In Vulture’s latest edition of Your TV Ratings Explained, we noted that “Skins drew fewer young eyeballs than repeats of George Lopez on Nick at Nite.” Perhaps sensing that this was a ripe opportunity to strike again, the Parents Television Council — which has chased away a whole gang of advertisers from the show — re-upped its anti-Skins campaign last night.
They’ve shifted their strategy: Instead of going after MTV, they’re telling their members to target Viacom’s shareholders, claiming that the show is losing money and therefore should be canceled on financial grounds. A new letter reads in part:
[Skins] has become radioactive to the advertising community…The only viewers that have stuck around are the 12-17-year-olds MTV tried to claim were not the target audience. Viacom has one prime directive as a publicly traded company: to return a profit to its shareholders. In allowing one of its properties, MTV, to continue to air a program that is losing the company money, Viacom is in breach of its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. MTV has an agenda to push, and they are going to push it at all costs. They are determined to rewrite the rule book for television standards, forever lowering the threshold for what can and should be permitted on advertiser-supported basic cable.
Three thoughts: (1) Networks keep shows that lose money on all the time. (2) If Skins is losing money, it’s in part because the overzealous Parents Television Council scared away advertisers. (3) MTV’s nefarious agenda to “rewrite the rule book for television standards” sounds like one we can get behind! The point is: If the Parents Television Council succeeds in taking a show — that may have been on the bubble and may have, as many have commented, developed into itself over time — and bullying it off the air, that’s some bullshit.