"Skins" Shedding Advertisers, Viewers Faster Than its Cast Sheds Clothes

1/30/2011 Posted by Admin

"Skins" Shedding Advertisers, Viewers Faster Than its Cast Sheds Clothes

Television News

By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover

It's been a bad week for MTV's "Skins." First came the news from Deadline that it had lost advertising partners GM and Taco Bell after the Parents Television Council (PTC) asked the government, in the form of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice, to consider investigating the show on child pornography charges. The PTC issued a press release singling out each of the show's advertisers and telling them they were effectively "glorifying teen drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention a plethora of baseless sexual content" by buying time on the show. Next came Wrigley, H&R Block (because horny teens need to invest, too) and Subway.

As if it that wasn't bad enough, the series' strong premier numbers of 3.3 million viewers went down to about half that by the second episode, meaning MTV owner Viacom didn't even get to cash in on the controversy and watched their stock tumble instead.

The Huffington Post has been perhaps the most reasonable in this debate, effectively asking what the fuss is about anyway, since MTV already has such conscientious, moral programming as "16 and Pregnant" and "Jersey Shore." Bryan Elsley, the creator of the show, told the L.A. Times that the show "is the opposite of pornography" and that the PTC and others are missing the point entirely. The apocalyptic reports about the show's status seem to be false since multiple sources have chimed in to say that MTV is sticking with the show "come hell or high water" and that they will play all 10 produced episode of the program, according to Fox News despite what an earlier report by the news organization claimed.

That, of course, doesn't mean the show will make it to a second season. The biggest disappointment MTV likely has about the program is the fact that the controversy surrounding it hasn't led to increased viewership, even though that's typically what happens in cases like this. It's hard to tell what's to blame for that but one possible explanation is that, if you actually watch the show, you learn pretty quickly that it isn't exactly all sex and naughty bits. MTV doesn't really have a history of developing programs like "Skins," and it's possible the network hasn't yet figured out how to market it. Maybe if they program it back to back to back with "My Sweet Barely Legal MILF" and Dan Savage's new sex advice column they'll find the formula they're looking for.

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