Looks like ITV may be forced to cancel this year’s Love Island due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The reality TV contest has been filmed in Mallorca over June and July annually since 2015, but ITV is now questioning whether a shoot will go ahead this year.
“Will Mallorca open its doors to hundreds of production people arriving? Will there have to be a quarantine? We have to factor all that in,” ITV's director of television Kevin Lygo said during a virtual Edinburgh TV festival panel.
“Also, what signal might it be sending out if we’re doing a show where everyone is crammed together, slobbering over each other and the rest of the world is told, ‘Don’t go near anyone in the park.’ I’m a bit uneasy about that.”
He added that ITV would “make a decision in the proper way quite soon” but “it affects a lot of people and there’s a big commercial impact for us.”
Lygo also said that while the team had considered moving the show to Cornwall, he doubted a UK-based series would work. “I don’t think making it in the UK would be the same show,” he said. “We don’t want to not make the same show we have made because it’s been so successful.”
Last summer’s edition of Love Island was the show’s best performing series to date, averaging 4.3 million viewers (an audience share of 19%) on ITV2, which increased to 5.6 million with on-demand viewing.
ITV has yet to reveal how the virus could affect some other of their big reality shows, with production on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! (usually airing in November) threatened.
If these shows are cut, the broadcaster can expect a financial blow. As Lygo also stated, advertising on ITV has already been “severely hit” by COVID-19, with ad revenue for April and May “really shaky”.
He highlighted that ITV Studios has been particularly hit by the pandemic, with around 80% of all work suspended.
“But we’re a big strong company with big pockets and resources and credit all over the place,” Lygo added. “We can ride this for a while.”
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