Monday 16 September 2019

Jeremy Kyle pilots new ITV show months after flagship programme axed

The presenter’s long-running series was cancelled following the death of a participant.

Jeremy Kyle (Mike Egerton/PA)
Jeremy Kyle (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Jeremy Kyle is piloting a new show to air on ITV months after his flagship programme was axed, the broadcaster’s director of television Kevin Lygo has said.

The channel cancelled the presenter’s long-running The Jeremy Kyle Show following the death of participant Steve Dymond.

Mr Dymond, 63, died around a week after failing a love-cheat lie-detector test on Kyle’s daytime programme.

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Mr Lygo confirmed ITV was road testing Kyle’s new project, adding his investigative series The Kyle Files would return in 2020.

Mr Lygo also said it was unlikely Kyle would return to his former 9.30am slot.

He suggested Good Morning Britain, Lorraine or This Morning could be extended or moved to fill the space left in the schedule.

Speaking with Sky News newsreader Kay Burley, he said: “No, I doubt he will (return to the same slot). I can’t imagine what we would do.

“I have spoken to him about it, of course, and I think he feels as well that whatever he does next, it shouldn’t be in that 9.30am slot.

“We have an ongoing commitment to The Kyle Files, which is his style of journo thing which will be ready next year sometime.”

We will look to find another show with him but I think it is unlikely it will go in the same slot Kevin Lygo

He added: “We are piloting something with him and we will just have to have a look because he is a consummate broadcaster and it would be absolutely wrong to apportion blame of the show against the presenter of it.

“We don’t hold him in any bad way. We will look to find another show with him but I think it is unlikely it will go in the same slot.”

ITV initially suspended filming but ended The Jeremy Kyle Show after coming under pressure from politicians and the public.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee then launched an inquiry into reality TV.

Mr Lygo said ITV had no part in Kyle’s decision to avoid the inquiry.

He said: “It was totally his decision and I think we deliberately stayed a bit neutral as to whether he should do it.

“He didn’t want to do it and he feels that was the right thing to do. For him, it was his call. Obviously he had a dilemma about should he, shouldn’t he.

“But then after the event I think he thought: ‘I’m glad I didn’t.’ It would have all been on him. He might not have known stuff.”

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Former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis (Ian West/PA)

Mr Lygo also defended ITV’s decision to continue airing Love Island following the deaths of former contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.

“I don’t think Love Island and Jeremy Kyle are the same in any way,” he told the festival.

“The awful tragedies of people dying. This was years after they appeared on the show.

“They had appeared on other shows. They had gone on with their lives.”

Honestly, it wouldn't have occurred to me to cancel Love Island Kevin Lygo

He added: “All we know about suicide is that it is a very complex issue and there is not one trigger that does it.

“I don’t feel there is a direct connection or enough significance to cancel Love Island because someone who was on it has gone through a tragic experience.

“I think they are very difficult. The procedures and the screenings and the rest of it and the aftercare on Love Island are very difficult.

“Honestly, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to cancel Love Island.”

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