“Duty Of Care” TV Networks Warned Over The Psychological Damage Of Reality TV Shows

“Duty Of Care” TV Networks Warned Over The Psychological Damage Of Reality TV Shows

The free-to-airs have again been warned about the psychological and mental health impact their reality TV shows can have on participants.

According to reports on News Corp sites over the weekend, psychologist Dr Kate Baecher handed Nine bosses a report saying the broadcaster had a “duty of care” to the people that appeared on its shows such as Married At First Sight and Love Island.

One of Baecher’s recommendations was that Nine hire a consultant psychologist to monitor its occasionally wayward stars while also highlighting its lack of a risk management system or register.

However, B&T’s understanding is that Nine actually commissioned Dr Beacher to write the report following some very public and negative press surrounding MAFS contestants.

Beacher had previously consulted on shows such as 10’s The Bachelor and I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

Beacher’s report noted that Nine “has been proactive and forward thinking in its implementation of its duty of care responsibilities” and “largely met the requirements of Workplace Health and Safety legislation”.

A Nine spokesperson telling B&T that most of Beacher’s recommendations had already been implemented by the network.

“We have a robust system of support for all those who work with Nine. This includes regular reviews and evolution of processes depending on the needs of the specific programs,” the spokesperson said.

These controversial dating shows have been ratings winners for the networks in recent years, however, a number of contestants have come out claiming they’d been badly misrepresented on the show due to the production while many were unable to deal with the fleeting fame.

Another concern has been that contestants’ mental health isn’t better vetted before they’re allowed onto these programmes. Many unable to deal with the post-fame and the social media backlash that can come with it.

A UK study in 2019 found that a staggering 39 reality TV stars had suicided around the world following their appearances on shows such as Love Island and Big Brother.

The UK was rocked back in March 2019 when Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis hanged himself in a North London park.

In April, a star of Nine’s MAFS, Natasha Spencer, was rushed to Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital over mental health concerns.

Spencer had previously accused MAFS producers of editing her in a bad light which had led to vicious trolling on social media.

As an aside, at last week’s Upfronts Nine declared it would become less reliant on reality programming, namely due to the costs and the implications from COVID.

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