Playboy, out of the nudity biz, leans into lifestyle and scripted shows for men

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Pamela Anderson's "Playboy" Covers Through the Years

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Playboy, after abandoning a six-decade brand legacy built largely on pictures of naked women, is pitching itself to Madison Avenue as a vibrant digital purveyor of entertainment and journalism for a huge millennial male audience.

The company, which claims to reach more than 150 million consumers per month online, on social media and in print, unveiled a slate of a dozen new shows set to debut starting this summer. Those include docu-series, three scripted comedies and lifestyle series about food, tech and gaming, and a talk show hosted by Indian-American jewelry designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia.

Playboy announced the new programming Friday at its first Digital Content NewFronts at Skylight Modern in midtown Manhattan. The majority of the company's revenue is now from digital, and that's led by video, execs said.

PHOTOS: Playboy bunnies through the years

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Playboy bunnies through the years
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Playboy, out of the nudity biz, leans into lifestyle and scripted shows for men
A troupe of Bunny girl dancers including Maureen Hayden and Marianne Hunt during a performance at London's Playboy Club. (Photo by Victor Blackman/Getty Images)
Hugh Hefner, founder and chairman of the Playboy Enterprises, Inc., is pictured amid a group of Bunnies, at the flagship Playboy Club, in Chicago, Ill., circa 1960. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19: Actor Rock Hudson signs the cuff of a Playboy Bunny at a dinner for the Motion Picture Pioneers Association at the Playboy Club on November 19, 1962 in New York, New York. (Photo by PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner poses with "bunny-girl" hostess Bonnie J. Halpin at Hefner's nightclub in Chicago, Ill., on June 20, 1961. (AP Photo)
25th April 1966: Five English 'bunny girls' arrive back in at London Airport, after six months training at the Playboy headquarters in Chicago. These girls will act as hostesses at Playboy's first European club in Park Lane, London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Dick Van Dyke and Playboy Bunny during McCarthy Fundraising Dinner and Party at The Playboy Club in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Playboy Bunnies welcome Hugh Hefner on the inaugural flight of his new DC-9 jetliner, The Big Bunny, March 17, 1970. The women are unidentified. (AP Photo/George Brich)
24th March 1970: Three Playboy Club Bunny Girls practice their serving during a training session for the All-London Waiter and Waitress Race to be held for charity in Battersea Park. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Bunny Betsy, left, feeds Hugh Hefner, right, a piece of congratulatory cake after he was awarded the 1,716th star in the Hollywood walk of fame, Wednesday, April 9, 1980, Los Angeles, Calif. Hefner, chairman of the board, Playboy Enterprises Inc. started Playboy Magazine in 1953 with an investment of $600. (AP Photo/Loundy)
Playboy Bunny during At the London Playboy Club for a Bunny Pictorial - August 1, 1969 at London Playboy Club in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
The 'Singing Bunnies' - Bunny Girl waitresses at the London Playboy Club - perform a song during the club's 'Showtime In The Playroom' spot, circa 1972. The group have recorded an album and are, left to right: Elaine Tulley, Heather Colne, Rosemary Lamb, Julie Ann Smith, Jo Anne Wigley and Karen Parkinson. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: A Playboy Bunny model poses at the China Club during Dewar's 12 Playboy Lounge Tour on November 19, 2002 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
Playboy Bunnies during Super Bowl XXXVI - Playboy's Super Saturday Night at St Elizabeth's Orphanage in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Playboy Bunny during Playboy's 50th Anniversary Celebration in New York City - Arrivals at New York State Armory in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Playboy Bunny during Playboy's 5th Annual Super Saturday Night Event Brings Heaven and Hell to Houston at Corinthian in Houston, Texas, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
One of the New Playboy Bunny Uniforms Designed By Roberto Cavalli (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 05: Playboy Playmates (L-R) Cara Zavaleta, Stacy Sanches, Lauren Hill, Shallan Meiers, Playboy Playmate of the Year 2005 Tiffany Fallon, and Qiana Chase, model Playboy Bunny costumes during a party for the fourth anniversary of the Palms Casino Resort November 5, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Christina Santiago, Playmate of the Year 2003 during Saks Fifth Avenue and Playboy Invite You to 'Shop With a Bunny' - December 7, 2005 at Saks Fifth Avenue: Men's Fifth Avenue Club in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage for Saks Fifth Avenue)
Courtney Culkin, April 2005, Colleen Marie, August 2003, Deanna Brooks, May 1998, Lauren Hill, February 2001, Christina Santiago, Playmate of the Year 2003, and Jennifer Walcott, August 2001 (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage for Saks Fifth Avenue)
Playboy Bunny's during Playboy Mexico Magazine 4th Anniversary at Casino Español in Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30: Playboy Bunny Shannon attends the Playboy fragrance launch at the Hotel on Rivington on October 30, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 04: Jenny McCarthy poses with Playboy Bunny dealers during her 'Big Deal' charity fundraiser to benefit 'Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program at UCLA' at the Playboy Club at the Palms Hotel and Casino Resort on August 4, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Carmen Electra plays Celebrity Bunny Dealer at the Playboy Club at The Palms Hotel on December 13, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - JUNE 10: Playboy bunnies Pennelope Jimenez, Laurie Fetter and Deanna Brooks pose for a photo at the Playboy's 50th anniversary hosted by American Media, Inc's David Pecker in celebration of its iconic Playboy Bunny and world-famous Playboy Clubs at Juliet Supper Club on June 10, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images for American Media, Inc.)
STANSTED, ENGLAND - JUNE 02: Playboy Bunnies wait airside for the arrival of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner at Stansted Airport on June 2, 2011 in Stansted, England. Mr Hefner is back in the UK to mark the launch of the new Playboy Club in Mayfair, which opens on June 4. The clubs opening will welcome back the iconic Playboy Bunny to Londonafter a 30 year absence. Famous Bunnies have included Debbie Harry and Lauren Hutton. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 30: Playboy Bunny attends the Christmas Playboy Mexico magazine party at the Ragga Antara Polanco on November 30, 2011 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 18: Playboy bunnies attend the Playboy Mexico magazine 10th anniversary party at Allondra interlomas on October 18, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
Two playboy bunnies pose for photos at the Indian Playboy club in Mumbai on December 19, 2012. Playboy unveiled a new-look bunny costume for its upcoming Indian club launch, opting for a more demure take on the waitress outfits but keeping the ears, bow-ties and fluffy tails. In a bid to appease conservative Indian values, the traditional skimpy corset has been replaced with a sari-inspired two-piece costume, comprising a one-shoulder top, a bare midriff and a sheer, full-length skirt with a split. AFP PHOTO/ STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Playboy Bunnies attend The Playboy Party at The Bud Light Hotel Lounge, on Friday, January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Playboy)
Playmate of the Year Raquel Pomplun attends the Playboy and Gramercy Pictures' Self/less party on day 2 of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 10, 2015, in San Diego. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)
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"We're an aspirational brand and have been a vanguard for exploration, all the while giving a voice to provocative opinions," Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders said. "Now, with the debut of our original video slate, we're continuing to usher in a new era of Playboy."

In addition to the lineup of new shows, Playboy announced the formation of Playboy Studios, an in-house branded-content studio headed by deputy editor and style maven Hugh Garvey.

"We've spent a lot of time and resources transforming Playboy into a mainstream, digitally focused lifestyle brand," said Phillip Morelock, Playboy's chief digital officer. He said Playboy's digital audience is 80% millennial, and in the past year the website's average age went from 47 to 30.

To be sure, while Playboy no longer trades in nude women as it bowed to the reality that it can't compete with Internet porn, the 63-year-old brand still encompasses sexually charged images of women in states of undress, as exemplified by recent mag covers in the "post-nudity" era:

Playboy's new series for the 2016-17 season include:

"House of Waris": Waris Ahluwalia, known for his roles in Wes Anderson films, hosts a regular dinner party with interesting luminaries. The first episode features Natasha Lyonne ("Orange Is the New Black"), Kim Gordon of the band Sonic Youth), comedian Horatio Sanz (formerly with "Saturday Night Live") and filmmaker Liz Goldwyn.

"The Life by Playboy": An inside look at the process of editing the lifestyle section of Playboy magazine.

"Tech 360": Tech blogger Jon Rettinger and model/gamer Amy Willerton take audiences on a full-fledged tour of the most hallowed tech destinations. Tech 360 is Playboy's first series shot in virtual reality.

"Meccas": Docu-series about world's most sought-after destinations, ranging from the best surfing spot to the top vineyard.

"Coaching Trees (Chef Edition)": Profiles of top chefs, with first episode detailing how chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller spawned a movement of perfectionist cooking from French cuisine to hamburgers and fried chicken.

"What The Food?!": Molecular gastronomist Wylie Dufresne (aka WD50) and molecular mixologist Dave Arnold (of NYC bar Booker and Dax) star in this food series that deconstructs celebrities' favorite foods.

"Dinner Date with Furious Pete": Show starring Peter Czerwinski, aka Furious Pete with nearly 3 million YouTube subscribers, showcases his fitness regimen and competitive eating skills, as Pete informs viewers how to cook impressive yet easy meals for their dates, and his female friends give him feedback on both his food and dating skills.

"The Booze Room": Weekly comedy news show about drinking, featuring comedian Josh Wolf ("Chelsea Lately") and mixologist Alex Day (Death & Co.).

"Sprout": Scripted comedy about Chris Cooper, an overweight, foul-mouthed, chain-smoking Hollywood type that satirizes L.A. culture, featuring cameos by actors and social media stars.

"Fronting": Comedy series featuring Facebook and Vine star Jon Paul Piques, about a group of misfits running a sports agency together.

"Robots Are Hard": Set three years in the future, scripted comedy series follows the brilliant engineers at an artificial-intelligence robotics company, created by Aaron Shore ("The Office") and Jonathon Magnum ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?").

"Strangeplay with Mr. Sark": Series hosted by YouTube gamer Mr. Sark explores the world of gaming through skits, reenactments and game play commentary.

Playboy also is bringing back two existing shows: "Journalista," a docu-series in which 25-year-old Yoonj Kim delves into the worlds of sex, drugs and alternative lifestyles, and "Gamer Next Door," hosted by gamer and 2012 Playmate Pamela Horton, featuring news, game previews and interviews with influencers in the gaming community.

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