Sex sells, but too often it’s the women doing the selling. Tell that to the marketing team behind the hit CW series Arrow because they’re kicking off the show’s second season with promotional posters of the show’s four male leads shirtless and ripped. That the season premieres on October 9 is really just a footnote. The 8-packs sported by stars Stephen Amell, Colton Haynes, Manu Bennett and David Ramsey are the real news here. The posters are so hot, it inspired us to look for other TV shows that have used shirtless men to lure viewers.
Arrow: Season 2
A breakout hit for the CW last season, Arrow is based on fictional superhero the Green Arrow, a masked crime fighter who is in reality Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). All you need to know is that he spends a ton of time with this shirt off, as do his male costars, played by Colton Haynes, Manu Bennett and David Ramsey.
Arrow: Season 1
This is the second season Arrow has kicked off a marketing campaign by prominently featuring its oft-shirtless star. They laid the groundwork with this poster of Stephen Amell when the show premiered in 2012.
It was the biggest television question of the ’80s: “Who Shot J.R.?” The answer, of course, was revealed in an infamous shower scene when star Patrick Duffy returned to the show and the entire previous season was revealed to be a dream. The cast of the new Dallas on TNT paid tribute to that scene when they all stripped down for a shower pic starring Josh Henderson (above, front left) and Jesse Metcalfe (above, front right) and original stars Patrick Duffy and the late Larry Hagman.
He might not be completely shirtless, but Jonathan Rhys Meyers is certainly alluding to all of the sex King Henry VIII had throughout the Showtime series’ four season run with this nip slip. Also worth noting: In addition to a frequently naked Rhys Meyers, the show features a frequently naked, pre-Superman Henry Cavill.
The CW show is almost more popular for its infamous ad campaign touting the complaints of the Parents Television Council than it is for its five-season run. Many ads featuring statements like the one seen here were included in this campaign, but this one of a shirtless Chace Crawford is our personal favorite.
Two and a Half Men
Out with the old, in with the new. That’s what happened on Two and a Half Men when Charlie Sheen was given the boot and replaced by Ashton Kutcher. This poster implies that all two and a half men are naked and served as the perfect set up for Ashton’s first scene in which he appeared complete nude (albeit blurred).
There’s really only one way to promote a show about a well-endowed single dad who uses his member to make money. And since they can’t show peen on a movie poster, a shot of Tom Jane shirtless and in bed with a couple of women would have to do. The series ran for three seasons on HBO.
The original Beverly Hills 90210 didn’t shy away from sexy, so when the CW decided to do a remake, it makes sense that they’d put the sexy stars front and center. From the show’s first season, both the men and the women were stripped down to attract an audience.
Starz’s original series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” became known for its gratuitous sex scenes almost immediately upon its debut in 2010. Then, tragically, series star Andy Whitfield lost his battle with non-hodgkin lymphoma in 2011. The series was retooled and Spartacus: Vengeance premiered in 2012 with just as much sex and a hunky new star, Liam McIntyre.
Who was Superman before becoming the Man of Steel? According to the then WB, he was a ripped teenager named Clark Kent, played by Tom Welling. The show, which ran for an impressive 10 seasons on both The WB and rebranded CW, always sold itself with Welling’s good looks, but it was this first season promo that made the show an instant hit among female (and gay) fans.