Lingerie is back in the drawer

Times Staff Writer

The ongoing broadcast decency battle has claimed another victim. The Limited Brands Inc. has decided to drop its televised Victoria’s Secret fashion show this November, spokesmen for the lingerie chain and CBS confirmed Monday.

The agreement follows lackluster ratings for the sexy show that featured some top models patrolling the catwalk in skimpy Victoria’s Secret garments, and complaints from women’s groups, as well as post-Janet Jackson/Super Bowl concerns about even hints of nudity on the air.

Ed Razek, chief creative officer for Victoria’s Secret, said the decision was made several weeks ago amid continuing fallout from Jackson’s bared breast on the CBS live broadcast in February.


“To continue to grow the brand, we constantly challenge ourselves to develop new ideas in products and marketing,” he said in a prepared release.

“To that end, we’ve elected to take a hiatus from the show this year.”

A spokesman for CBS, which has aired the show the last two years, confirmed the decision to drop it but declined to elaborate. It is unclear whether the decision is permanent. The show, which was broadcast online in 1999, ran on ABC in 2001.

Its most recent airing last November showed that some of the sizzle was absent from the lingerie fashion show; it finished in 53rd place that week, attracting fewer than 10 million viewers.

Wendy Wright, senior policy director for the Concerned Women for America, one of the organizations, along with the National Organization for Women, which had complained about the fashion show, called the decision “a very encouraging sign.”

“It would imply it didn’t make good business sense for them,” she said. “We’re often told this is what people want and this is why we’re giving it to them.

“It may well be that you’ve got both marketers and broadcasters who are recognizing that Americans are really fed up and don’t want this pushed in their faces anymore.”

The Victoria’s Secret ad featuring Bob Dylan is one new marketing idea being tested. “I can’t figure that out,” Wright said. Victoria’s Secret spokesmen declined to comment.