What Will the American Love Island Look Like?

Get ready for more reality dating than you might even be able to handle. 

CBS is preparing to debut its version of the hit British dating show Love Island, which will air semi-live five (five!) nights a week starting in July, and whether you’re already a fan of the UK version or not, you may be wondering exactly what kind of shenanigans these hot people will be getting up to as they search for love with a side of fame, and why exactly you should plan to devote five nights a week to those shenanigans. 

Details of the American reboot have been few and far between so far, but thanks to a new Entertainment Weekly interview with David Eilenberg, Love Island executive producer and ITV executive, we now know a few things about what to expect from the show he hopes will feel like “the World Cup of reality TV.” 

What Is Love Island?

For anyone who hasn’t yet become addicted to the British version (available on Hulu, do it now), Love Island is a Big Brother-esque show about beautiful people all living in a house together and competing in challenges while doing their best to stay in the house, but with a few important differences. Unlike Big Brother, to stay in the house (which is in Fiji), you have to be in a couple, and you have to be in a likable-enough couple that viewers won’t vote you out for being boring. Plus, you have to be in a strong enough couple that your partner won’t leave you for one of the many hot newcomers who are occasionally brought into the house, or you have to be savvy enough to dump your partner for a better one who may walk through the door, all with the goal of being one of the last couples standing at the end of the summer. 

It starts with one core group of men and women, who couple up just based on looks. If you can’t couple up, you get eliminated, and men and women take turns choosing their partner. Couples compete in challenges together and even sleep in the same bed. When someone gets eliminated, new people arrive, and it continues like that all summer long. 

If you gotta compare it to The Bachelor, Eilenberg says think of The Bachelor as a “romantic-dramatic soap” and Love Island as an “ensemble romantic comedy.”

The Sex Appeal

The British version is very, very sexy. Most of the women walk around in thong bikinis all day long, and challenges sometimes involve recreating favorite sexual positions and a whole lot of kissing. The thongs and the sexual position games will probably not be appearing on CBS, but the general vibe of the show won’t be changing. 

“CBS very much supports the show that’s been a hit elsewhere,” Eilenberg said. “We want to make sure the show is the show. It’s an aspirational, sexy, fun summer show. And the U.K. show has become less provocative and more broad appeal over time.”

“We have to conform to broadcast standards, so what happens with language and—to some extent—what we see visually will be a little different because of the platform we’re on,” he continued. 

Twists, Challenges, and More

There will still absolutely be sexy challenges. 

“There’s going to be a mix [of games] just as there is on the U.K. show,” Eilenberg said. “There are games that are meant to bond, games that are meant to spark attraction, and games that are just hilarious…The U.S. Islanders have seen the U.K. show, for the most part. They know what they’re walking into and are excited to do it.”

Another major aspect of the show is that, unlike The Bachelor or Survivor, it’s mostly live, and its twists are planned much more in the moment to respond to whatever is going on on the house. 

“In many reality shows we’ve grown up with, [a producer plans a series of events] and those beats are a ritual to be adhered to, and you hope for your story to happen within that,” Eilenberg said “This is different. The story is what’s happening, and the format beats are an arsenal of tools that can be deployed at any time. That lends an unpredictably to the narrative that keeps people coming back and makes them feel like they have to watch the show every night instead of just getting a recap.”

The Diversity 

The U.S. Love Island will still not easily allow for LGBTQ couples, due to the format of separating islanders by gender, but Eilenberg says the show will be diverse in other ways. 

“We’re open to seeing how the show can evolve over time, and I think when you see the U.S. show that there’s been real thought put into the diversity of our casting,” he said. 

Our Questions 

Eilenberg answered a few of our questions, but there are a few things we’re still wondering about. 

Who will be our version of Iain Stirling, the comedian who narrates the UK version? He makes an already silly show a whole lot sillier and a whole lot more fun to watch, and his distinctive voice and Scottish accent add a little something extra. 

What slang terms will our islanders use? The UK casts have a whole array of phrases that aren’t popular here, but we can’t imagine a season of Love Island without anyone being mugged off. 

Will messages be conveyed to the islanders through text, prompting them to yell “I got a text!”? Because if not, what will they yell? 

Will Casa Amor appear? Casa Amor separates couples and puts the guys in a house with a new bunch of women and the women in a house with a bunch of new men for a couple of days, and it’s a delightful, evil little twist. 

Love Island premieres on CBS on Tuesday, July 9, and if you want a taste of the UK version before then, four seasons are currently available on Hulu, and the current season five will start being available on June 22. 

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