This twelve-episode docuseries explores the hidden truths behind the notorious men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine through a modern-day lens. Per A&E, the show “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 glamorous 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. Interviews include former Director of Playmate Promotions Miki Garcia; past girlfriends of Hefner’s including Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Sondra Theodore; Hefner’s personal valet Stefan Tetenbaum; Bunny Mother PJ Masten; Playboy Mansion West resident Jennifer Saginor; and members of Hefner’s staff and inner circle, including his personal bodyguard and butler.
Directed by Alexandra Dean, Secrets of Playboy features archival footage and exclusive interviews with a number of insiders, including a former Director of Playmate Promotion, past girlfriends of Hefner’s, and various members of Hugh’s staff and inner circle.
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Episode 101: “The Playboy Legacy” Air Date: January 24th 2022: Hugh Hefner sold himself as a champion of free speech who created the Playboy brand to set off a sexual revolution that would liberate men and women alike, but over the years he used Playboy to manipulate women to compete for his favor and silenced whistleblowers.
Episode 102: “The Girl Next Door” Air Date: January 24th 2022: In the 2000s, Hugh Hefner reinvented himself and his brand through the runaway success of the reality show “Girls Next Door,” starring his girlfriends Bridget Marquardt, Kendra Wilkinson, and number one girlfriend Holly Madison. The series made mansion life seem like a fairytale, but Holly and Bridget reveal that the reality was a life full of rigid rules, gaslighting, and infighting.
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Episode 103: “The Bunnies & The Clean Up Crew” Air Date: January 31st 2022: The Playboy Bunny was the most famous sex symbol of the 20th century. Playboy hired the most attractive women in the world to don the ears and tail by promising an environment where they would always be protected. But outside of the clubs, at the Playboy Mansion itself, and in the company of Hefner’s VIP customers, the Bunnies faced dangers and abuses that were covered up by the Playboy “cleanup crew.”
Episode 104: The Playboy “The Price of Loyalty” Air Date: February 7th 2022: This episode explores the 1970s DEA investigation into Hefner, Playboy, and drugs through the lens of two women who lived and worked at Playboy: Hefner’s right-hand woman Bobbie Arnstein, who committed suicide while being investigated for drug trafficking, and Playboy Bunny Adrienne Pollack, who died of a drug overdose in 1973.
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Episode 105: “The Circus” Air Date: February 14th 2022: After decades of silence, Hefner’s former number one girlfriend Sondra Theodore shares her story detailing how she was groomed by him to participate in his increasingly abusive sex life. Sondra’s testimony shines a spotlight on Hefner’s mechanisms for controlling and breaking women.
Episode 106: “The Corporate Game” Air Date: February 21st 2022: The Playboy corporate world was billed as a welcoming place for women, but Playmate and eventual Director of Playboy Promotions Miki Garcia and Bunny Mother PJ Masten reveal the rampant sexual harassment they faced as they attempted to climb the corporate ladder.
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Episode 107: “The Big Playboy Lie” Air Date: February 28th 2022: A roundtable of Playmates recount how decades of women modeled for the magazine because they believed the Playboy promise that becoming a Playmate would lead to a lucrative career in a safe environment. Instead, many faced a hostile environment rampant with drugs, pornography, and prostitution. The circumstances led Miki Garcia to testify against Playboy before the Reagan Administration’s 1980s Commission on Pornography.
Episode 108: “Predators’ Ball” Air Date: March 7th 2022: From the earliest parties at the Mansion, celebrities like Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby were a big part of the allure of the Playboy brand. But Hugh Hefner kept some Hollywood A-listers happy at the expense of the women.
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Episode 109: “The Shadow Mansions” Air Date: March 14th 2022: During the 1990s, Playmates like Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith had reached peak fame and young women flocked to Los Angeles in hopes of being the next centerfold.
Episode 110: “Predator Number One” Air Date: March 21st 2022: In public, Hefner continually professed that he wanted to protect his “girls next door.” But he continually failed. Never before heard stories from Playmate Susie Krabacher, mansion employees Stefan and Stella Tetanbaum, and Sondra Theodore reveal the dark truth that Hefner was the Mansion’s Predator Number One.
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Episode 111: “Behind The Girls Next Door” Air Date: March 28th 2022: Former girlfriends of Hugh Hefner Karissa and Kristina Shannon, discuss their experience with Hefner and the hit television series “The Girls Next Door,” which introduced a new generation to Hefner and the Playboy lifestyle. Telling their emotional story for the first time, Karissa and Kristina reveal that beneath the sugar-coated exterior was a darker world led by Hefner with increasingly stricter rules designed to control the women in order to maintain the Playboy image.
Episode 112: “The Aftermath” Air Date: April 4th 2022: Former Playmates, girlfriends, and employees including Sondra Theodore, Susie Krabacher, Lisa Loving Barrett and Audrey Ann Huskey come together to share their experiences and struggles stemming from their time in the Playboy world. Alongside sex and trauma therapist Dr. Kate Balestrieri, the women reflect on the decades of fear and abuse they experienced and how the Playboy legacy has changed as a result of their decisions to come forward