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ITV CHIEF: CASH ROW CALLS WILL BE BACK; Grade's pledge as profits plummet.

Byline: By Daniel Bentley

ITV boss Michael Grade yesterday promised the channel's controversial premium rate phone-ins would return.

He gave his pledge as the telly giants revealed an eight per cent slump in advertising cash had slashed profits - down pounds 23million to pounds 288million.

Bosses said the suspension of the interactive services on Monday was a temporary measure while they reviewed their systems amid the row over TV phone-ins.

Grade said: "What has happened is the internal regulations, external regulations haven't kept pace with the speed of growth, so we decided to call time out, examine our systems - trust is the most important thing."

And he promised: "The premium phone bits on programmes will come back, with the public reassured we have examined it and our compliance procedures are immaculate."

The review was launched after it emerged ITV overcharged X Factor viewers pounds 200,000 in a phone-in vote blunder.

Other programmes affected include This Morning and Loose Women which both feature phone-in competitions.

But Grade said: "I'm not ashamed of anything we do, I'm not ashamed of the fact that viewers enjoy participating in programmes.

"It's part of the staple our viewers enjoy. We must make sure that we manage the systems properly."

Grade also promised to "rediscover" ITV's creative edge after admitting the company's programming had been driven by fear of falling ratings.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 8, 2007
Words:234
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