Playboy's centerfolds covering up

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Playboy hopes customers are, in fact, reading it for the articles. The magazine, founded in Chicago, will no longer include pictures of fully naked women. (WLS)

Playboy hopes customers are, in fact, reading it for the articles. The magazine, founded in Chicago, will no longer include pictures of fully naked women.

Hugh Hefner launched Playboy in 1953. Marilyn Monroe was on the cover. An X-rated reputation and rich literary history followed.

"I don't want to see Playboy go away," former Playmate Candace Jordan said. "So if this is a way to sure up the bottom line, that's great."

Playboy executives said the redesign will continue its legacy of long form journalism.

"The iconic Playboy Playmate image, I think, is going to disappear. And that to me personally, that's sad," Jordan said.

"The golden standard of the Playboy interview, incredibly famous for doing something better than many magazines did at the time," Betsy Edgerton, Columbia College professor, said.

Those in the magazine industry said change is needed to thrive in a new media landscape where readers can find images everywhere online.

"The political and sexual climate of 1953 ... bears almost no resemblance to today," said Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders. "We are more free to express ourselves politically, sexually and culturally today, and that's in large part thanks to Hef's heroic mission to expand those freedoms."

Officials acknowledge that Playboy has been witnessing widespread changes. "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just pass at this juncture," Flanders told The New York Times.

"You have to change with the times. And so you've got to take risks. If this risk pays off? Great. If not, they'll regroup and try something else," Elizabeth Fenner, Chicago Magazine editor in chief, said.

Last summer, Playboy made its website "safe for work" by removing X-rated images. Since then, unique viewers to playboy.com grew by 400 percent.

Playboy's print circulation, once measured in millions, is now about 800,000, according to Alliance for Audited Media, The New York Times reported.

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