Taco Bell pulled advertising from MTV's "Skins" after the Parents Television Workshop called the show child pornography. Image: CC quin.anya/Flickr

Producers of the new MTV drama “Skins” are getting the kind of publicity most TV executives only dream about. Based on a British show with the same name, “Skins” is about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll among teenagers. In what is sure to ignite a ratings bonanza for “Skins,” a TV watchdog group is calling for a child pornography investigation, and an advertiser has pulled its spots from the program.

MTV’s ‘Skins’ hits the bullseye

From a demographic standpoint, “Skins” is right in MTV’s wheelhouse. From a thematic standpoint, “Skins” is nothing new. “Skins” is a show about teenagers that portrays a life most teenagers wish they were living. All the kids are good looking, with runway-style flair. All the adults are dorks. The guys score. The girls gossip. Everyone is having too much fun drinking and taking drugs, until they pass out.

‘Skins’ labeled child pornography

With just one episode, “Skins” has drawn condemnation by such influences as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity of Fox News. But perhaps the show’s greatest coup in its short life came from the Parents Television Council. Some of the actors on “Skins” are younger than 18. The Parents Television Council has demanded that Congress and the Justice Department “open an investigation regarding child pornography and exploitation.” The Parents Television Council also called out Taco Bell for running ads on the premiere episode of “Skins.” Taco Bell caved under pressure, pulled its ads from “Skins” and moved them to other MTV programs of comparable intellectual weight, such as “Jersey Shore.”

‘Skins’ a ratings bonanza for MTV

“Skins” is MTV’s knock-off of a show with the same name produced in Britain. When it comes to television, the U.K differs from the U.S. in that violence, not sex, is considered objectionable content. It has been said that compared to the British version, MTV’s “Skins” is rather tame. Because of the backlash “Skins” has drawn from America’s public discomfort with human sexuality, the show’s producers have hinted that they will tone things down a bit. But episode one of “Skins” drew 3 million viewers and a 3.4 rating, more than premieres for “Jersey Shore,” CW’s “Gossip Girl” and ABC’s “Pretty Little Liars.” Taco Bell may want to reconsider.


ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/controversal-mtv-skins-porn-teens/story?id=12728614

New York Times: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/taco-bell-pulls-ads-from-mtvs-skins/

Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2011/01/mtvs-skins-bares-strong-youth-ratings-in-premiere-.html

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