Is 'Skins' too skimpy?
January 21st, 2011
12:19 PM ET

Is 'Skins' too skimpy?

Reviews were middling for MTV’s “Skins,” yet it looks like the show’s content was a bit too provocative for some.

As an advertiser pulls away from associating its product with the program and the Parents Television Council calls for Congress and the Justice Department to investigate "Skins" for possible child pornography,  it seems even some of the network's executives are worried that the show is airing too much.

“Skins” is filled with a cast of lesser known actors ranging in age from 15 to 19, the New York Times reports, and of course, anyone under 18 is considered a minor. Given the young ages of the show’s stars and the risqué content, the paper says some MTV execs are concerned about violating federal child pornography laws, and have ordered producers to implement changes that would tone "Skins" down.

But a rep for MTV told CNN that the network has already done its due diligence to make sure they were steering clear of the law.

“’Skins’ is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way. We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards,” the MTV rep said. “We are confident that the episodes of ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.”

According to the Times, the show – which had 3.3 million tune in to its premiere at 10 p.m. ET on Monday – had 1.2 million under the age of 18 watching the TV-MA program. (A TV-MA ratings means the show contains content that may be inappropriate for those under the age of 17.)

Yet MTV says they’ve also worked hard to make it crystal clear that “Skins” is very, very far from “Sesame Street.”

“We also have taken numerous steps to alert viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves whether it is appropriate,” the network's rep said.

Taco Bell, meanwhile, has issued a statement confirming that the fast food chain is opting to keep its fare away from “Skins.”

“We advertise on a variety of MTV programs that reach our core demographic of 18 to 34 year olds, which included the premiere episode of ‘Skins,’” a rep for Taco Bell told CNN in a statement. “Upon further review, we’ve decided that the show is not a fit for our brand and have moved our advertising to other MTV programming.”


Filed under: television

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. search engine promotion services

    well worth the read. I found marquee.blogs.cnn.com very informative as I have been researching a lot lately on practical matters such as you talk about…

    January 23, 2012 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. j

    show needs to be canceled....sorry to say but i wouldnt want my kid(future kids)to be ackin the way skins do..i know for sure i wouldnt want my kids nor nieces or neffews to be that way,.it would be another reason why teenagers get pregnent at a early age.us parents already have other things to worry about,we dont need anymore stress..

    January 26, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Breanna

    The UK version is much better, and they show even more stuff there. The MTV people should just show the UK version. Sure it has bad content and stuff, but it's realistic and this kind of stuff happens in the real world. People are going to find out about these sorts of topics one way or another.

    January 25, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. SUSAN

    It's just another show where bad behavior and over the top self absorbed people get to make a lot of money to show your kids that its cool to have no class. I realize times have changed, but really ! Is this suppose to be today's bright teens. There are so many of these shows on these days, I have to assume this is the youth today.

    January 25, 2011 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Shows like this just keep reminding us why the last few generations are so pathetically vapid, self-absorbed and downright substandard to the ones that came before.

    January 23, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. mmi16

    Parents need to get their heads out of the sand....the Ozzie & Harriet; Father Knows Best world never existed....even in the 50's and it certanily doesn't exist for todays teens in the 21st Century.

    January 23, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alexis

    I agree with the comment that parents should monitor what their kids watch if they really have a problem. I watch the news 3 hours a day and lately this has been all over the news. Honestly MTV is gonna do what it wants and if theyre content that there is no problem with their show then so be it. Parents need to relieze that these are issues kids face nowadays, drugs and alcohol are real parents. I do however think that the show using people under the age of 18 might be alittle risky.

    January 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. QuietStormX

    This is crazy! I watch the show the other day and found it alright and frank. Some of the scens were thought provoking and blatent. It makes you think and maybe talk about what they had seen and if they had gone through some situations? But too skimpy is just wrong here period. The PTC should grow up themself here. Parents can block shows on their TV's with reading the owners manual and adjusting some setting oh their kids TV's or all untill you select a passcode to unlock it. The show is rated "M" for 17yo and up stupid. The show is nothing but smart and frank.

    January 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JP

    The best part about this type of article (blog) is that it gives the show more popularity than it would have gotten otherwise. This show is another example of pandering to the audience to make a profit, which is good business. I don't blame MTV for doing the same thing that Ambercrombe does. I do think that a good solution to this situation is for the parent to be a parent and for the kid to have his or her homework completed before they watch the show.

    January 22, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. hermitman

    MTV – just get back to Music, please!

    January 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      I agree. MTV should change their name to RTV. (Reality Television.). I grew up in the 80's when MTV just started and i loved it. Now MTV sold out and forgot what it means to be a music channel. What does Skins, Teen mom, and Jersey Shore have to do with Music. From what i have heard and seen. Absolutely nothing to do with music. MTV you should be ashamed of yourself. You are not MTV anymore and you should stop Saying MTV.

      January 22, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Steph

    This show doesn't and will not work in the US. The British show works a lot better because:
    1. The students are in sixth form which is more along the lines of college as opposed to junior and senior year of high school.
    2. The drinking age is lower in Britain and as such the characters are of legal age.
    3. TV laws are a lot laxer in britain and as such they are able to produce a more realistic product than the shows here which are impaired by puritanical values.
    4. The original was just that original, the MTV series is attempting to imitate the E4 series that was so popular because it was groundbreaking. Now MTV is trying to imitate its success while changing very little. One of the few major changes was instead of having the show's gay character be a male, as with the british series, they instead made it a female which plays into the american culture of girl on girl being acceptable to show on tv as opposed to boy on boy.
    Overall the show is very disappointing to anyone who has seen the original. Fail for MTV.

    January 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucy

      you go girl :) I'm American and have seen the British version of this show, and loved it (you can easily netflix it). MTV can't do it justice. Many for the reasons you gave, I miss Max being a character in the show.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • t

      I completely agree!!

      January 22, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. BLAKE

    I think if UK can show it we can show it and the UK version is even worser than the american version.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      The mindset of the UK public is totally different from that of the US public, believe me. That's probably why it works a lot better there and will only cause problems here.

      January 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Where the hell has common sense and real-life gone in America? I am a 38yr old parent and I honestly believe that any moron who wants to blame a tv show that they've never watched for teenage behavior, deserves a reality check. If we're targeting shows, "Skins" is TAME COMPARED TO "BLUE MOUNTAIN STATE" on SpikeTV. But that's not my point. I happen to love that show, it's hilarious.
      What people should worry about is their parenting skills and the power of being an informed parent. There are very bad things going on out there involving our kids and an electronic household appliance's viewing content is not something that us out of their personal control within their home. For example, this "latest craze" that has lawmakers in an uproar over our children's safety are these fake "bath-salts"...chemicals that kids are snorting to get "high". Six chemicals used in these "bath salts" that have been reported in 300 cases of 911 EMS calls nationwide with symptoms of tachycardia, chest pain, nausea, and headaches, are being banned as narcotics with possible 30-year prison sentences for their possession. All in the name of "keeping our children safe"!!! According to the CDC, 400,000 people DIED as a direct result of cigarettes. I hate all of the "pick your battles" that parents have to do to keep their kids safe. Just do the right thing, and raise your children to the best of your ability, be involved in their lives, teach them well, and live them like there is no tomorrow. Most of all WAKE UP!

      January 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Flash

    OK here is the thing, MTV is dumb, but so are those people who watch MTV, considering Snooki, MTV's reality tv star, now has a book that will open 24th on the NYtimes best seller list... Viacom's(production behind the making of U.S. Skins) meetings about the possible nature of their distributed material(Skins) shows more responsibility than MTV's willingness to disseminate filth. The fact that all standards and laws have been compiled with should speak for itself, not incite the need for a pointless investigation by an overbearing prude organization.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jessy

    It's not too skimpy, it's real life. I'm only 22 years old and I know. As for it being in the illegal, that is a misconception. There are many more shows out there that show just the same material as this show. It is the parents job to decide what content is appropriate for their children and the educate them on appropriate behaviors. Hopefully this show will inform parents of the true life of teens, because teens aren't seeing anything new and disturbing on this show. All parents want to protect their teens from this kind of behavior, however, a TV show isn't going to push them into dangerous behavior. Talk to your children.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. liz

    This kind of show promotes promiscuity on young kids and teenagers. Parents beware and alert of what your kids watch. Sponsors shame on you condoning this kind of show.

    January 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Amanda

    I myself am a young adult and i find this show very disturbing! I don't find this okay for young kids to watch but I do want to say that if your kids do watch this and act this way it's your job to be a PARENT!

    January 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  17. MrsFizzy

    Sorry but we in America are such prudes. People can get all upset about it, but this stuff – s*x, drug and alcohol abuse happens in real life anyway, they'd just rather turn a blind eye. And it has happened and will continue happen without "Skins". And does this really never show any consequences for anyone? No regrets, ever? I haven't watched either version but I expect this is at best a poor copy of the original – which I admit I assumed would never be allowed to air in America just based on subject matter!

    January 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Brad

    Wendy, the show isn't for kids, it has a rating for mature audiences only...it's on the parents to monitor what their children view.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Wendy

    Im a 23 yr old female who was into drugs in high school, and no longer am thanks to God. I really believe shows like this desensitize kids/teens to these types of behaviors and the consequences that join them; making them seem more acceptable and "no big deal". Teens/kids already lack the reasoning capabilites of long term consequences and shows like these just enhance that.

    January 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      If you're going to have any reference to religion or how you love God, read below:

      People spend too much time judging others instead of getting right with God.

      Get it?

      January 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Mark

    The American version is watered down from the original and both are perfectly suitable. Seeing a bare tush will lead to death. We Americans are so sad with issues such as these. I'm quite sure that the loudest voices are the one who have refused to watch and episode and I'm quite sure that they are also the same people who complain that Government controls too much, so where do they run where it suits them?? Congressional inquiries--how ridiculous, we are the laughing stock of Earth

    January 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Sara

    Americans can be so backwards. I don't understand the outrage over this show. I've watched the original version and didn't think it was that bad either. Oh no's! S e x! Everyone does it. It's not bad or dirty. It's natural. What's not natural is the level of graphic violence they alow on primetime TV. That should worry you.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Lani Kuhonua

    Shame on CNN for identifying the Parents Television Council merely as "an advocacy group" when in fact they are a right-wing conservative religious and politically active gang, headed by Brent Bozell, with a Board of Directors that includes Leon J. Weil and Pat Boone. They want the world to be like a 1950's TV sitcom - and you should have identified them as the throwbacks they are - and you should have offered an alternative view. They sent you a press release on their concerns about the show, and you bit, I'm sure, because you could show controversial video and get everyone all jacked up. CNN, this is beneath even you.

    January 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Sorry, you are wrong. They don't want the world to be like a 50's SITCOM. They are simply a group of parents who believe that there should be some accountability in what is broadcast on OUR airwaves...Their position is just as legitimate as yours.

      January 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  23. rob

    the show skins is real life for some most teens and its funny how many people don't believe it but I like the show and I think that people just overreacting

    January 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Don't let them reel you in. This is NOT real life. This is TV. It is designed to do exactly ONE thing, get you to buy stuff...the collateral damage is inconsequential...

      January 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • t

      this is very real life for a lot of teenagers.....you need a reality check

      January 22, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  24. faula_tara

    i ama mom of 6
    4 of which are teen girls and one teen boy

    sorry todissapoint but my 2 oldest are addicts and acted just like this

    and there is a solution if u dont want your child watching this show

    monitor them

    hey, its called parenting!!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Brad from Irmo

    I haven't seen this show but that last caller to HLN was delusional if she thinks teens never do the things she described. Parents could use shows like this as parenting tools. Don't think your kids are angels folks..my mom thought I was for a long time.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. feets

    oh well. actually i was second.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  27. feets

    first to post wahoooooooo

    January 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  28. MTV = Fail

    Nothing is too skimpy for MTV.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |

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