ITV boss Kevin Lygo has denied Love Island has “peaked” but said producers face the challenge of trying to “spice it up a bit” for future series.
Some 2.8 million people tuned in to watch Liam Reardon and Millie Court be crowned winners of the 2021 series this week, down 22% on the ratings of the finale of the last summer series in 2019.
Asked if the best days of the show are behind it, ITV’s director of television told the Edinburgh TV Festival: “I don’t think it has peaked, I think this is a pattern that you see when new programmes come along and they are huge phenomenons.
“On catch-up it’s certainly the best performing series ever, the overnights are still really strong, most nights it’s the most watched show at 9pm anywhere. That alone is quite a success.
“I think it’s all in the catch-up now, which is done quite quickly because there is another episode coming tomorrow.
“Who would think you could invent a programme that runs for eight weeks every single night at 9pm and kind of takes in more viewers than anything, particularly younger viewers which are the hardest to find now.
“There are many years left in it and I think the challenge thrown down to producers, and let’s give them a bit of credit, through a pandemic they managed to make a show every single night, is to make some subtle change to spice it up a bit and make it as fresh as you can.”
ITV recently released the voting statistics for the final, showing the winners secured 42% of the vote, followed by runners-up Chloe Burrows and Toby Aromolaran, who secured 31%.
Faye Winter and Teddy Soares landed 15% and Kaz Kamwi and Tyler Cruickshank won 12%.
A row between Faye and Teddy earlier in the series provoked almost 25,000 complaints to Ofcom.
Some 24,763 people complained to the watchdog about the episode on August 6 which featured Faye’s lengthy, expletive-laden outburst at Teddy after the islanders were played a clip of him telling Clarisse Juliette that he was attracted to her.
Asked if he agreed that ITV overstepped the mark with the episode, Lygo said: “No, the thing about complaints these days is every week there is a new most-complained-about show.
“It’s very easy now to complain, it wasn’t so long ago you had to go to the post office and get a stamp and write a letter, now it’s the click of a button.
“You have got to take them at face value and I’m not so worried about how many complain as what they are complaining about and have they got a point and did we overstep the mark or did we not, whether it’s 10 people complaining or 10,0000.
“With duty of care, I think improvements across the board have been made and we are the gold standard, Ofcom took our recommendations and made them what should be done.
“The ratings go up when there is a bit of conflict and it is an area where you have to take a bit of editorial judgment.
“I think generally speaking they get the tone right, people do shout at other people, as long as it’s not physically threatening, it’s not too inflammatory, it’s okay. But for some people it might have stepped too far.”
Lygo also addressed the prospect of same-sex couples on the show, and said: “Love Island is a particular thing, it’s about boys and girls coupling up so if you want to do a gay version, or widen it, it is discussed and we haven’t yet found a way that would make it suitable for that show.”
Discussing other ITV shows, Lygo also addressed who might replace Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, saying: “It’s a very difficult act to follow and what we are doing at the moment is having a range of people.
“We have Susanna (Reid) who is doing a lynchpin job of it all, and we are trying out different people next to her.
It’s not everybody that comes on is ‘are they going to take over from Piers… we have had all sorts of different people sitting next to Susanna and we are just looking to see what the best thing is.”
Asked if I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! could be permanently relocated from Australia to Wales, Lygo said: “I think it’s extraordinary they could pull together that show in Wales.
“We would like to go back to the jungle and we will next year, if everything allows it, but Wales is a wonderful second thing to do.”