The Jeremy Kyle Show used Facebook to target guests who wanted to take lie detector or DNA tests, according to written evidence submitted to MPs.
In a letter to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), which has launched an inquiry into reality TV, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said Facebook was used by the production team to post requests for people to contact the show.
She wrote: “Other than aiming these ‘calls to action’ at our viewers and fans of the show, generally we did not target particular individuals, although some did specify people looking to take lie detector or DNA tests.”
McCall said the show used the company UK Lie Tests to carry out lie detector assessments and that it has told ITV its accuracy rate is above 90%.
She added guests have always been advised that the tests cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Asked if there had ever been an incident where a participant had failed a lie detector test and then it was subsequently proven to be wrong, McCall said she was only aware of one such incident and the episode was not transmitted again.
Damian Collins, chairman of the DCMS Committee, said: “From the outset, our inquiry has been concerned that reality TV exploits people at a vulnerable point in their lives in order to maximise ratings.
“ITV has confirmed that in some instances The Jeremy Kyle Show used Facebook ads to find individuals who wanted to take lie detector or DNA tests.
“It is particularly concerning that the production team appeared to be specifically targeting people who were hoping to resolve a difficult personal situation. We’ve asked for copies of the adverts from ITV.
“Our inquiry is considering how well-prepared people like this would have been to cope with having their private lives exposed on a public stage and what mechanisms were in place to support them.
“That’s why we are speaking to Dwayne Davison, a former contestant on The Jeremy Kyle Show, whose direct experience is very concerning. He will be amongst other former reality TV guests who have been asked to share their experiences with the committee in the autumn.”
In May, ITV announced The Jeremy Kyle Show was to end permanently following the death of a guest.
The confrontational talk show was suspended and then axed following the death of a participant, Steve Dymond, a week after a programme featuring him was filmed.
The programme had been a regular fixture in the TV schedule since 2005.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?