘Secrets of Playboy’ examines the Playboy empire that was both a beacon of progress and a gateway into a much darker world. With the creation of the brand, Hugh Hefner defined the sexual revolution through the male perspective. His progressive views advanced rights across a wide spectrum of social causes, allowing for the freedom of sexual expression. Yet intertwined with the glossy facade of a brand that seemingly celebrated women was a more sinister reality that for decades allowed nefarious conduct to flourish. The series explores how the Playboy machine was a powerful force that, at its worst, manipulated women in a toxic environment, silencing their voices, pitting them against one another, and opening the door to sexual predators.”
In addition to Garcia, “Secrets of Playboy” features sitdown interviews with Hef’s former girlfriends Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Sondra Theodore, his personal valet Stefan Tenenbaum, “Bunny Mother” PJ Masten, Playboy Mansion West resident Jennifer Saginor and members of Hefner’s staff and inner circle, including his bodyguard and butler.
“The fantasy world of Playboy has been shrouded in secrecy for decades and we are proud to lift the veil on these long-hidden stories,” Elaine Frontain Bryant, executive vice president and head of programming for A&E, said in a statement. “Breaking down barriers and exposing the truth, ‘Secrets of Playboy’ is a masterful example of brave storytelling that takes an unflinching look at the personal affects of Hugh Hefner’s empire, while also exploring his legacy’s larger influence on our society and modern-day views of sexuality.”
“Secrets of Playboy” is produced by Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) for A&E Network. IPC’s Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, and Matt Shanfield executive produce alongside Alexandra Dean, who is also showrunner and director. Frontain Bryant, Brad Abramson, and Dolores Gavin are executive producers for A&E The series is co-directed by Arlene Nelson.
The docuseries premieres next year on A&E.