Two TV Phone-In Shows Cleared of Impropriety As Probe Continues

14 March 2007

LONDON: Fallout from the British TV phone-in scandal continues to tarnish the industry, even though viewer contests in ITV's daytime talk-show This Morning and a number of late night quiz shows have been cleared to return on-air.

Also declared kosher is ITV Play channel, which is dedicated to phone-in challenges and scooped £20 million profit last year. It received a clean bill of health from independent audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

ITV's decision to suspend premium interactive services has reportedly cost it around £1.5 million ($2.89m; €2.19m) a week in lost income.

Exhaling as he spoke, an ITV spokesman said: "Deloitte [has] performed the first stage of [its] review of the interactive processes and procedures contained within ... programming on ITV1.

"On the basis of the information available, including Deloitte's findings, ITV is satisfied that both This Morning and ITV Play are being operated in accordance with the ICSTIS and Ofcom codes."

ICSTIS - which has oversight of the premium-rate telephone industry - is currently probing six TV shows over alleged phone-in scams involving quizzes and voting lines.

The programmes still under scrutiny are: Channel 4's Richard and Judy, the BBC's Saturday Kitchen and ITV's X Factor, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Soapstar Superstar and the misleadingly named I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff