The show was designed as a way to spread Playboy magazine's influence beyond the printed page and to help non-readers get to know Hefner.
The show, recorded at Chicago station WBKB-TV, was set up as if it were a party at Hefner's own apartment, with many Playboy Playmates and bunnies in attendance. Celebrity guests would engage in conversation with Hefner and then perform, as well. The theme was written by Cy Coleman.
In 1969, Hefner launched a show in a very similar style, Playboy After Dark which was taped in Los Angeles. Episodes of Playboy's Penthouse were included in the DVD release of Playboy After Dark in 2006 and footage from the show has been used on Hefner's most recent program, The Girls Next Door.