ITV bosses are working round the clock to fill the slot left by the axed Jeremy Kyle Show.
The five-times-a-week series, cancelled after contestant Steve Dymond was found dead following a failed lie detector test, was the network’s most popular daytime show, regularly pulling in more than a million viewers.
ITV is also locked in talks on how to protect other “crown jewel” reality offerings such as Love Island, which has also been hit by the tragic deaths of contestants.
If it cannot create a Kyle replacement quickly, it may extend current shows such as Lorraine and This Morning.
This would, however, be only a stop-gap measure. A TV source said: “David Dickinson’s Real Deal is on at the moment in Kyle’s place but is struggling for ratings.
“The slot needs to be filled by something that involves the audience or the public.
“There are lots of meetings and plans being drawn up.”
ITV boss Carolyn McCall is also aware of the huge revenue Love Island brings in and is desperate to ensure its survival.
It means controversial elements designed to cause conflict will be toned down or axed to reduce the prospect of contestants feeling distress.
Sophie Gradon, 32, who was in the second series, was found dead last year and Mike Thalassitis, 26, who was in the third series, was found hanged in March.
Viewers also complained of “emotional cruelty” to Dani Dyer , 23.
Friends say Mr Dymond, 63, was driven to suicide when Kyle’s lie detector showed he had cheated on his fiancee.
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