Cast members of Skins on set in Bristol. The US remake will be set in Baltimore.
Photograph: Richard Saker
US cable network MTV is to create an American version of hit E4 teen drama Skins and has promised to "preserve the authenticity" of the UK version, which included graphic scenes of drug taking, drinking, swearing and casual sex.
Viacom-owned MTV landed the rights to develop the drama – which regularly pulled in more than 1 million viewers during its three series on Channel 4's digital channel E4 – "after intense competition" over two years, according to the US broadcaster.
In a bid to maintain the original production's successful model of bringing in new young writers, MTV will also draft in teenagers to write and star in the series, which will be set in Baltimore, Maryland.
The UK version, which features the exploits of a group of young people in Bristol, has already aired in the US on cable channel BBC America. A fourth series is currently in production.
MTV, previously known for its music shows, has been moving into other areas of programming for some time, with series such as The Hills. The network's schedule also includes another former Channel 4 face, T4 presenter Alexa Chung, who currently fronts MTV's It's On with Alexa Chung.
Bryan Elsley, who co-created the original British version of Skins with his son Jamie Brittain, will write and executive produce the US version, which will be made by his independent production company, Stormdog, and Company Pictures, which is owned by All3Media. Company Pictures founders and managing directors Charlie Pattinson and George Faber will also executive produce the US version.
"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," said Liz Gateley, senior vice president of MTV series development.
"Having personally pursued the UK project for almost two years, I am beyond thrilled to bring it to MTV in the US. 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."
Pattinson added: "We are delighted to be making Skins for the US 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 US and making a show that reflects their lives in every aspect."
The deal was brokered by Greg Lipstone, of management agency ICM, which represents Company Pictures and All3Media.