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Hef's Half-Season Gets Full Mont-E! - Broadcasting & Cable

Hef's Half-Season Gets Full Mont-E!

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E! ordered a full season run of The Girls Next Door, its look inside the Playboy mansion. The comedic series, which E! tested this summer with a half run (a "Hef" run, you might say), is currently in production on another batch of episodes to seamlessly follow the first.

Since launching in August, the show has performed solidly in the ratings, often doubling E!’s summer average prime time audience with around 800,000 total viewers each episode – the highest concentration of which were women 18-34, according to E! Networks President Ted Harbert. "Young women are always fascinated with 'why does the blond get the guy,'" Harbert says. “What is it about them that they end up with this lifestyle?"

With E! having lost top-ratings earner Howard Stern in July, the show was one of a trio of new programs the network tried this summer to keep its strong male appeal at night without scaring off advertisers. Although the show has little sexual content, it still saw sales resistance after the one Florida-based family watchdog group protested because its members disapproved of Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle.

"What I thought started out as a sexy but clean show talking about a lifestyle that’s been around for 50 years still ends up being a lightning rod," Harbert says.

New episodes of The Girls Next Door run Sundays at 9 p.m. on E! and repeat Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

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