The number of sponsors that dropped the show is apparently now up to 8, and more importantly, according to the Wall Street Journal, the viewing audience dropped 51%. 51%!!! I may be premature, but I think we can start a death watch for MTV’s Skins as of now…
I know that I’m not responsible for it, because I have zero influence, but it’s interesting to find out that sponsors are not at all impressed with MTV’s version of Skins. So far, they’ve lost at least four sponsors, because the show is too controversial. Now, I still haven’t watched the MTV version, and I’m not likely to since it conflicts with my school schedule and a far superior show — Castle; more on that in a few minutes — but I find it hard to believe that a company that’s as big and active as MTV would go out and make child porn (as some people are calling it). Nor do I think they would stray too terribly far from the basic formula of the BBC version of the show, which I think would fit in perfectly with my skewed impression of MTV’s programming.
Nonetheless, I’ve been wrong before. As I’ve watched over the years, MTV’s programming has become significantly more “edgy” and risky as they try to capture the attention of the generations they’ve molded over the last thirty years. (Thankfully, they had little influence over me since I didn’t have cable television in any way, shape, or form for most of my life.) The drawback of always pushing the envelope is that you start to lose sight of when the envelope has reached its limits, and though the BBC version of Skins might have once been perfectly at home on the MTV I stereotype, it’s entirely possible that MTV sees it as a “good start” and have taken it to an extreme that it never should have approached.
Even if they’ve only taken it as far as the BBC did, and no further, it’s also entirely possible that the verisimilitude of the series was too much for mainstream America to digest on such a major television network. (One day, I promise you, I shall unleash my wrath on American censorship and conservative restrictions.) In any event, MTV is reaping what it has sown, and I do not foresee a long life for the American series. At least not on MTV.