Foxy Bingo, the online bingo operator, is to sponsor the Jeremy Kyle Show on ITV in a £1m deal, starting on February 14. The Cashcade-owned brand replaces Learndirect, after the Government-funded agency axed its sponsorship of the show amid controversy surrounding the programme in September last year.
Idents have been created by Biscuit Films, featuring the “Foxy” character – a man with a fox’s head – being interviewed in a documentary style, answering questions using references to well-known bingo numbers, which appear on the screen. Foxy is appearing on his own in all promotional material after Jordan, aka Katie Price, was dropped as the face of Foxy Bingo last month. It is understood Cashcade was unwilling to meet her proposed fee (MW 17 January).
Learndirect cancelled its £500,000 deal after Tory MP David Davies wrote to John Denman, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, protesting about the the use of public money to sponsor the show. Davies’ complaint came as the programme was branded “a form of human bear-baiting” by a Manchester District Judge as he sentenced a man who had head-butted a love-rival in front of Kyle’s studio audience.
COI, which arranged the deal on behalf of Ufi-operated Learndirect, issued a statement at the time saying sponsorship of the show “would not protect and enhance the reputation” of Learndirect and it was “no longer appropriate” for it to be associated with the programme.