ITV has reviewed how it cares for contestants on its hit reality show “Love Island” and said it will now offer all participants therapy and train them in how to deal with social media. The broadcaster added that it will also proactively check in with those who have taken part in the reality series on a regular basis.
The review started six months ago, before the death of Mike Thalassitis, who was found hanged last weekend. Another former “Love Island” contestant, Sophie Gradon, has also been found dead after appearing on the show. Her boyfriend subsequently committed suicide.
A debate is now underway in the U.K. about the role of reality TV producers that goes beyond “Love Island” and covers how they ensure the welfare of participants on their shows. Several former stars of various unscripted series on different channels and from different producers have come forward to say they had been left to deal with problems alone after being on TV and that there is an industry-wide problem.
ITV had already defended how it cares for those in its breakout sun and fun reality hit “Love Island,” which has sold widely internationally and is being made in the U.S. for CBS. It has now issued a more detailed statement about its care plans and review.
“This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us,” ITV said. “And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management.
“The key focus will be for us to no longer be reliant on the Islanders asking us for support but for us to proactively check in with them on a regular basis.”
The broadcaster also said that while a period of soul searching was natural after the death of Thalassitis “it is not for us to speculate on the reasons behind this tragedy and what is so heartbreaking is that we simply cannot know.”
ITV claimed a lot of what has been said about the support and aftercare is incorrect. It spelled out in detail its processes for pre-filming, filming, and aftercare of “Love Island” contestants. These include speaking to participants’ doctors, with their permission, on-location medical teams and post-show briefings on the coverage they received while on the show.