PHOTOS: Do Ads With Shirtless TV Hunks Get You To Watch Their Shows?

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 Men

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.




The Tudors

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.



Gossip Girl

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.




Spartacus: Vengeance

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.

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  • Larkin

    I am more likely to be interested if I see man-flesh, but none of these shows interest me in the least, except for perhaps the Tudors.

    You actually have to have a good show in a concept I like for me to want to watch. So, while the man-flesh got it on my radar, I quickly dismissed most as utter crap and simply never watched it.

  • Larkin

    @Larkin: Out of all the series listed, I’ve seen an episode or two of smallville and rejected it. I’ve watch a couple episodes of the tudors, and likely will download the whole series soon. The others, I never watched nor will I ever watch them. Hunks in a show don’t make me want to watch bad tv. It does get the show on my radar, but then it gets dismissed as a failed tv show pandering to idiots.

  • sfbeast

    Shirtless promos certainly get my attention, but I wouldn’t watch most of these shows. I do like Arrow, which can be fun. Stephen Amell doing that climbing pull up was great.

  • Diesel69

    Of Course–But the show then has to keep my interest with the story line and other characters—the ones listed above i dont watch–but on Cottage TV –The Farm Kings–9 brothers–Oh mt fantasy overload–it opens with 4 of the boys shirtless–extremly hot–And throughout the show you see alot of skin and muscles—Plus a great story of brothers–family–farming–and business—HOT—–

  • Pistolo

    If a lot of these shows, Arrow in particular, spent more time writing better material and hiring better talent then they wouldn’t have to pimp so hard.

  • Charlie in Charge

    Indeed they do.

  • Jeremi

    They definitely do, but other things about the show have to interest me, such as the theme and the writing.

    Arrow I’m a faithful watcher of b/c in addition to the guys I’m also a comic geek and I always like to see different interpretations of the characters, what remains faithful and what doesn’t. I saw Tudors b/c a friend intro’d me to it, and it was entertaining as a guilty pleasure show. I tried Hung b/c of the concept, though I didn’t make it to the end, it didn’t interest me enough. Spartacus had hot guys with accents often nude + Lucy Lawless + intentional homoerotic moments in addition to the actual gay storylines (for which reason both Teen Wolf and True Blood should be on this list), plus I liked the 300-ness of it. And I loved Smallville, but mainly season 3 (was actually pretty well-written) and seasons 5 onward when they switched to Big Bad format, they introduced so many other DC characters each season (including Big Bads), and the main characters began actively evolving closer to their comic counterparts.

  • fredo777

    I don’t care. I just came here to see David Ramsey shirtless.

  • Niall

    Depends on the channel- A shirtless hunk on an ABC MIGHT make me want to tune in, but a shirtless hunk on CW, nope, I’ll still pass thank you.

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