Watchdog cheers "Skins" cancellation (audio)



After getting Foot Locker, L’Oreal, Schick, Subway, General Motors, Taco Bell, Wrigley, H&R Block and others to pull ads for the racy teen faux-reality show that glorified drug and alcohol abuse and sexual content, the Parents Television Council thanked the viewing public and advertisers for prompting MTV’s cancellation of the show after one season on 6/9.

“The shocking content was trumped only by the fact that the program featured teenage actors and was marketed to teenage children. We are grateful to every member of the public who helped us drive an economic stake through the graphic content on the program, the likes of which never deserves to see the light of day again,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “MTV’s decision to put ‘Skins’ on the air was a programming failure of cataclysmic proportions. The network marketed the show to kids and then lied. The producers admitted to delivering kids to advertisers and then lied about their intentions. Advertisers openly supported the show until they were called out for underwriting some of the most graphic portrayals of teen sex and glamorized drug and alcohol abuse that we have ever seen on television.”

PTC had called the program “the most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen.” As the season began, PTC urged the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees, DOJ and state attorneys general to open an investigation regarding child pornography and exploitation. PTC also launched a research and advocacy campaign to call out each advertiser that appeared on the show, and applauded the numerous companies that agreed the content did not resonate with their corporate image.

PTC Director of Communications and Public Education Melissa Henson tells RBR-TVBR about the latest on the government investigations of the show and how a New York Times article was the real catalyst of advertisers pulling. Listen to the audio player, above.

Winter said Skins was so full of explicit content, viewers were treated to some form of sex, violence, drugs, alcohol, or profanity once every 22 seconds of air time. Graphic sexual content was the most pervasive, followed by drug-related references and depictions. It took 53 episodes of broadcast programming to find the equivalent amount of drug content that aired in only eight ‘Skins’ episodes.

RBR-TVBR observation: There’s nothing wrong with going the extra mile to get ratings, but this show may have pushed the envelope too far, particularly in its use of underage actors for sexual situations. But the public reaction made advertisers back away and the end result was a business decision that the show wasn’t viable. That’s how free speech works in the USA.

Still to be seen, though, is whether cancellation is the end or whether there still might be investigations and even prosecution for the use of minors from U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees, DOJ and state attorneys general.