British broadcaster ITV is looking to build on the summer success of surf-and-sex show “Love Island” with “Celebrity Showmance”, in which pairs of celebrities use social media to try to fool the public into believing they are an item.
The show features six celebrities who form three unlikely couples and then set out to get as much attention as possible from unwitting members of the public on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. The faux couple that gets the most “likes” wins the show. Keshet U.K. is making “Celebrity Showmance,” which was created by its creative director David Williams, and ITV will launch the show in a primetime slot on its ITV2 channel next month.
Pop-star-turned-eco-warrior Abz and Chloe Sims, one of the stars of reality series “The Only Way Is Essex,” form one couple; socialite Lady Victoria Hervey and footballer Jamie O’Hara form another. The third pairing is of Hayley Hasselhoff, the daughter of “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff, and Kyle Christie of “Geordie Shore,” the British version of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
The fake relationships took place earlier this year and ITV2 viewers will see how they played out. The celebrity match-ups successfully stoked stories in U.K. tabloids and gossip magazines, and speculation that the relationships are fake.
Rapper, comedian, and actor Doc Brown narrates the series and gives the couples humorous challenges in each installment that result in a photo or video that the celebs then put out on social media. The tasks cover the classic stages of a celebrity romance, from an initial “we’re not dating” phase, through a honeymoon period, and, finally, an explosive breakup, all played out in public and on social media. The celebrities must pull off fake photo-ops and other stunts to maximize their exposure.
While the show is part of the “fake news” zeitgeist, it will be played for laughs and is not intended as serious social commentary.
ITV had the surprise success of the summer on ITV2 with “Love Island.” A reality dating series, the show found a summer audience seeking an alternative to heavy drama and world events. ITV’s bosses are now pushing to launch the series in other territories.
Keshet International is expected to launch “Celebrity Showmance” internationally at Mipcom, by which time the first episode will have aired on ITV2.