When the new series of Love Island begins next month, it is set to be the most closely-scrutinised reality show yet.
A dummer smash for ITV2, the dating show has been overshadowed by the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
Both struggled with the consequences of the instant fame, amplified by social media, thrust upon them by the show. It has been reported that both died by suicide.
Viewers yesterday asked why ‘cash cow’ Love Island was returning for its fifth series, despite the deaths, whilst The Jeremy Kyle Show had been summarily axed.
ITV said it had reviewed the aftercare it provides to Love Island contestants. Instead of relying on participants to ask for support, counsellors will “proactively check in with them on a regular basis”.
A selection of models and social media influencers have already been identified to enter the “luxury villa” populated by “vibrant singles”.
Producers say this year’s candidates have undergone a rigorous examination designed to uncover any mental health issues which could rule them out of the show.
A lie detector task is likely to be axed in light of the circumstances surrounding the death of The Jeremy Kyle Show guest Steve Dymond.
However, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall has said the broadcaster cannot keep up the after care of Love Island contestants “indefinitely”.
Mr Dymond, 63, died a week after filming for a episode of the morning show, which ITV announced this morning was being permanently axed.
Axing the Kyle format looks set to bring to a close an era of programmes exploiting “poverty porn” in a “theatre of cruelty” environment.
Described by a judge as a form of “human bearbaiting”, the ITV series was the most visible example of the genre.
Channel 5 has built a micro-industry around programmes such as Benefits Britain: Life on the Dole .
Accused of inviting viewers to sneer at the misery of the less fortunate, programmes like Benefits Street made stars of figures like White Dee, who defended Kyle, saying she had been treated with “respect” on his programme.