Just as advertisers fled Skins, so did viewers for the second episode of the controversial MTV series.
The Jan. 24 installment attracted just 1.6 million viewers, a 52% drop from its premiere the week before. More importantly, Monday night's premiere skidded among MTV's core demo, dropping from a 3.4 rating among persons 12 to 34 to a 1.4, according to Nielsen data.
The Jan. 17 premiere of Skins on MTV Monday night drew an audience of 3.26 million viewers, including 2.7 million persons 12 to 34. That was the most ever for a new show bow with the network's broad demo, according to channel officials.
Those totals were no doubt goosed by the lead-in of the premiere installment of MTV's top-rated all-time original series, Jersey Shore, which drew 7.7 million viewers that night. Last night, Skins had to settle for an encore of the series, which MTV just renewed for a fourth season that will send the cast members to Italy.
Advertisers in the controversial series ran aground of the Parents Television Council, which has dubbed Skins, a remake of a British show that prominently features storylines about sex and drug and alcohol use among teens, the "most dangerous" show for children in U.S. TV annals.
With teen actors appearing in the show, there have been reports that Skins may rub against child pornography laws.
Consequently, a number of marketers promised never to advertise on the show, with Taco Bell, General Motors, Wrigley, H&R Block, Schick and L'Oreal all pulling their spots from the MTV skein.
That left last night's second episode largely to studios pitching their latest, energy drink Red Bull, which had a couple of 30s and Zeno Corp.'s Hot Spot acne remedy, hawked by Whitney Port of MTV's The Hills fame. There were also several direct-response spots for Celtrixa, a stretch mark cream, touting an 800-number.
MTV officials didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.