It's not a new fact that reality television programs have been some of the most viewed programs on cable. However in spite of recent events, how can we tell when TV programs have gone too far? From emotional breakdowns to suicide attempts, the guests of these shows should have never been subjected to the conditions they were thrown into in the first place.
ITV has had two popular television series' cause controversy to say the least, both programs being linked with a number of suicide attempts as well as some successful ones. The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, are both very popular programs but perhaps the public did not fully realise what conditions these participants were being subjected too.
The now cancelled Jeremy Kyle Show debuted on ITV in 2005. Guests bring personal, emotional issues to the show, and Jeremy Kyle bluntly examines each scenario. The controversial show has sparked judgement from various critics.
In 2007, one judge described ITV’s daytime programme as “human bear-baiting.” It’s almost like watching a real-life Hunger Games unfold on screen. Past producers have revealed crew members would provoke guests behind-the-scenes—they wanted to make sure that the guests brought entertainment, drama, and emotion to the stage when cameras rolled.
It was apparent that The Jeremy Kyle Show and its producers were only concerned with what we would consider viral content. The rumours and claims they came up with didn't even necessarily have to be true as long as it got people talking and engaged with the show. Their concern for the wellbeing of their guests or rather lack of, was also concerning.
The resulting emotional trauma recurring and even one time guests go through after appearing on the show is a testament to how tasteless and degrading the show was capable of being. And despite ITV's "significant and detailed duty of care processes in place" it seems as though these processes are not enough to ensure the mental well-being and safety of their contestants.
Love Island is a British dating reality program that aired in 2015 staring guests who apply for the show who are part of the general public. Recently participants from both programs testified to member's of parliament about the working conditions of the programs as well as the state of their after-care programs.
The recent death of Steve Dymond on The Jeremy Kyle Show had truly enlightened viewers on how debilitating the show was. From staged reality to emotional turmoil just this one incident was enough to cancel the show. Love Island has also seen a couple of their ex-stars pass from Mike Thalassitis and Shopie Gradon, with some starts mentioning that they've barely been contacted by the producers to check in and see how they were coping with the losses and their own lives.