After nearly 15 years, the popular British daytime TV series The Jeremy Kyle Show has been canceled by ITV. The decision comes after the death of a guest who recently filmed an episode for the series where he failed a lie detector test trying to prove his faithfulness to his girlfriend. After shooting the unaired episode just a week prior, 63-year-old Steve Dymond was found dead on May 9. The police and ITV have not released any specific details on the circumstances of Dymond's death, though he reportedly committed suicide.
ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said in a statement.
"Given the gravity of recent events we have decided to end production of The Jeremy Kyle Show, Now is the right time for the show to end."
The Jeremy Kyle Show has been often referred to as the British version of Jerry Springer. Many episodes focused on the love lives of the guests, requiring many of them to take lie detector and paternity tests. As the host, Kyle is known for his confrontational style, often chastising his guests for failing. This has previously led to some backlash against the series as well, and there are many who feel the cancellation is overdue. Still, there are others who feel that the series is being made into a scapegoat and that the decision to cancel it was a mistake. Either way, the choice has been made, and Kyle's days of berating people on daytime television are over.
This is not the first controversy relating to The Jeremy Kyle Show to make headlines. After one guest head-butted another in 2007, he was fined $385. At the time, the presiding judge Alan Berg spoke harshly about the series, describing its purpose as a mission to "effect a morbid and depressing display of dysfunctional people whose lives are in turmoil." A year later, another man was alleged to have pointed a loaded gun at his wife's head days after filming a Jeremy Kyle Show episode. In that case, the man discovered through the use of a paternity test he was not the biological father of their child.
At least one similar tragedy has been tied to American daytime television shows as well. In 1995, The Jenny Jones Show filmed an episode called "Same Sex Secret Crushes" with fatal consequences. On the show, guest Scott Amedure revealed to his associate Jonathan Schmitz he secretly had a crush on him. With the studio audience watching, Schmitz emphatically stated he was "completely heterosexual" and seemed to laugh it off. However, Schmitz shot Amedure to death three days after the taping and was sent to prison for second degree murder. Amedure's family later successfully sued the series with a wrongful death lawsuit, but the decision was overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Schmitz has also since been paroled.
The Jeremy Kyle Show may be no more, but as for Kyle himself, he's not going to walk away from this unemployed. In her conference call, McCall said ITV will continue to work with Kyle on other projects. It remains to be seen what that will entail, but he surely won't be providing lie detector tests anymore. This information comes to us from The New York Times.