Early press articles about Love Island are justly asking questions about an apparent lack of diversity on the show.
Nine’s cast photos looks whiter than an episode of The Block, with gorgeous 6-packed & curvaceous singles, who could have easily stepped out of a swimwear catalogue.
There are 10 contestants announced thus far, one of whom has a Lebanese-Australian background. The format, which sees couples hook-up and break-up, injects new contestants across its run. There is no set number on how many, nor how often participants are eliminated. Nine is believed to still be open to casting.
But in an era of same-sex marriages and diversity charters (which all networks have signed) dating shows which skew to stereotypes, and heterosexuals-only, run the risk of criticism or potentially alienating sectors of the audience. When TV is already struggling to hold its audience that’s a risk.
Last year Nine Network’s head of content production and development Adrian Swift acknowledged that networks have too often failed to represent who Australians really are.
“We are very aware of that. We acknowledge that our casting lags the reality of the demographic changes in Australia,” he said.
“I think we are addressing it; we’re addressing it slowly but we will die if we do not reflect the audience in the stories we tell.”
A Nine spokesperson said, “We cast a wide net to find contestants and with applications open throughout the series for new Islanders, we encourage all Australians from any background to apply for Love Island Australia via: go.mycastingnet.com/
Love Island did ask applicants about sexual orientation, but is remaining silent on whether any gay participants will appear on the show. Sources suggest that’s unlikely given the format requires multiple participants in order to facilitate the necessary coupling.
In the UK, where the show has enjoyed 3 hit seasons since its revival, sexual identity has also been a question.
UK Executive Producer Richard Cowles previously told MailOnline: “The format doesn’t really allow it. If you’re familiar with the programme, it’s about coupling and recoupling.”
Two females who identified as bisexual weren’t supposed to get together with members of the same sex, but they did anyway.
Love Island UK 2017
Meanwhile Seven’s Take Me Out, hosted by Joel Creasey, is another show where multiple singles form part of its gameplay but will also not feature gay couples.
TEN’s Blind Date, hosted by Julia Morris, is open to the idea in its casting process and has featured LGBT contestants in its UK version.