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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 18:18 GMT
ITV vows to continue phone votes
ITV drama Rock Rivals
Forthcoming drama series Rock Rivals includes phone-in elements
Broadcaster ITV has defended its use of phone-ins, despite recent scandals over shows like Saturday Night Takeaway.

"I don't think we should turn the clock back," said the company's director of television, Simon Shaps.

He was speaking at the launch of ITV1's winter schedule, which includes Rock Rivals - a drama where viewers can vote on the outcome of the plot.

Last month, an independent report found ITV viewers had spent millions of pounds on uncounted votes.

Auditors found "serious editorial issues" with shows like Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, Gameshow Marathon and Soapstar Superstar.

'Modern'

ITV is estimated to be facing an 18 million bill in the wake of the report.

But Mr Shaps stood firm on the company's continued use of phone participation.

"It's a fantastic form of television, a modern form of television," he said.

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly
Ant and Dec apologised for errors on their shows
However, he added: "Our first job is to make absolutely certain that when viewers vote, the outcome reflects what viewers voted for."

He also defended ITV chairman Michael Grade's decision not to sack TV bosses following the publication of the ITV report.

"Michael has drawn a line under the incidents we have seen. It's now very clear that we have got to get our house in order. Those mistakes or errors will not be tolerated again."

Soap show

Rock Rivals was originally announced in the summer - before the audit of ITV's shows.

It stars Michelle Collins and Sean Gallagher as a bickering husband and wife who both sit on the judging panel of an X Factor-style talent show.

Viewers will not be charged at premium rates to vote on the outcome of the drama, which is due to hit TV screens in early 2008.

Other shows announced for ITV's winter schedule included time-travelling drama Lost in Austen, Midnight Man, starring James Nesbitt, and the return of Stephen Fry in Kingdom.

Connie Fisher, who won the BBC's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? last year takes the lead role in Caught in a Trap - about an obsessive Elvis Presley fan.

Jason Donovan and Martine McCutcheon star in Moving Wallpaper, a fictional drama about the making of a soap opera Echo Beach, which will also be shown on the network.



SEE ALSO
Ant and Dec profits go to charity
20 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
GMTV hit with 2m phone-in fine
26 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Police may probe ITV's phone-ins
19 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
At a glance: Shows in TV scandal
05 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
Viewers to choose in talent drama
20 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Actor Donovan cast in ITV1 soap
26 Jun 07 |  Entertainment

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