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U.K. TV Hit ‘Love Island’ Bows Out on a High; International Versions Tee Up

British summer TV hit “Love Island” and its blend of sun, surf, and sex went out on a high Monday night as international broadcasters ready the first local versions of the show.

The series has singletons pairing off in a paradise setting and has proved a big hit for ITV2 in the U.K., which has commissioned a new season for 2018. Monday night’s finale pulled in 2.6 million viewers, the free-to-air channel’s biggest-ever audience.

It was the third season of the reality show in its current form – in an earlier incarnation it had focused on celebrities – and international channels are looking at the format off the back of this year’s success.

In Germany, RTL will launch its version of the format in September, and ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which sells the show, expects to seal other deals before Mipcom gets underway in October.

The format has contestants living in a villa in Majorca and pairing off for love, and a shot at a £50,000 ($65,000) cash prize. The couples change during the series, and singletons and those not popular with the public are eliminated.

On ITV2, the series finale won a 52% share of 16-to-24s, making it the second-most-viewed program of the year for that demographic, trailing only the One Love Manchester benefit concert in May.

In Britain, the series became one of the most-hyped shows of the summer, with excellent ratings and traction in the press and on social media. Critics warmed to the show, which many said won viewers because of its irreverent tone and as fun, escapist summer viewing.

Off the back of the success of the latest season, ITV said it had recommissioned the show for 2018. Head of digital channels and acquisitions Paul Mortimer said: “Now established as the perfect series to start the summer, we’re delighted to be bringing the show back for our young adult audience in 2018.”

ITV Studios created the format and produces the show with Motion Content Group. Season 3 averaged 1.7 million viewers across its run.

“We are delighted that viewers have embraced Love Island so wholeheartedly,” ITV Studios’ creative director for entertainment Richard Cowles said.

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