MTV Feels the Heat Over Racy Teen Drama 'Skins'

Controversy is engulfing MTV's highly touted new show Skins, which drew 3.2 million viewers in its Jan. 17 debut.

The show has been accused of possibly being child pornography, one advertiser --Taco Bell -- has pulled its ads from the show, and the Parents Television Council, which has hated the show from the beginning, is stepping up its efforts, calling for an advertiser boycott and a federal investigation.

MTV's Skins is a remake of a popular British series about a group of teens and their activities involving sex and drugs.

MTV's version, according to critics who saw both, is tamer than the British version, but was still given an TV-MA rating and airs only after 10 p.m. Nevertheless, it was the second most-viewed show on cable TV among teens aged 12 to 17, according to The Nielsen Co.

After the show aired, the PTC targeted Taco Bell for a boycott because it had two ads in the program. Taco Bell said today it was pulling its ads from the series, with a spokesman telling The Hollywood Reporter, "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."

MTV had no comment on Taco Bell's decision, but it drew praise from the PTC. "I think it's a great decision business wise for them," said Dan Isett, director of public policy. "Historically for us, Yum Brands has been a very problematic advertiser, but we're glad that they made a good decision in this case."

The group had no plans to call for boycotts of other advertisers on Skins, he said.

Read more at B&C here.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.