Magnificent abs and blow-up flamingos: Nine’s Adrian Swift on Love Island

Love Island

• “We’re all working three times as hard as we normally would to get these things out the door.”

After skipping a season in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, then being pushed back a week from its original 2021 start date due to the Byron Shire mayor attempting to rescind filming approval, the time has come for Love Island Australia season three to hit Aussie screens.  

Mediaweek spoke to Nine’s head of content, production, and development, Adrian Swift about what makes Love Island so enticing to audiences.

Love Island

Adrian Swift

After all the setbacks and bumps in the road, Swift says getting the show to air has been a massive achievement. 

“It has been so difficult getting this to happen. I salute everyone at ITV and I salute all my colleagues at Nine. The number of times we’ve gone ‘Okay, let’s go ahead on that basis. No, no, let’s go ahead on this basis. No, no, let’s go ahead on that basis’.

More people are watching television than ever, so you can’t not have anything. You want things to go ahead under these extreme circumstances, but you can’t compromise the show because no one’s ever watched the TV and gone, ‘oh well, Covid must have made that hard for them, I’ll forgive them their trespasses’. 

“We’re all working three times as hard as we normally would to get these things out the door. I’m immensely proud that we’re getting series three of Love Island Australia to air.”

Love Island host Sophie Monk

Fun in the Sun

With versions of the format performing well all over the globe, Swift says that what draws people to Love Island is its simplicity.

“What’s good about it is it’s very unstructured, and it makes no pretence. This isn’t a social experiment, this isn’t a game where you trade immunity idols. This is a show where if you manage to attract a member of the opposite sex you’ll stay in the game, and if you don’t, you won’t. It’s a beautifully simple, fundamental format that I think people respond to.

“It actually does result in genuine long-term partnerships. You can watch for that, or you can just watch it for its ridiculous beauty and wonderful fun in the sun. In the middle of lockdown, frankly, watching some people with magnificent abs in a pool with a blow-up flamingo is a blessed relief.”

Choosing the Islanders

Swift says that when searching for singles to bring to the Villa, the casting team was looking for people who stand out. 

“One thing you learn very quickly when you’re casting these sort of shows is that the people have got to have a bit extra, there’s always got to be that thing about them. That thing can be anything from an obsession with Star Wars, to a slightly skewed opinion of themselves. 

“There are some really interesting people this year, they’re just people whose stories are inherently interesting. The great death of television is casting people on their backstory, you cast people on who they are going in and not what they’ll offer when they’re there. This year we’ve got people with good backstories, but who we know once they’re in there will give the audience content.”

See More: Nine reveals the first four islanders heading to the Love Island villa

Love Island

The first four Islanders – Jessica, Chris, Rachael, Taku

Hosting the Afterparty

Accompanying season three of Love Island will be Afterparty, hosted by Abbie Chatfield. Swift says Afterparty will appeal to all of the show’s audiences.

Love Island is one of those plays on Nine where we will get potentially as much consumption on 9Now as we’ll get on linear, it is definitely a linear and a nonlinear play. Abbie’s show completely talks to both audiences. 

“Broadcast is a mass-market medium, it allows you to talk to a really engaged audience. Also, it’s just great having Abbie on board – she loves the show, she’s always loved the show, and we love working with her.”

Love Island

Abbie Chatfield

Comparisons to MAFS

Nine also airs Married at First Sight, another dating show that involves people forming relationships with strangers. Swift says that despite this, the two shows are totally separate entities.

“We think about them very differently. MAFS has a lot of rules – you are thrown together with a stranger in a form where we observe that. Love Island is much more fun, and in some ways, the participants are almost more in charge in Love Island

“With MAFS what we’re doing is we’re trying to tease out the universal themes of relationships – the way women treat men, the way men treat women, how people rank personality, physical attractiveness, all those things. Love Island is fun in the sun, and may the best man and woman win.”

Love Island Australia: Monday, October 11, at 8.45pm on Channel Nine and 9Now

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