ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall has confirmed that only six of the 36 Love Island contestants from series five came through the general application process, with the majority having been scouted by the show’s casting team.
Applications for the next series are expected to open very soon (it returns in less than six months, after all), but the stats don’t work in favour of the average punter.
“On series five of Love Island to date (15th July), there have been 36 contributors,” McCall said in written evidence presented to MPs on the digital, culture, media and sport committee who are currently investigating reality TV.
“Twenty-four were found and cast by the programme’s casting team, six were put forward by professional agents and six came through the general application process.”
This is confirmation of what we already know: that the series favours contestants who already have a significant social media following, and a career in the public eye. Many of the contestants in series five – including boxer Tommy Fury, TV dancer Curtis Pritchard and YouTuber Molly-Mae Hague – would already have been considered “influencers” or low-level celebrities before they entered the villa.
McCall also attested that the casting directors are not given instructions about physical appearance when searching for contestants.
“We get about 98,000 applications for Love Island, they then take that down to about 90 to 100 as soon as they get a call back – at that stage they go through medical questionnaires, psychological questionnaires, assessments, that then goes down to about 30 or 40 who get selected to appear on Love Island,” she said.
“It’s a very rigorous process of screening that goes on before they actually get on to Love Island.”
Love Island will return in early 2020