Victoria's Secret fashion show that has run since 2001 is canceled this year

Last year's fashion show suffered the worst ratings in its history, falling from more than 10 million viewers in 2010 to just over 3 million.
Image: FILES-FASHION-US-VICTORIA SECRET-SHOW
Chinese model Ming Xi, U.S. model Grace Elizabeth, French model Cindy Bruna, U.S. model Gigi Hadid, US model Kendall Jenner and British model Alexina Graham walk the runway at the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 in New York on Nov. 9, 2018.Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Minyvonne Burke

There won't be any "angels" hitting the runway this year after L Brands announced that it is canceling the 2019 Victoria's Secret fashion show.

The racy fashion show has aired on national television since 2001. But in recent years, fewer and fewer people were tuning in.

Last year's show suffered the worst ratings in its history, falling from more than 10 million viewers in 2010 to just over 3 million in 2018.

Stuart Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer of Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands, said on an earnings call Thursday that the decision to nix the show this year was part of a move to "evolve the messaging of [the company]," according to Fortune.

“We will be communicating to customers, but nothing similar in magnitude to the fashion show,” he said.

The announcement comes after L Brands said earlier this year that it was rethinking the annual show and felt network television was no longer the right avenue.

"Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change and grow," L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner said in a May statement.

According to Fortune, Burgdoerfer acknowledged that sales for Victoria's Secret fell 7 percent in the latest quarter. During that same quarter last year, the brand saw a 2 percent drop in sales.

Since the fourth quarter of 2016, the lingerie company has experienced a dip in sales every quarter except the first quarter of 2018 when it saw a small rise, Fortune reports.

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L Brands did not immediately return NBC News' request for comment on Friday.

Victoria's Secret and its parent company have been embroiled in a number of controversies. In November 2018, Ed Razek, then-chief marketing officer for L Brands, came under fire for saying that he did not think Victoria's Secret should include "transsexuals" in its runway show.

"Why not? Because the show is a fantasy," he told Vogue. "It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is."

Razek later apologized, calling his remark "insensitive."

"To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show," he said in a statement posted on the Victoria's Secret Twitter account. "We've had transgender models come to the castings ... And like many others, they didn't make it ... But it was never about gender."

Razek announced he was stepping down in August, the same month it was revealed that the brand hired Valentina Sampaio, 22, as its first openly transgender lingerie model for the Victoria's Secret PINK line.

Model Karli Kloss has distanced herself from Victoria's Secret, leaving the company in 2017 two years after becoming an angel — the name Victoria's Secret calls its models with signed contracts. In a July interview, she explained that she left due to concerns about the message the brand sent to young women.

"I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful," Kloss told British Vogue. "I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist."

Wexner, L Brands' CEO, also has come under fire over his past ties to accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in August in his cell at a Manhattan federal prison.

Wexner said he met Epstein through friends in the mid-1980s, according to CNBC. L Brands said in July that it cut ties with Epstein over a decade ago and does not believe the disgraced financier "was ever employed by nor served as an authorized representative of the company" but hired outside counsel to conduct a review, CNBC reported.

In August, more than 100 models signed an open letter addressed to Victoria's Secret CEO John Mehas urging the lingerie giant to take a leadership role in protecting the safety and well-being of models and aspiring models in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against some men in the industry.

The letter specifically referred to allegations of sexual misconduct against three photographers.

"It is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls," it said.

Also mentioned in the letter was news coverage about the connection between Wexner and Epstein.

NBC News has reached out to the three photographers mentioned in the open letter but did not immediately hear back.

WWD reported at the time of the letter that a source familiar with the situation said that one of the photographers named had never been hired by Victoria’s Secret, but he had attended fashion shows on a freelance basis. The other two photographers had denied any wrongdoing in prior published reports, WWD said.