Reality show Love Island will go into production in Nigeria this summer to air in the autumn, after the ITV Studios format was picked up by a partnership of Nigerian and UK players in September last year.
Lagos-based media and broadcast investment company Digital Play Africa has acquired the format licence to the show from ITV Studios and has teamed with exec producer Odiri Iwuji of the UK’s Chudor House Productions and series producer Neil Oyenekan.
Casting for Love Island Nigeria is due to start next month, with production taking place over the summer. The show will see 20 singletons living and loving in a camera-lined luxury villa for seven weeks, the producers announced at a press event in Lagos yesterday together with sponsors, press and representatives of the UK Department of International Trade.
The Nigerian version of the format will be broadcast via Digital Play Africa-backed platform FreeTV’s free-to-air and premium channels including ONTV and MTV Base, as well as being available for digital streaming via the 9Vision mobile app.
Love Island began airing on ITV in the UK in 2005 and has since been adapted locally in 21 countries including the US, South Africa and across Europe, but this version will be the first to feature only black contestants, according to the producers.
Regarding the local adaptation, Digital Play Africa chief Toyin Subair said Love Island “perfectly sums up the expectations Nigerians have of entertainment as the programme offers a rich mix of fun while still touching on the subjects of friendship, love, romance and enduring relationships between islanders.”
“Love Island is perfect for the Nigerian youth audience; it simply ticks all the boxes,” said Iwuji, who is also co-founder and commercial director of C21Media.
Oyenekan added: “Dating is a critical part of millennials maturation in today’s Africa, and Love Island Nigeria offers a ‘verified’ format through which its key stages get tested – we expect great entertainment!”
Huub Van Ballegooy, head of global content and productions at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, added: “As we have already seen in different parts of the world, Love Island works equally well across linear, digital and catch-up platforms. With love being a universal language and the growing Nigerian market, we are very excited to roll out Love Island soon in Nigeria as well.”
Love Island is owned by ITV Studios and Motion Content Group and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios.