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Anorak | Caller Beware – TV Quiz Show Scam

Caller Beware – TV Quiz Show Scam

by | 7th, March 2007

caller-beware-tv-quiz-show-scam.jpgCAN we be sure that Richard Hammond is the rightful holder of the title Digital Satellite Personality of the Year?

As the Star reports, for the second year running Hammond has collected his gong for outstanding achievement in a digital satellite arena.

Losers Ben Shephard and Jeff Stelling may like to launch an appeal. The Television and Radio Industries Club is a venerable institution dating back to pre-colour 1931, but the voting system for its awards service is less than transparent.

Just like the Oscars, viewers are not told who voted for the winners only who the winners are.

This leads to suggestions of skulduggery, cronyism and fixing.

But how else could it be organised? Should the people decide? And should they make their preferences known by phone?

And know that phone votes are problematic things. As the Sun’s front page says (“RIP OFF”), phone voting is rife with problems.

“We expose top shows whose vote phonelines were a farce,” says the Sun. And readers see such TV programmes as X Factor, I’m A Celebrity, Ant & Dec’s Takeaway and Soapstar Supestar.

“It’s chaos, thousands of votes go missing,” says another headline. “ALL BIG SHOWS INVOLVED.”

The whistleblower, who works at ITV’s quiz show operator Eckoh, tells the paper that computers recording the calls often crash. And when they go down the votes are not counted but the caller is still charged.

Says the grass: “Calls still come in thick and fast and viewers are charged at premium rates. But a lot of votes aren’t registered. All the big shows are affected.”

And it is claimed this has being going on for years, as far back as when Kerry Katona ‘won’ I’m A Celebrity in 2004.

ITV has been left with little option but to suspend its phoneline and interactive services.

And this is not all. Another grass, this time a former employee at Richard & Judy, tells us that her managers tried to rig the National Television Awards.

We learn that Cactus, which produces the teatime show, told its staff to spend half a day clicking on an online ballot.

“As far as we were aware no limit was placed on the number of votes that could be cast,” says a company spokesman. But there was a limit. And the caper was foiled.

But damage has been done. Careers have been influenced. How can we be certain that the aforesaid Katona really was our jungle queen? Is Coronation Street’s Antony Cotton the best soap actor/singer or was Neighbours’ Alan Fletcher robbed? Will Dancing On Ice, the pro-celebrity ice-dance show yet to conclude, be frozen in time?

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Posted: 7th, March 2007 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink