Do viewers think ‘TV manipulates results’?

Seven in ten Brits believe some of the UK’s most loved TV shows are fixed research has found.

Simon Cowell oversees The X Factor on ITV. The show that looks for the best singing talent across the UK.

The findings suggest, in the mind of some viewers, the nation’s two biggest talent competitions are most likely to manipulate the results, according to a new survey. Of course Ofcom is there to make sure these things don’t happen, and its unlikely any television production these days would involve itself in underhand activity – following the fall from grace of GMTV a decade ago with their phone-in scandals – however some viewers just aren’t convinced.

When asked about popular British TV series including Big Brother, Love Island and Dancing on Ice, just 31% of respondents were confident that all of the quiz shows and reality programmes in question were fair.

The recently commissioned research by PlayOJO, which is challenging the UK online casino market by being fair and transparent, found that the X Factor was rated as most likely to be fixed, with 40% questioning its fairness.

ITV’s Dancing On Ice made a comeback earlier this year

And, in a further lack of faith in the nation’s most popular TV talent shows, Britain’s Got Talent – which returned to screens on Saturday 14th April – was thought to be fixed by 37% of buzzed-off Brits.

The wide-ranging research, which investigated perceptions of fairness across a number of aspects of British society, found that Strictly Come Dancing – a major rival to Cowell’s X Factor – is seen in a much better light, with just 20% of respondents thinking BBC bosses ‘swing’ the results.

Despite a recent online storm where some viewers claimed the clock was fixed against the competitors, the legitimacy of The Chase was only doubted by 14% of the British public. Ben Shephard’s Tipping Point was even more trusted, with just 11% of respondents claiming the questions or slot machine are fixed.

Considering public votes, favourable edits, and ‘cherry-picking’ by producers, the 10 most likely TV shows that could be rigged, according to Brits are:

  • X Factor – 40% thought that the show was ‘fixed in some way’
  • Britain’s Got Talent – 37%
  • Big Brother – 36%
  • I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! – 27%
  • Love Island – 21%
  • The Apprentice – 20%
  • Dancing on Ice – 20%
  • Strictly Come Dancing – 20%
  • The Chase – 14%
  • Tipping Point – 11%

Strictly Come Dancing sees its phone votes help raise money for charity

Londoners were found to be the most sceptical of British television talent and quiz shows – 78% thought that at least one UK television series was rigged. Viewers in the South West were most trusting, with 37% having faith that none of the shows were fixed in any way.

 “We are challenging the UK online casino industry by being honest and transparent and we are interested in understanding how fair the UK public thinks other industries and aspects of British society are. While we would never question the legitimacy of any of these programmes, it is interesting to see how many people actually think that some of these shows are unfair in some way.” – A spokesman for PlayOJO

No television broadcaster in the UK would actively rig a production. Mistakes over competition phone-ins a decade ago made practices even more rigorous across all broadcasters to make sure talent and game shows are not ‘fixed’.

Big Brother airs on Channel 5
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