ITV Blames talkbackThames for Failing to Discover Contestant's Assault Conviction

"Red or Black"
Courtesy of ITV Studios Global Entertainment

Controversy has already struck Simon Cowell's new game show after a former criminal walked away with a £1 million jackpot on the first broadcast. But the "X Factor" creator is betting his gambling format will be on the air in 20 countries, including the U.S., within 12 months.

It has emerged that Aaron Withers, a contestant on dating show “Take Me Out,” was convicted last year for attacking a woman.

LONDON – ITV has blamed production company talkbackThames after it emerged that a contestant on its Saturday night dating show has a criminal conviction for assault.

The broadcaster has been left embarrassed after it emerged that Aaron Withers, who appeared on dating show Take Me Out, ­had been found guilty of attacking a woman and her boyfriend in a pub in last year.

The revelation comes just four months after the network had to apologize when the million pound prize-winner on Red Or Black, the Simon Cowell-produced ITV gameshow, was found to have served jail time for a brutal attack, also on a woman.

Cowell publicly criticized the decision to let the winner keep the prize money.

“We are disappointed that this contestant’s record was not picked up as part of the background checks carried out by talkbackThames, the producers of Take Me Out, a spokesperson for ITV said Tuesday.

We have asked talkbackThames to carry out an immediate review of their procedures in this show.”

A spokesperson for the Fremantle-owned production company, which also co-produces Britain’s Got Talent, said that talkbackThames would be looking at its own procedures.

“During the application process we ask contestants to declare any convictions and background checks are carried out on each individual, in line with industry practice. Aaron’s criminal record did not come to light.  We will be reviewing procedures going forward.”