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Residents of Chicago will be experiencing some changes to their weekend public transportation schedule when production crews for the upcoming NBC series, Playboy, begin filming.

The city announced today that it will be rerouting six of its bus lines “for filming of an NBC pilot about an African-American woman’s quest to become a Playboy centerfold in the 1960s.” Chicago police will be shutting down parts of Madison Street to all traffic from Friday night to early Saturday morning.

Playboy is being touted as one of biggest new shows this year and NBC has put a lot of muscle into pulling it off. The series’ follows the life of the first African-American Playboy bunny. Playing that role will be Notorious star and former 3LW member Naturi Naughton. She first played the character on AMC’s Mad Men, raising eyebrows from many who felt in a show of limited black characters, Naughton’s 1960’s “Chocolate Bunny” was an unflattering representation of young black women, many of whom who were fighting for their civil rights in that period of American history.

However, Naughton’s first Black bunny storyline seems to be getting lost as NBC has continued its casting process. Last month upon announcing that well-known actor, Eddie Cibrian (CSI: Miami, Third Watch) would be joining the cast, NBC described the series focus in a much different way than it had in its initial promotions.

Playboy follows Nick Dalton (Cibrian), a Chicago attorney in 1963 who is a key-holder at the Playboy club and has ties to organized crime. Amber Heard, Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Naturi Naughton have been cast as Playboy bunnies.

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While we were on the fence with the show’s concept to begin with, hearing the real story of Jennifer Jackson (the actual first Black Playboy bunny) and her thoughts on sexuality, body image and beauty actually made us interested in seeing a series focused around her experience backed by a major network. But this turn in description seems to signal a change in focus of ‘Playboy’ as well.  It raises concerns that this story, initially promoted by NBC a story centered around a black woman, is being revamped into another sitcom with a supporting Black character- not a Black female lead.

Tell us what you think Clutchettes: Is NBC flipping the script by taking the focus of the first Black Playboy bunny? Are you planning to watch the show when it hits the air?

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  • rkj

    Looks like the press release linked to at myfoxchicago.com was wrong.