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TCA Press Tour: MTV lets out its teen angst with 'Skins'

August 6, 2010 |  5:24 pm

“Shedding our skin is sort of second nature for us.”

That’s how Tony DiSanto, MTV’s president of programming, opened the network’s session at the TCA press tour.

So it seems only natural that the network would become the home to the remake of the U.K.’s hit teen drama “Skins.” Though reality series have long been the network’s “bread and butter” — “The Hills,” “Jersey Shore” — as of late, they’re putting more eggs in the scripted basket.

“Millennials are all about authenticity,” said David Janollari, head of the network’s scripted development. “We’re pursuing a more authentic vérité style with our reality shows and with our scripted programs.”

The risqué teen soap gives an unvarnished look at teen lives in a way that “Gossip Girl” and “90210” can’t even dare to mimic.  It helps that much of the writing on “Skins,” the British version of which airs stateside on BBC America, is done by young people, said the series’ co-creator Bryan Elsley. And, he added, casting young actors to bring life to those teen stories is also central to its success; five of the central cast members in the MTV series are under 18 -- the targeted demographic of the original series.

So have they watched?

“I had seen a couple of episode prior to being cast on the show,” said James Newman, who will play Tony Snyder. "Once I was cast, I stopped watching it … to bring something new to the show and the character that I’m playing.”

The show will start production in Toronto, which will translate to “eastern seaboard American city,” in the upcoming weeks. Elsley will be writing and executive producing the adapted version.

But a carbon copy this is not … well, not exactly, Elsley assures.

“There will be a resonance from the U.K. show, but I think you’ll find some original episodes and writing,” he said. “I think the first episode has some similarities but that won’t be the case all the way through.”

ShowTrackers, are you fans of the original version? Do you think it’s a good addition to the MTV lineup? Will you tune in?

--Yvonne Villarreal
twitter.com/villarrealy

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