The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Is Officially Leaving Television

The brand is ending the long-running annual event after years of declining viewership and increased criticism

Taylor Hill walks the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Taylor Hill walks the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Looks like the Victoria’s Secret Angels have spread their wings on the air for the last time.

The iconic lingerie brand has announced it will no longer broadcast their annual fashion show, The Wall Street Journal reported. The news comes after years of declining ratings and increased criticism of the event, which has aired on CBS and ABC for nearly two decades. The star-studded show made its broadcast debut back in 2001, and the once-lucrative marketing tool for the brand’s parent company, L Brands, went on to become a staple of the holiday season.

Ratings for the show have seen a decline in recent years, as have the brand’s sales. An internal memo reportedly went out to employees on Friday, in which L Brands Chairman Les Wexner announced he had “decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”

Wexner added that the company would work on developing new content in the coming year, with plans to launch a new kind of event “that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age.”

The show hit a new ratings low last year with a total audience of 3.3 million, down from 10.4 million in 2011. Meanwhile, as ratings fell, controversy was on the rise for the company. In a Vogue interview ahead of last year’s broadcast, L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek drew ire for his comments defending the brand against recent criticism. In the interview, Razek defended the show’s lack of transgender or plus size models, suggesting that such models didn’t fit the brand’s “fantasy” aesthetic. Following backlash, Razek issued an apology, saying he “would absolutely cast a transgender model.”

As waning enthusiasm has continued to reflect in the brand’s sales, Wall Street analysts have questioned how Victoria’s Secret will fare amid changing tastes and attitudes. Last year, Wells Fargo analysts were reportedly “concerned that the fashion show is no longer resonating with consumers whose attitude has shifted toward more natural looks and relatable beauty.”

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