Simon Cowell Show Boots Contestants After Background Checks

by | September 8, 2011 at 7:12 AM | TV News

Simon Cowell (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Simon Cowell (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)


By: Tim Kenneally

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – Crime doesn’t pay on Simon Cowell’s most recent game show. At least, not anymore, it doesn’t.

British network ITV, which broadcasts the Cowell-developed series “Red or Black?” confirmed to TheWrap that it has dropped three contestants, after it was discovered that the show’s first big winner had served time for assaulting a man.

Nathan Hageman, who won 1 million British pounds (roughly $1.6 million) on the series September 3, served 2 1/2 years for assaulting another man, British newspaper the Sun reports.

Hageman claims that the man he assaulted, an associate of an ex-girlfriend, had first threatened to beat him up in front of his mother and young niece. Out of frustration, Hageman says, he broke into the man’s house and beat him up.

“I was an idiot for doing it, I know,” Hageman admitted to the paper.

Hageman was allowed to keep his winnings, but in response to the publicity generated by Hagemen’s story, ITV has taken a second look at the current contestants’ background checks.

Apparently, ITV didn’t like what it found, because the network chose to have three competitors taken out of the game.

“ITV has reviewed the background checks on remaining contestants from ‘Red or Black?’” an ITV spokesperson said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “As a result of this we have asked producers to remove three contestants from this week’s shows. ‘Red or Black?’ will continue on these two occasions with seven, rather than eight, contestants.”

The casino-style game show, which premiered on September 3 and airs twice nightly, features contestants going through a series of rounds, guessing between red and black in order to advance to the next round. The final round features a giant roulette wheel that’s divided into red and black sections.

Despite the theme, it doesn’t sound like ITV is willing to gamble anymore when it comes to where they pull their contestants from.

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