It’s a hit show that’s been recommissioned for a sixth series in this country, but Skins has failed to crack the US and has been cancelled after a single season, with MTV citing plummeting ratings as the reason for the decision.
The channel confirmed the news overnight, stating that Skins was “a global television phenomenon that, unfortunately, didn’t connect with a US audience as much as we’d hoped.”
According to MTV’s statement, the series faced two key problems in the US: it was given a TV-MA rating because of its racy content, meaning that it could only be broadcast after 10pm, and was intended for an adult viewership despite being about the lives of teenagers.
However, the series had also faced an unceasing barrage of criticism in the States, with pressure groups objecting to Skins’ depiction of teenage sex and drug use, especially since some of its cast members were as young as 15 years old.
The Parents Television Council even went so far as to suggest that scenes featuring these underage actors could violate child pornography laws and referred to Skins as “the most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen”.
Advertisers subsequently blacklisted Skins and the show’s ratings plummeted from a respectable 3.3 million viewers to just 1.2m for the series finale.
Skins became popular in the UK after it was seen to tackle such controversial issues as drug abuse, teenage sexuality, dysfunctional families and death, and the ways in which they affect a group of adolescents.
Series creator Bryan Elsley defended Skins in a statement posted on MTV’s website earlier this year as “a very serious attempt to get to the roots of young people’s lives…It tries to tell the truth. Sometimes that truth can be a little painful to adults and parents.”