MTV stands by racy teen drama "Skins"

Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:42pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Viacom's MTV said on Wednesday it was standing by its controversial teen series "Skins" despite an exit of advertisers, a 50 percent slump in audience its and calls for a government pornography probe.

"Skins," an edgy new drama based on a British TV series of the same name, features a group of teens who dabble in drink, drugs and underage sex. Some of the largely unknown actors are as young as 15.

"The show is not canceled. The next episode is going ahead on Monday," an MTV spokeswoman told Reuters, responding to a media report the show was about to be axed.

Taco Bell, Subway, General Motors, Wrigley, Schick, H&R Block, Footlocker and L'Oreal have either pulled commercials from "Skins" or placed the series on a "do not buy" list in the last week.

Red Bull and skin care marketer Zeno Hot Spot ran ads in the latest episode on Monday, along with movie promotions from several Hollywood studios.

The move followed calls by a parents watchdog for a U.S. government investigation into possible violations of laws on the sexual exploitation of minors. U.S. laws ban the visual depiction of children or teens under 18 years of age involved in sexually explicit conduct.

Audiences for Monday's second episode dropped by half to 1.6 million U.S. viewers from the 3.3 million who watched the heavily promoted January 17 debut.

MTV said a fall-off in audiences for the second episode of a series are common and noted that the "Skins" audience was in line with that of other popular teen TV dramas "Gossip Girl" and "Vampire Diaries."   Continued...

<p>Cast members from the MTV drama series 'Skins' are shown in this undated publicity photograph. A television watchdog group, on January 20, 2011 asked the U.S. government to open a child pornography investigation into the new MTV series "Skins." The Parents Television Council, which has 1.3 million members, said the drama about, and starring, teens as young as 15 years old could violate U.S. laws against the sexual exploitation of minors and statutes against child pornography. MTV declined last Thursday to comment specifically on the PTC request for a government probe but has expressed confidence that the show "will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers." REUTERS/MTV/Handout</p>