'Skins' ratings drop sharply for second episode: What's to blame?

Image Credit: Jason Nocito/MTV

MTV can’t catch a break with Skins. After the teen drama’s strong debut last week, the ultra-controversial series fell 52 percent in the ratings for its second episode. Monday’s airing delivered 1.6 million viewers after last week’s 3.3 million.

Here’s three possible reasons for the drop:

No Shore. The Skins premiere had a 7-million-plus lead-in from an original episode of Jersey Shore, while last night only had a Shore repeat. With that kind of huge initial push, the network expected at least some ratings decline.

The controversy: Could accusations that the show is basic cable kiddie porn have hurt the numbers? Controversy can often improve a show’s turnout, but in this case, there may be an “ick factor” that did Skins more harm than good.

The show itself: Ken Tucker noted last night’s episode came off “more like a mediocre episode of Degrassi” than the terrific British version (despite one character masturbating to a poster of Audrey Hepburn).

Yesterday, Skins creator Bryan Elsley defended the show as “rather old fashioned” while more advertisers dropped out. So far, MTV is weathering the storm and waiting to see what happens next.

Comments (109 total) Add your comment
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  • oh well

    show sucks, mtv sucks

    • fede

      yep, everyone was curious to see the first episode, but now we know it’s awful as we expected

      • Bob in San Diego

        Agreed. I saw the first just because so many people say the UK version is good. It was awful and I’m done.

      • AcaseofGeo

        I agree. I DVR’d the first ep and finally watched it last night. Aside from the glib-talking lead, the show was rather lame. Not nearly enough teen sex in my opinion, which, lets face it, is what was supposed to be its selling point. It was pretty lame. I would think even teens would find it lame. Trying too hard.

      • jaden

        u suq skins is the best show evea

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      • Olive

        It’s too bad people didn’t stick around because the second episode was a great improvement and felt closer to the UK version than the pilot.

    • Stephanie


    • Confidential

      All the controversy has done for me was interest me getting the UK version on iTunes.

      • kelsey

        Agreed. I actually watched the second show and called Bull S throughout the whole episode. I’m done and have just added the UK version to my Netflix queue.

    • sunsetsnow81

      I had it set to series record on my DVR due to the Brit version. I deleted it immediately after I watched the first episode. Despite the critics and the backlash the show does indeed suck.

    • Blue Silver


    • Tasha

      Never heard if uk skins I just watched 3 episodes when they were showing reruns and it just felt kind of tacky and disgusting. Ok I’m not a pride at all but this show just felt like it was trying way to hard and I was just over it before I finished the third one.

  • mickey

    Skins UK is better. (not surprised)

    • oh well

      the uk isn’t great either half the episodes and half cast were uninteresting…and above all it was rather pretentious

      • bria

        I agree with you 100%. I wasn’t impressed enough with the UK version to see why they had to make a US version.

  • Akemi

    Why would I watch a crappy American remake of this, when I can just watch the original, far superior, British version on DVD?

    • gungi

      british version sucked too

  • Caio

    I actually enjoyed last night’s episode. I thought Tea’s story was quite touching. Not even close to match Skins 1st generation quality, but a good teen show.

    I’m curious about the 18-49 and teen demo, what really matters for the show. I know they expected a drop but, with that many sponsors leaving the show, it can’t fall hard.

  • hermione

    the audrey hepburn thing seemed sort of disrespectful. I dunno, that’s not the word I’m looking for, it was just, …… not good. after watching the show tho, imo it blows.

    • Toby

      I think distasteful might be the adjective you’re looking for.

      • AcaseofGeo

        Not only that, but what teen in 2011 even knows who Audrey Hepburn is, let alone masturbate to her picture???? I’m not disrespecting her, its just unless you’re a gay teen who love “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” I seriously don’t know a single teen who is really familiar with this particular icon. Prove me wrong teens, I’d love to know she’s adored by 16yos.

  • Emma

    Honestly, I think this is all ridiculous. Just read an article in Nylon about skins UK..they said it was worse than the US version!

    I can’t stand the US show because it’s just trying to be a bad-ass gossip girl type of show. Everything is about sex for sex’s sake.

    On the UK version, yeah there was a lot of drugs and sex but we CARED about the characters. I’ve cried over so many UK skins episodes, a lot of then hit home.

    I hate how the US skins is giving tr oriinal a bad name, because it meant a lot of things to a lot of people.

    I couldcare less if US skins goes under.

  • Andrew

    The show is just terrible IMO, it can’t get canceled fast enough. Some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen.

    What was MTV thinking?

  • Olivia

    Well what else did they expect? Not all BBC shows can be converted to American styles. I loved the BBC version, and the American is just the same without the flaws that I loved. And they replaced Maxxie… :(

  • MKS

    What’s to blame. It’s a terrible show that’s woefully miscast wonderful characters. You couldn’t find a more wooden group anywhere else.

    • JS

      Agreed. Awful acting is most definitely to blame for the show’s failure. The UK version is miles ahead of this, and it does so with the exact same plotlines. Trading Maxxie for a generic ‘bombshell lesbian’ character is just an example of how MTV is just sensationalizing rather than trying to make Skins as good as the original.

  • Jonathan

    I watched the first episode and that was enough for me. It just wasn’t any fun to watch; none of the characters were likable, and I hate to say it but only one person, the actress whom i believe plays Michelle, was pretty out of the whole cast. I honestly don’t enjoy watching unattractive actors talk and participate in drugs and sex. I could watch the cast of Gossip Girl eat a drama-free dinner and have more fun analyzing every strand of Blake Lively’s hair. My point is that I could go into a high school and see Skins every day; I’d rather escape the real world and watch beautiful people in unrealistic situations on the CW, and I’m sure a lot of other people would as well.

  • lefty

    Definitely made a difference not having JS before it. Also, the pilot was extremely weak compared to the second episode (I thought anyway).

  • Tegan Jovanka

    I can’t wait for the follow up show, “Shirts”.

    • Wooow

      That was the dumbest “joke” I’ve ever heard.

      • mike

        you mean read

  • Kj23

    The acting is horrid, and on top of that, the kids come across as brats. Not interested in the least. I feel like the only reason they put this show on the air was shock value…and how about that? Mtv’s audience apparently won’t watch just anything. When will through get that their audience isn’t nearly as stupid as they think?

    • Kj23

      Lol…oops, iPhone issues made me sound as stupid as MTV thinks I am.

  • dryedmangoez

    The lack of a huge lead-in definitely a big part of it. But most people probably tuned out because they saw how horrible the show actually was.

  • Kenneth

    Watched the first episode. It wasn’t controversial. It wasn’t risque. It was just plain boring. And the actors aren’t good enough to elevate the material past an underground high school play.

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