UK commercial broadcaster ITV has cancelled its ratings juggernaut Love Island after being unable to find a way to produce the show without contravening Covid-19 restrictions.
ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo, who admitted last week that the return of the hit UK reality show was unlikely to go ahead because of problems maintaining social distancing, confirmed the decision this morning.
“We have tried every which way to make Love Island this summer but logistically it’s just not possible to produce it in a way that safeguards the well-being of everyone involved and that for us is the priority,” Lygo said.
“In normal circumstances we would be preparing very soon to travel out to the location in Mallorca to get the villa ready but clearly that’s now out of the question. We are very sorry for fans of the show but making it safely is our prime concern and Love Island will be back stronger than ever in 2021. In the meantime Love Island fans can still enjoy all six series of Love Island on BritBox.”
Casting had already begun on the show, which is produced by ITV Studios Entertainment and Motion Content Group, but Lygo conceded last week that ensuring producers and cast could travel to the Spanish island of Mallorca, where the show is shot, looked increasingly unfeasible.
He also questioned the message being sent out if the show had gone ahead. “What signal might it send out if everyone there is slathering all over each other, while elsewhere people are being told not to go into the park?” he said last week.
Lygo admitted the decision would have “a big commercial impact” on the broadcaster, which has been hit hard by the advertising slump caused by Covid-19. Love Island has become a key fixture for ITV and was extended to run twice a year last summer.
The show and its broadcaster have, however, faced criticism for failing to support those working on the programme, after host Caroline Flack and two former contestants reportedly committed suicide. ITV subsequently revamped its aftercare support for those working on the series.
Love Island host Laura Whitmore, who replaced Flack for the Winter Love Island earlier this year, said: “Like with a lot of things because of restrictions with travel, social distancing and unable to plan ahead, Love Island is postponed until 2021.”
The future of fellow ITV reality show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, which airs in winter, is also unclear but Lygo said it was proceeding “in the normal way” at present.