- South Africa is getting a local version of the popular dating competition show Love Island.
- Love Island SA will premiere on M-Net (DStv 101) from late-February 2021.
- This will be the 20th localised version of the format owned by ITV Studios.
Get ready for local Love Island lust and likely sex scandals: South Africa is getting its own version of the reality TV series, with Love Island South Africa that is coming to M-Net (DStv 101) from late-February 2021.
It started looking increasingly likely that M-Net would commit to and do a local South African version after broadcasting seasons of the British and American versions of Love Island over the past two years. On Thursday night M-Net told Channel24 that the channel is doing Love Island SA in 2021 after picking up the licensing rights to a local version.
M-Net has not yet done a call to entry but will soon be looking for energetic, beautiful young people willing to go and live, play, compete and possibly find love in a Cape Town villa as they try to remain a competitive couple despite newcomer seductions.
M-Net often tests the waters in terms of ratings and audience reception by first showing overseas versions of reality series like The Voice, MasterChef and others before the pay-TV channel commits to doing a localised version of a TV reality format.
In Love Island, a selection of beautiful young people who are not in existing relationships – often competing with as little clothing as possible – are put together in a mansion in a beautiful locale.
They are paired up, while viewers vote. Slowly new men and women are introduced to try and break up the existing pairings, while contestants who end up not being in a couple are eliminated from the show. The most popular couple at the end wins the prize.
M-Net acquired and aired a season of the British Love Island in 2018, again in 2019 on weeknights and followed it up with a season of the American version of the show, Love Island USA. The channel then broadcast the 6th season of the British Love Island since mid-April this year that was filmed at the beginning of 2020 in Constantia, Cape Town with presenter Laura Whitmore.
Besides the British version, Amazon Studios also filmed the French version, Love Island: France this year in Cape Town, South Africa. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, production on the season abruptly ended in mid-March with an online finale.
Rapid Blue, responsible for The Bachelor SA and currently filming the first season of The Bachelorette SA who produced the overseas versions of Love Island in South Africa will be producing the South African version for M-Net.
Love Island SA will be the 20th localised version of the Love Island format that is owned by ITV Studios and Motion Content Group and distributed internationally by ITV Studios.
Maarten Meijs, ITV Studios president of global entertainment, in a statement says: "The multi-channel phenomenon is having a fantastic year, travelling the world at a rapid pace. This is the second version on the African continent, following the Nigerian acquisition earlier this year, and we can't wait to see how this local adaptation will find its way to the South African viewers."
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In October 2019, Channel24 asked M-Net why it decided to acquire and slot Love Island on the blue-chip channel and whether the VUZU channel, also programmed by M-Net for MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV service, wouldn't have been a better fit.
"We've noticed that with Love Island on M-Net, even though we think that nobody's watching it, Love Island tripled M-Net's ratings in that timeslot in live viewership," said Tracy-Ann van Rooyen, M-Net's head of acquisitions and scheduling.
"So, Love Island has a place – maybe not for everyone, but definitely attracting a different audience and M-Net's premise is to bring the best of the best. Right now, as far as formats are concerned, in over 53 countries worldwide Love Island is it. There was a lot of debate internationally of 'Is it too this? Is it too that?' but the fact of the matter is that Love Island is bringing people to M-Net, they're sitting together and watching it."
Kaye-Ann Williams, M-Net's head of local content and independent films said: "The interesting thing about Love Island is that it's attracting a younger viewership at that time. So, the main audience it attracts is between 24 and 39 years old. It's a big group."