MPs summon ITV chiefs to give evidence in reality TV probe | Business News


ITV’s bosses have been summoned to gi‎ve evidence to a parliamentary probe into reality television launched in the wake of the death of a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Sky News has learnt that the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee will announce on Friday that Sir Peter Bazalgette and Dame Carolyn McCall – ITV’s chairman and chief executive respectively – are to appear before it later this month.

Their evidence session will be one of several scheduled by the committee as‎ it examines the duty of care owed to reality TV participants by broadcasters and production companies.

The launch of the inquiry came within hours of ITV announcing that it had permanently cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show, after it emerged that a participant had died soon after the episode in which he featured had been filmed.

Dame Carolyn ‎said the decision to end production of the popular daytime programme had been taken in light of “the gravity of recent events”.

The chair of the culture select committee, Damian Collins MP, said that programmes featuring people trying to resolve personal problems under a public ‎spotlight had carried significant risks.

“There needs to be an independent review of the duty of care TV companies have to participants in reality TV shows,” Mr Collins said.

The issue of the vulnerability of reality TV participants has been increasingly closely scrutinised, with two former contestants on the dating show Love Island – also broadcast by ITV – having taken their own lives a number of years after appearing on the programme.

Announcing the launch of the latest series of Love Island last month‎, ITV outlined an extensive duty of care process including the availability of a psychological consultant and training on dealing with social media attention after the show has ended.

A source close to ITV said it welcomed the chance for Sir Peter and Dame Carolyn to highlight the company’s commitment to the welfare of reality TV participants.

Ms McCall, the former boss of easyJet, has run ITV for nearly 18 months, during which the broadcaster’s shares have fallen sharply amid continuing pressure on advertising revenues.

ITV declined to comment on Thursday.


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