Love Island canceled for 2020 due to coronavirus
"I got a text!"
And the news isn't good.
Because if ever we all needed the mindless distraction of watching the Islanders navigate the hookup game show culture of Love Island, it's now.
But sadly, the U.K. sensation has been canceled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"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," ITV chief Kevin Lygo said in a statement Monday. "In normal circumstances, we would be preparing very soon to travel out to the location in Majorca 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."
According to U.K. reports, producers had planned to fly a group of contestants to the villa, test them for COVID-19, and isolate them all for two weeks and before filming started. "But even with these measures, insurance companies won’t offer cover. ITV can’t do the series without insurance," an "insider" reportedly said. "If the series is airing and even just one person tests positive for the virus, the whole thing would have to be shut down immediately."
This popular British version of the reality hit airs on Hulu here in the U.S.
CBS has a somewhat tamer U.S. version that is supposed to air sometime this summer. As of a couple of weeks ago, CBS still planned to move forward with their series. The ITV decision could be the first domino in a summer reality TV collapse that includes taking down both Love Island U.S. and (gulp) CBS' Big Brother. The fate of ABC's The Bachelorette is also up in the air. ABC reality chief Rob Mills told Variety that the network is looking for new locations where the entire cast and crew can be tested and isolated: “We’ve looked at everything — are travel restrictions going to ease up? And it just doesn’t look like anything is changing anytime soon, and what we would rather do is start getting the season underway, sooner rather than later. As of right now, the plan is to get a great location that has a ton of space where everybody could safely be together and we can still have great dates that still feel big and romantic, and we would shoot the entire season there.”
The British version also suffered a tragedy earlier this year when host Caroline Flack died by suicide two months after being arrested for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend and being forced to step down from hosting Love Island. Laura Whitmore has been since named as the show's new host.
For the uninitiated, Love Island is a show where sexy singles are holed up in a villa for weeks on end and compete to end up in couples. Here's a guide for watching the U.K. original.
UPDATE: CBS is delaying the premiere of Love Island. Originally season 2 was planned to debut May 21. The network is currently exploring location options for the show. CBS is still planning to air Love Island season 2 and Big Brother "when the time is right."