LONDON (Reuters) - British broadcaster ITV won’t commission another show with the same format as “The Jeremy Kyle Show” which was axed last month after a participant died shortly after appearing on the program, its boss told lawmakers on Tuesday.
A mainstay of ITV’s daytime schedule since 2005, the program had similarities with America’s “The Jerry Springer Show”, including using security guards to break up brawls between guests.
But the death of Steven Dymond, a 63-year-old who had taken a lie-detector test a week before his death in an episode that was never broadcast, has raised questions about broadcasters’ responsibility toward people who appear on reality TV shows.
“We will not commission a show in the future in this way, in this format, using lie detector tests,” ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said in evidence to the British parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
The committee is investigating the support offered to participants in reality TV shows, both during and after filming.
McCall said the decision on future program commissions reflected a wide range of opinion on the accuracy of lie detector tests, which “depends on who you talk to.”
The tests were frequently used on “The Jeremy Kyle Show” and their use was criticized by the committee’s lawmakers.
Its inquiry was prompted by the death of Dymond and the deaths of two former contestants in the broadcaster’s popular dating show “Love Island”.
ITV, Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, suspended “The Jeremy Kyle Show” on May 13 when news of Dymond’s death emerged. It axed the show two days later.
“Everybody at ITV was extremely sorry to have heard that someone who had appeared on the show had died in quite close proximity to appearing on the show,” said McCall.
“Suspending the show created shockwaves in the production team, it had never happened before, it was unprecedented,” she said, adding: “A number of factors on that episode (featuring Dymond) made it untenable for the show to continue.”
McCall said an internal review had found ITV’s processes regarding the care of program participants had been followed.
But she added: “We will learn from this and we will improve everything we do as a result of learning.”
Lawmakers asked Kyle to give evidence but he declined to attend the hearing.
McCall told them Kyle would continue to work with ITV “but not in this format, not as a talk show.”
Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Smout and Mark Potter