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.