Potentially horrible (and deffo, at the least, worrisome) news for fans of the amazing UK teen series Skins … news today is that MTV has bought the rights to adapt the series for US television which should strike fear and loathing in anyone who has ever watched a single ep of the original UK version. Like it or not, it’s coming to America … in MTV style:
MTV has landed the rights to develop a U.S. version of the award-winning U.K. phenomenon “Skins,” it was announced today by Liz Gateley, Senior Vice President, MTV Series Development. Created by father and son team, Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain, the E4 and Channel 4 series is about a group of British teenagers who are trying to grow up and find love and happiness. Bryan Elsley will be writing and executive producing the U.S. version. In an effort to maintain the original production’s successful model wherein all the stories were written by a group of British teenagers, MTV will similarly join together unknown teenagers to write and star in the series. The producers intend to set the show in Baltimore, Maryland. “‘Skins’ is one of those rare shows that cuts through to its core audience with unusually authentic stories due to the unique writing and casting process that Bryan pioneered. Having personally pursued the U.K. project for almost two years, I am beyond thrilled to bring it to MTV in the U.S. We intend to preserve the authenticity of the British version and are excited to collaborate with the original team to develop stories that will speak to American youth,” said Liz Gateley, Senior Vice President, MTV Series Development. “We are delighted to be making ‘Skins’ for the U.S. and in particular, for MTV who have embraced the show and its ambitions and unusual production process. We are looking forward to talking to teenagers across the U.S. and making a show that reflects their lives in every aspect,” said Charlie Pattinson, CEO, Company Pictures. “Skins” instantly became a critical and commercial hit in the U.K. especially among young adults as it was the third highest-rated show of the year on E4 reaching 1.2 million P2+ viewers and achieved a massive 61% of 16-34 year olds. The series won a 2009 BAFTA Audience Award, which was voted on by the public, and Best Drama Series at the 2008 Broadcast Awards. “Skins” will be produced by Company Pictures, a division of ALL3MEDIA, and Stormdog, the same companies that produce the Channel 4 series in the U.K. Bryan Elsley, of Stormdog, will Executive Produce and write the U.S. version, along with Executive Producers Charlie Pattinson and George Faber, both of Company Pictures.
No, I’m sorry … but I cannot believe that MTV or any other US basic cable network, to be quite honest, will be able to do justice to this show. The thought of a watered-down version just irritates the hell out of me. I look at what NBC did to the brilliant Aussie comedy series Kath & Kim and I wince … I am really dreading a US version of Skins. I hoped and prayed that the show wouldn’t gain the attention of the US market and, well, here we have it. No offense to MTV but their brand of programming will not even come close to the spirit of the original. Only a pay cable network like HBO or Showtime would have the freedom to really do it justice and then, well, I’d still not have much hope. Besides, BBC America already airs a censored version of the original here in the US, there is NO NEED for an entirely new MTV version. This is crappy news. So, to offset, I’m happy to pass along that the 4th season of the original version of Skins has been picked up and will air in the UK next year. Ugh … why can’t MTV leave somethings alone?