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CNBC gets porn-y -- but first read this article

Fast Money's Melissa Lee reports on the skin trade for CNBC.

It's supposedly true that using the word porn -- you know, p-o-r-n -- in a post can jet-propel Web site traffic.

Not that unclebarky.com would ever resort to putting porn in play just to test the pulling power of porn among this great nation of google oglers.

Which brings us to the CNBC documentary Porn: Business of Pleasure, a one-hour treatise on where the industry's at in terms of profits and losses. It premieres on Wednesday, July 15th at 8 p.m. (central), with every expectation of breaking ratings records on the all-business channel. Repeats are at 9 p.m. and midnight.

Melissa Lee, co-host of the network's Fast Money, presides in a relatively low-key fashion while a male pitchman all but despoils her efforts during commercial breaks. Sounding like Jim Cramer in heat -- at least they don't have him hosting -- the guy figuratively drips drool while enticing viewers with come-ons such as "Up next, the most powerful players in porn -- women on top!"

Up next? Hoo boy. A less invasive audio disclaimer repeatedly warns of "mature sexual content" coming into view. Not that that's going to turn many or any away.

CNBC clearly is having it both ways. The porn industry is a reasonably legitimate topic of discussion on a business news channel, particularly when $3,075 is spent every second on it, Lee says.

On the other hand, the potential audience is huge compared to what CNBC might draw with a documentary titled How Now DOW Jones.

Lee's interviewees include porn star Jesse Jane ("And later, we'll let you go home with a porn star!" says the talking penis of a pitchman); Wicked Pictures vice president of special projects Joy King; Vivid Entertainment CEO Steven Hirsch; and dirty-to-the-touch Paul Little, currently serving 46 months in prison for his activities as "Max Hardcore."

Jane, whose real name is Cindy Taylor, yearns to be a multi-facted "brand" whose various products will continue to sell despite the wealth of free pornography on the Internet.

"You always have to have a backup plan," she says.

Jesse/Cindy otherwise lives rather quietly in Oklahoma City with her 9-year-old son and boyfriend, a former porn star. Lee helpfully notes that "despite its conservative values, Oklahoma is among the top 10 porn-watching states in the country." Not sure where she got those stats, but what else is there to do in Muskogee?

Still, DVD sales of adult films are down 50 percent in the past year, largely due to piracy and easy free access on Web sites other than unclebarky.com. Five of the country's most-trafficked sites are porn-fueled, says Lee, drawing more users than washingtonpost.com for instance.

Vivid exec Hirsch is worried, but not unduly.

"Look, pornography has been around since the time of the caveman," he reasons. "It's not going anywhere."

It is going in some new directions, though, including 3-D and relatively "big budget" porn movies such as Pirates, which oddly enough is seen as a way to curb piracy.

Lee begins and ends the documentary in Times Square, where X-rated venues used to flourish. They've since bowed to the so-called Disney-fication of the area. But CNBC obviously still sees Porn: Business of Pleasure as a money shot.

GRADE: C-cup