French media regulator the CSA has initiated a joint consultation with the country’s channels on reality shows following the deaths of two people involved in the making of TF1’s Koh-Lanta, the local version of Survivor.
The move follows the death of 25 year-old contestant Gérald Babin, who suffered a heart attack while completing one of the challenges on the show, and the subsequent death of the show’s doctor, Thierry Costa, who left a suicide note that referred to criticism and media pressure following Babin’s death.
CSA president Olivier Schrameck has charged Françoise Laborde and Francine Mariani-Ducray, who co-chair a committee that looks at the evolution of programming, to lead the consultation over the next few weeks with a particular focus on whether such shows respect human dignity and offer sufficient protection for young people and minors.
The CSA said the consultation, which will take care not to interfere with ongoing legal enquiries, could lead to a re-examination of rules and the creation of a new voluntary code of practice that producers and distributors could sign up to.
Reality shows have been hit with a series of deaths in past weeks. Besides the TF1 tragedies, US channel MTV was recently forced to suspend filming its series Buckwild after Shain Gandee died of carbon monoxide poisoning along with two others.