For a second consecutive night, ‘Love Island’ will not air on U.K. broadcaster ITV2 following the death of former host Caroline Flack, Variety has confirmed.
An ITV spokesman said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.”
“After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the ‘Love Island’ production team and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death, we have decided not to broadcast tonight’s ‘Love Island’ out of respect for Caroline’s family. ‘Love Island’ will return tomorrow night, which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”
ITV2 immediately pulled ‘Love Island’ from the schedule on Saturday night, after news broke of Flack’s death by suicide. Saturday’s ‘Unseen Bits’ episode is generally a collection of clips previously unaired during the week.
However, tonight’s episode of ‘Love Island’ would have picked up from Friday night and continued the show’s narrative, generally garnering more eyeballs for ITV2.
The fact that ITV has pulled the episode is a major statement from the broadcaster, which did not pull any episodes of the show following the March 2019 death of former contestant Mike Thalassitis.
ITV will, again, be scrutinized for its handling of Flack’s exit from the show in December.
The 40-year-old star was set to face trial on March 4, months after she was arrested and charged with assault in December following a domestic dispute with boyfriend Lewis Burton. Flack, who appeared in court in December, denied all allegations, but ITV was swift in replacing her for the show’s new winter edition.
The broadcaster has received widespread criticism in the past for its post-show care for contestants, who are often targets of widespread social media abuse. Following a major review, ITV revamped its protocols last year for those who appear on the show.
However, the broadcaster is already facing renewed calls for the show’s cancellation in the wake of Flack’s suicide, which marks the third death related to ‘Love Island’ in over two years.
The news sent shockwaves across the U.K., where she was one of the entertainment industry’s most recognizable figures, having hosted hit show “Love Island” since 2015. For many fans, she was synonymous with the program.
A Change.org petition set up mere hours after her death called on the U.K. government to launch an inquiry into British media coverage of public figures and has so far garnered close to 200,000 signatures.
British tabloids, such as The Sun, have found themselves in the crosshairs following Flack’s shocking death. The outlet is being targeted for negative coverage of the TV host in recent months, and it has deleted at least one article about Flack. The Sun posted a news piece as recently as Friday about a Valentine’s Day card mocking the presenter’s alleged assault of Burton, but that article is no longer available on its website.
Flack was replaced on “Love Island” by her close friend Laura Whitmore in December. In her BBC Radio 5 Live show on Sunday morning, a tearful Whitmore said: “To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard – enough.”