One of British daytime TV’s most popular shows, The Jeremy Kyle Show, has been cancelled by channel ITV following the suicide of a guest who appeared on an episode filmed recently.
The show is a tabloid-style talk show, similar to the Jerry Springer Show, where host Kyle moderates — often in an aggressive and confrontational style — discussions between guests who feature in the show to play out social and relationship issues in front of a live audience.
The show averages one million viewers per episode – a 22% audience share in the British domestic market. It is the biggest program on the ITV channel in terms of viewership.
ITV had already suspended filming and production of the show following the suicide of Steven Dymond, who took a lie detector test on the show. All previous episodes of the show have been removed from ITV’s online service, and future screenings have also been scrapped.
A coroner in the United Kingdom (UK) said that an inquiry into Dymond’s death was to be opened in the coming days, after a post-mortem examination concluded following his death on May 9 – a week after shooting the episode on The Jeremy Kyle Show.
The news of Dymond’s death has prompted a widespread national discussion on the show and its duty of care to its participants. Mounting pressure on Jeremy Kyle, both the show and the host, covered the front pages of many national newspapers on Wednesday morning.
The Daily Star splashed with the headline: “Theatre of Cruelty” and a former participant describing how guests were “ruthlessly broken”, and the Daily Mail has an interview with the son of Steve Dymond, telling the paper that Kyle had “really laid into him”.
Many papers picked up on the timing of the incident, noting that it is Mental Health Awareness week in the U.K.
Host Jeremy Kyle ignored reporters’ questions on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning outside his home in Windsor.
Downing Street has commented on the issue, with the Prime Minister’s spokesman saying the news of the death of a participant was “deeply concerning”.
Carolyn McCall, the CEO of ITV, said in a statement: “Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end producton of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
“The Jeremy Kyle Show has had a loyal audience and has been made by a dedicated production team for 14 years, but now is the right time for the show to end.
“Everyone at ITV’s thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Steve Dymond.”
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