NEW YORK — Get the cold showers ready — after a year’s hiatus, Victoria’s Secret is returning to the airwaves with its TV extravaganza.
A Victoria’s Secret spokesman said Friday that the innerwear retailer will once again air its steamy fashion show, this time on CBS. A date has not been set, but the TV special “will air around the same time as specials in the past, November,” said the spokesman. “It will definitely be a holiday show.”
As for the details, he said, “We are working on all that as we speak.”
Typical trappings of past venues included behind-the-scenes footage of scantily clad models, celebrity entertainment with the likes of Sting, Mary J. Blige and Eva, and interviews with supermodels such as Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell. The show became a major media event, with tickets reportedly being scalped for up to $10,000 apiece.
Victoria’s Secret pulled out of its annual $10 million fashion extravaganza — billed as TV’s “Sexiest Night” on CBS — in April 2004 following pressure from the Federal Communications Commission. At the time, a spokesman said 25 percent of the decision to can the show was due to the “environment,” which began in January of that year with the now infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” Janet Jackson’s breast-baring incident at the Super Bowl, also aired on CBS.
The spokesman said it is no surprise Victoria’s Secret is returning to TV.
“We made it very clear there would be a one-year hiatus,” he said. However, at the time the retailer canceled the special, it said only that it was focusing on other means to market its collections for the key holiday selling season and that it had accomplished the goals it had for the TV special.
The $4.23 billion lingerie specialist began its annual catwalk show here in 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, moved to Wall Street in 1998, to the Cannes Film Festival in 2000, to New York’s Bryant Park in 2001 and then to the New York State Armory in 2002 and 2003. The show exploded into national consciousness in 1999 as an Internet phenomenon, when the streaming video show crashed under the weight of the traffic, with a reported audience of a billion people in 100 countries.
This story first appeared in the August 15, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” was first broadcast in 2001 on ABC with an audience of more than 12 million, then moved to CBS for two years.
Each year, the show generated scores of complaints from viewers, women’s activist groups and the FCC, which investigated Victoria’s Secret in 2001 for some of its on-air antics, but later ruled they weren’t indecent. The company spokesman would not address this issue on Friday.