ITV Programs Boss Urges People Not To Rush To “Hasty Judgement” Before Phillip Schofield Review Is Published – Edinburgh TV Festival08/26/2023
ITV programs boss Kevin Lygo has urged no “hasty judgement” before the independent report into Phillip Schofield is published, citing “enormous pressure from press and social media.”
The independent probe into the disgraced This Morning host will likely be published next month, the exec confirmed today at the Edinburgh TV Festival.
The commercial broadcaster drafted in Jane Mulcahy KC to examine the facts around Schofield’s relationship with a much younger runner in late May.
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Lygo said Mulcahy has been “talking to everyone involved, taking our phones and looking at every text we’ve sent, including emails and WhatsApps,” as he joked: “I’m sure nothing relevant to this inquiry will be revealed [by my WhatsApps].”
Lygo confirmed the report will most likely be published at the end of next month and urged calm until then.
“The most important thing is to get facts and truth, not a hasty judgement,” he added. “There is an enormous pressure these days from the press and social media saying ‘you’ve got to decide’ and ‘why didn’t you fire him?,’ and you just think ‘well hang on a minute we don’t know what the truth is yet.’.”
Lygo said the network will “act accordingly” once Mulcahy has revealed the outcome.
Schofield resigned in disgrace in May after admitting the affair, which had gone on for several years. ITV CEO Carolyn McCall has previously claimed “no evidence” was provided about their affair but, speaking today at Edinburgh, Avalon boss Jon Thoday said he was “surprised” that the network’s head honchos weren’t aware.
The Schofield affair was revealed around the time ITV was rapping TV chef James Martin after a bullying complaint on his latest show, while the BBC has also been mired in scandal due to the Huw Edwards debacle.
Some have suggested a cross-broadcaster initiative to police presenter behavior but Lygo said these initatives “tend to get bogged down.”
“We have guidelines for producers and it’s outlined what we expect from them in this area so trust me we take it incredibly seriously,” he added. When Deadline revealed the Martin complaint, ITV was unable to say whether the TV chef had broken the network’s supplier code of conduct.
Speaking a year after the launch of ITV’s new streamer ITVX, Lygo predicted “one day ITVX will be the way that all ITV is consumed” as he said the network is still playing around with linear and VoD windowing, which is seeing some dramas given permieres on ITVX six months before main channel. The comments chimed with Director General Tim Davie’s set piece last year, in which he said the BBC will have “fewer linear broadcast services” in the next decade as it “consolidates activity under one simple, single brand.”
“We are trying all sorts of [windowing] combos,” added Lygo. “We’re learning what works best but still need to remember our majority audience is main channel.”
With the cost-of-living crisis still biting and advertising on a downturn, Lygo said ITV will not be dropping its program budget and will continue ploughing money into ITVX.
“I hear Channel 4 shut the gates or something but we are not doing that,” he added, referencing rival Channel 4’s decision to institute a commissioning slowdown.
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