MTV Plans To Adapt UK Series ‘Skins’ For US TV


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?


  • Lisa.

    NOOO! Why can’t they just air the UK version with a parental advisory? MTV will butcher the name of the show.

  • Stephanie

    totally agree with you! as an avid viewer of the British original series (which I manage to do from across the pond completely legally thanks to iTunes) I am APPALLED at this idea. MTV cannot do Skins as Skins should be done in America, if it is done in America at all. HBO or Showtime would have been better. On the bright side, I like that it’s being set in Baltimore and not NYC or LA, I’ve had enough of those cities. Also, I hope that not every character is going to be a rich bitch, because that’s unrealistic, and I’m glad that they’ve managed to keep one of the original writers of the British series to do the American one. here’s to hoping that we don’t screw it up too badly.

  • Devo

    I think they figure – Hey, the Office is successful here, let’s try other stuff, too.

    But apparently they don’t remember Coupling, Kath & Kim….etc etc.

  • Sinann


  • Candice

    Oh, I totally agree! I can’t imagine what they would do with Effie’s character. That makes me sad!

  • Evangeline

    im from england and skins is basically just what all our teen lives are like – cheap and tacky with outrageous characters. its very realistic tbh – i hope americans realise that english dont have upper crust accents and tweed blazers :-) believe me we dont

  • bethable

    Worst. Idea. Ever.

  • Dara

    I just started to watch the British version of this show. MTV will ruin it if they do an American version. NOOOO!

  • Diva

    What kind of fuckery is this! sorry bout the language but it was the first thought that came to my mind, I feel in luv with this show on youtube watched most of the episode’s on it but now that mtv bought the rights there gonna make it out to be like the cast of 90210 all rich and shit the essecne of skins is that they were noraml teens well as normal as u can get living real lives MTV would muck it up. I hope when it does comes out it gets CANCELLED! real talk

  • sam

    I am a huge fan of Skins and I have watched every single episode on YouTube, where it is not censored, and I am watching Series 3 again as it airs on BBC America. I am interested to see what MTV is going to do. In no way whatsoever will it be better than the original but it will be interesting to see what MTV does. I am afraid MTV will butcher the spirit of Skins but at the same time since Bryan Elsley will have such a huge role in the US version I think it could actually be really great. I hope that MTV captures the spirit that is Skins and does not try to do an exact carbon copy of the original because then it will just be horrible. I think everyone needs to hold their judgements until we see what MTV does because maybe, just maybe, they’ll do something pretty great…or they won’t and they’ll completely butcher it.

  • Caufield

    I have to agree with everyone else. MTV will ruin this great show. They will gloss it up so much that it’s going to be a Gossip 90210 TreeHill (pretty much all the crap on CW) clone. Honestly, Skins is too real to be on tv in the states. We have too many “watchdog” groups who like to police good tv shows. Skins is supposed to push the envelope, but I’m afraid MTV will bow down to censors and completely muck it up.

  • Kim*UK

    I agree with what everyone else is saying. MTV is just out to sabotage everyone these days.

  • victor

    this will be terrible. like seriously terrible..

  • Ash

    Trent et al! Give MTV some slack. A few years back they had some decent original programming- Spyder Games and Undressed weren’t all too bad.

    • @Ash — It’s not about MTV, it’s about the fact that the original is SO good and should be left alone.

  • Lulu

    Ugh. Terrible terrible terrible TERRIBLE idea. :( :( :(

  • MissMoakler

    This is truly disheartening.

  • Mrs Jackman

    NO WAY.

    How dare MTV steal our sweet *ahem* innocent skins? There will be uproar across my side of the pond.

  • Kay

    first two series were amazing, third was terrible! and Evangeline, in what way do you see the show as realistic?!? i live in the UK, and its the most exaggerated show!

    anyway, making a US version, bad idea. Its always a bad idea when the US tries to remake a UK show or vice versa. Terrible idea!!

  • goob

    Then don’t watch it. It’s that simple.

  • Francesca

    I don’t know where you live in the UK Kay but I know alot of people just like the characters in skins. It’s totally realistic.
    I just can’t see it working in America. (And by that I don’t mean the american audiences, but as a setting.) If they have to censor the original when airing it, then a new one will surely not push the limits the way the show is supposed to.

  • KK

    If there’s anything to be said for this, it’s that enough people love the original to prevent this show ruining the franchise. It will be another example of a show being lost in translation. I just can’t see the idea working in the United States, unless it doesn’t try to be the original. Where most imported shows go wrong is trying to copy the original, where the few which succeed copy the core elements and adapt the rest to the local market. Look at the Series 3 of the original British show, it is incredibly different to the first two, but there is enough to tie both groups of characters together. At first, I didn’t like the new cast, but as the series progressed, they started to grow on me, like the original cast. If Skins USA can avoid being derivative, and finds its own particular American voice, while still maintaining the essence of the Skins franchise, it could easily fit into the British Skins universe. If not, it will, just as easily, be cast away from it. It sounds like a no-lose situation for the Skins fan.

  • Cass

    What a dumbass idea.

  • Kayla

    While a US version could be okay (but I doubt compare to the original) it wouldn’t work on MTV. It’ll be way too censored and not have the same feel at all to the originial. I agree with you Trent that if we have to have a US version Showtime or HBO should do it.

  • Gaby

    I love this show…and when I heard MTV was making a US version of it….Im just lost for words. This show SHOULD BE LEFT ALONE. MTV have you seen the show? It won’t be the same without the original characters AND it won’t be the same cause everything GOOD has to be censored. I say leave the show alone and start showing more music instead of more stupid shows

  • Gaby

    BTW when is the new season of Skins suppose to come out in the UK? Anyone Anyone!

  • mike

    Why cant america just show original shows, why do they have to butcher all the cool shows. they will ruin this with their political correctness! It will become some pg fairies and rainbows but with a touch of the hills crap! uggh!

  • Matty Worth

    What are they going to call it? “Papers”? The whole double entendre will be lost. Shame. Also, it will suck.

  • Kash

    I was hoping beyond hope that this would NEVER happen. Still, there’s a small, VERY SMALL, part of me that prays that this American version won’t make me want to rip my hair out.
    And yes, what would they call it?

  • Apples v 2

    oh jesusussususussususususus i may kill myself. well not really, but the original (cast *cough*) was amazing! I can not believe this.

  • Katie

    Boo! But at least if it sucks it really does not have a thing to do with the real version. I have hope that this is such a stupid idea out of the gate that it won’t really have any terrible effect on the franchise.

  • rambo

    i do agree that this is probably not a good idea. theres no way mtv will be able to do this series any justice, but looks like well have to wait and see eh? other than my friend im the only other person i know that has seen skins and absolutely loved it, so i do feel very protective about so many other people getting in on my little treasure but oh well. that being said i FULLY intend to attend any sort of casting process they may have for this series. im glad to hear that theyre still sticking to the whole open audition thing.

    funny story, a few weeks ago i saw mitch hewer (maxxie) on the subway here in la. i wanted to say hello and tell him how much i love skins, but it was rush hour and probably woulda been awkward. caught him checking himself out in the window the whole time. hahahaha

  • Michelle

    Soo basically MTV is going to try and create a fictional teen version of the Real World… wait, don’t they already have a show sort of like that? I believe it’s called THE REAL WORLD. Why oh why can’t they just leave well enough alone. Seriously, the Brits practically invented acting, they’ve certainly been performing longer than we have. We’ve already killed enough of their shows over the years. And seriously MTV needs to change its’ name already… because I never see actual MUSIC on there anymore!

  • alejandro

    OMG NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY OH WHY OH WHY!!!!!!!!

  • mimi

    im officially boycotting MTV.

  • rossy

    Instead of bitching about “how awful a US version of the show will be”… DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

    Email MTV with your concerns – HELL! Threaten to boycott the channel/show if they do this. MTV used to be a great network by giving us great music videos, but those days are LONG GONE! Why it still exists is beyond me, but than again, I no longer watch it.

    Most likely nothing will come from sending emails since I doubt they care about ANYTHING but advertiser revenues (rather than viewer concerns). At least, you’ll have TRIED!

  • davidsask

    I am so angered with this news. The creators of the show from UK really sold their souls with their decision. $$$ always wins out. I agree with you that of all the so called bidding wars? that the show should have at very least went to more adult cable carrier to give it any possible? justice. i almost wish it would epic FAIL as all the kids now say!


  • meh

    Oh Hell No! They’ll just turn it into The Hills!!!

  • Sarah

    MTV has very little original programming that can be considered good. I used to watch undressed when I was in high school. It was horrible. Even I knew it then. I stopped watching the channel all together three years ago.

    • @Sarah — “I used to watch undressed when I was in high school. It was horrible.” True, the show may have been bad but it was bad in a fun way, plus ‘Undressed’ was one of the first shows to show honest depictions of same-sex love on basic cable. I can’t hate that show.

  • Colette

    They better not show this in the UK, cos there would be a serious backlash against them.

  • Ana S.

    MTV should stick with what it knows… reality tv

  • Presh!

    NOOOOOO!!!! Pleaseeeee!!!!! NOOOOO!!!! >: (

    It’s not the Brits’ fault that they keep churning out better TV shows than Americans.. so please spare ‘Skins’ from the butcher knife!!!!!!!

    Sigh.. Know what? Instead of remaking shows, people should just stop being lazy and actually use their brains to try and develop the next great show. Stop buying rights to remake!!! Just use the money to get better writers, that’s all. Pssshhhh.

  • mari

    what is wrong with america? why do they alway do remakes of fantastic tv shows?
    the office was greate ,then you make a us vertion that is wery lame.
    or my favorite series Qeer as folk, where the us vertion took away all that was scandaleus, fun and cutting edge, and made it boring and flat.

    why do they want to destroy skins as vell i love that show?

    skins RIP
    /mari ,sweden

  • Mare

    This is the WORST!….Skins is just a terrific show, it’s original, brazen,honest! MTV will definitely turn it into crap!..

  • dannnni

    this sucks.

  • alice

    this will be crap, why do they haveto do this???

  • Laurel

    I just screamed. no joke. this is the worst thing i have ever heard. FUCK MTV. skins is my favorite show and it air in the US on BBC America anyway! the last thing we need is for mtv to fuck it up. wow. this is bullshit.