Belfast Telegraph

Love Island winter series launch sees drop in viewers

The show opened with a healthy dose of drama on Sunday night, with the islanders in Cape Town, South Africa.

Love Island is hosted by Laura Whitmore (Ian West/PA)
Love Island is hosted by Laura Whitmore (Ian West/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Love Island’s viewing figures have taken a hit for the first time in the show’s history.

The launch episode of the new series of the ITV2 reality show, the first time the show has aired in the winter, was watched by an average of 2.5 million viewers on Sunday night, according to overnight ratings.

The equivalent episode in the summer 2019 series was watched by an average of 3.3 million, showing a decrease of nearly one million viewers.

Since the dating programme was revived in 2015, overnight ratings for the series opener have increased every year.

The first series started with just over half a million viewers in the overnight ratings, the second series in 2016 had 825,000, the third series in 2017 had 1.3 million, and the fourth series in 2018 went up to 2.9 million.

The programme, which aired from 9pm until 10.35pm, peaked at 2.9 million viewers, and overall drew 1.2 million viewers in the 16-34 age bracket, ITV said.

Despite the dip in viewers, the Love Island launch show audience did show a year-on-year growth of more than five times the ITV2 schedule slot average, and was up by 2.1 million viewers.

Love Island returned with a new host in Laura Whitmore, who took over from regular presenter Caroline Flack after she stepped down following an assault charge.

The programme had a healthy dose of drama as the newly-formed couples were told a pair of newcomers would shake up their budding romances at the end of the episode.

The episode saw the 10 contestants pairing up for the first time and spending the day getting to know their new “partners”.

Later in the show, identical twins Eve and Jess Gale turned up at the villa, leaving the other islanders shocked.

The new series is being held in Cape Town, South Africa, and will see the winning couple in with a chance of pocketing £50,000.

Love Island continues on ITV2.

PA

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