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MTV's 'Skins' Continues Ratings Slide Except with Teens

MTV's controversial show Skins continues to shed viewers along with advertisers.

The show's third episode drew 1.456 million viewers, down from last week. The show ratings also dropped among MTV's key demographic of 12-34 year olds, but rose among teens, who are urged not to watch shows rated TV-MA, as Skins is.

When it debuted on Jan. 17, Skins drew 3.256 million total viewers, a high for a new series on MTV. Tune in for the episode got a big boost from its lead in, which was a special episode of Jersey Shore, which attracted 7.697 million viewers. The Skins premiere drew a 2.87 rating in MTV's core demographic of 12 to 34 years olds, including a 4.09 rating among 12-to-17-year-olds. In its second week, the number of viewers fell by half, with 1.581 million tuning in

Advertisers continue to flee the drama, which features the sex and drug habits of teens and has been a lightning rod. Before it aired, the Parents Television Council labeled it as the "most dangerous show" on TV for children, and the organization succeeded in rooting out a number of advertisers. 

Pimple medications Clearasil and Proactiv had several direct response ads in the third episode. A spokesperson for direct response marketer Guthy-Renker, which reps Proactiv, told The Hollywood Reporter it had received several complaints from viewers about appearing in the show, and has officially asked MTV to cease airing its spots in the show.

Skins was supposed to help key the start of a scripted programming push at MTV, which thus far has stood by the series. The network will be trying to sell advertisers on the rest of its upcoming lineup at an upfront presentation in New York Wednesday evening.

Read more at B&C here.

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.