Tony Soprano and his crew seem destined for a bloody finale this season. But the real action on HBO might take place after the gangster drama ends and the ladies of the night take over.
The cable network is scheduling to air Cathouse — a behind-the-scenes look at a house of prostitution — in the highly coveted time slot on Dec. 8, immediately following the last Sopranos episode.
HBO installed cameras throughout the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada, to capture life at one of the country's largest brothels, where 200 prostitutes ply their trade.
"You're going to see things you won't believe," said Dennis Hof, owner of the Bunny Ranch. "You'll see a 22-year-old virgin who was taken there by his mother. You'll see porn star Sunset Thomas."
An HBO spokeswoman confirmed that the cable network was airing Cathouse, but would not discuss specifics. Prostitution is legal in Lyon County, just outside Carson City, where the Bunny Ranch is located.
Forty Bunny Ranch clients signed consent forms to appear on the HBO show. "Of course, in my business, confidentiality is a big issue," Hof said.
"That's why we had our madam tell clients that we were filming a TV documentary," Hof said. "In an age where folks do all sorts of things on reality TV shows, I'm not surprised that most of our customers didn't mind that they were being filmed."
'Jesse Ventura Had Sex Here' The Moonlight Bunny Ranch has a long and colorful history. The establishment began operations in 1955 — 17 years before prostitution was legalized in Lyon County.
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura mentions the Bunny Ranch in his autobiography, and a sign outside proudly boasts, "Governor Jesse Ventura Had Sex Here!"
When Hof purchased the establishment in 1993, he vowed to make it America's premier house of ill repute, installing a helicopter landing pad, among other capital improvements.
Big names in porn, like Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and star Ron Jeremy, are regular guests.
At the door, John Wayne Bobbitt and Joey Buttafucco have worked, at points, as official greeters.
The Sopranos, now in its fourth season, is more popular than ever. This season's premiere episode drew 13.4 million people, the biggest audience for any non-sports show in cable TV history.
On the HBO drama, Tony Soprano's gangster crew operate from the Bada Bing strip club in New Jersey, which serves as a cover for their crime syndicate, and that includes illegal prostitution.