weather icon Clear

What the heck is ‘Love Island’ and why should I care?

The commercials aren’t exactly subtle.

“Get ready, America, for your new summer obsession!”

That’s the sort of hyperbole usually reserved for TV shows about hunky serial killers or trendy new places to spread avocados.

Alas, it’s neither of those.

It’s the dating series “Love Island,” and you probably have questions.

What’s “Love Island”?

Eleven singles are sent to a villa in Fiji to find love — or at least the TV equivalent of it. Every few days, newbies arrive looking to “couple up” and find a partner with whom to share a bed, the show’s mandatory sleeping arrangement. From there, it’s a game of musical mattresses. Whoever doesn’t have one leaves.

This sounds familiar.

It’s the U.S. version of the wildly popular British series that’s already spawned remakes in Australia, Belgium/the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

Wasn’t this just on?

That was the similar “Paradise Hotel,” which crashed and burned in the ratings in May after Fox rebooted it for the second time.

No, really. I swear I’ve seen this.

Perhaps you’re thinking of “Temptation Island,” which also was rebooted this year. Or possibly “Bachelor in Paradise.”

When can I watch “Love Island”?

It debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday on CBS and will air at 8 p.m. every weekday through Aug. 7.

That seems like a lot.

It is. But the British version runs six nights a week for a couple of months.

Do Americans have the patience to watch something five nights a week?

Probably not. NBC tried that strategy with “The Jay Leno Show” in 2009, but it only lasted five months. ABC ran “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” into an early grave by airing it five nights a week at its peak. MyNetworkTV, which rose from the ashes of the WB-UPN merger, debuted in 2006 with two English-language adaptations of telenovelas, each airing five nights a week. It went so poorly that within three years, MyNetworkTV was no longer a network, having shifted to a programming service that packages reruns of shows such as “Law &Order” and “Dateline” for other stations.

It’s summer. Will anyone care about a remake of a foreign reality show?

Probably. “American Idol,” “Survivor,” “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Big Brother,” “American Ninja Warrior” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” all started as summertime air fillers based on international formats.

How big of a deal is the original?

It’s a national preoccupation capable of turning contestants into minor celebrities. Last month’s fifth season premiere was seen on 18.5 percent of all televisions in use in the U.K. The only shows to average more than that in America over the past year were “Game of Thrones,” “Sunday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football.”

So this will be a massive hit, right?

Not necessarily. In 2014, Fox spent $50 million on a remake of “Utopia,” the latest hot new reality show from John de Mol, who created the original Dutch versions of “Big Brother” and “The Voice.” No one cared.

How’s this different from any other dating show?

The American version probably isn’t. The original, though, is kind of adorable. The accents and colloquialisms are all over the place. Scottish comedian Iain Stirling provides some cheeky narration. And there’s still something charmingly naive about many of the contestants — maybe because, unlike the U.S., Great Britain doesn’t have one reality show for approximately every 13 residents.

What kind of people are on “Love Island”?

Well, this season, the British version has a biologist, a pharmacist, a biomedical scientist turned firefighter and boxer Tommy Fury, the brother of heavyweight fighter Tyson Fury.

Do they all have fancy jobs?

There’s also sandwich maker Joe, who declared, “If I was to describe my ideal girl as a sandwich, it’d be pulled pork (and) chunky coleslaw in a nice baguette.”

Which means what exactly?

There’s honestly no telling.

So he’s the weird one?

Actually, no. That would be Anton from Scotland who, shortly after meeting the other contestants, admitted he shaves his legs, then dropped this bombshell: “Me mum usually shaves me bum for me.”



What kind of people does the CBS version have?

There are two male models, a photographer/cowboy, a self-proclaimed diva and a publicist whose celebrity crush is Liam Hemsworth.

Can I watch the British version instead?

Absolutely. The first four seasons are available on Hulu, with new episodes from the current fifth season uploaded on a roughly three-week delay.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
SecretBurger at China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Carlos Cruz, executive chef of Jose Andres’ China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, makes the SecretBurger off-menu, one-night-only ‘All Quacked Up’ with a kimchi pancake, Peking duck, house-made hoisin sauce, a fried duck egg, pickled micro-vegetables, caviar and gold flakes and serves it with a Stillwater Artisanal Ale. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Famous Blue Angel statue commemorated in downtown Las Vegas mural
The 16-foot tall Blue Angel statue that stood above the Blue Angel Motel for six decades is featured in a mural spanning three walls at a downtown Las Vegas building. James Stanford designed the “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending" mural based on his photography, and Cliff Morris painted the mural at 705 Las Vegas Blvd. North, near the Neon Museum. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Making Castle Frites at the new Frites at the Excalibur in Las Vegas
Tom McGrath, district manager/executive chef at Frites at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, tops his beef-tallow fries like a loaded baked potato - with white and yellow cheddar, sour cream, bacon and chives. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hello Kitty Cafe on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
The Hello Kitty Cafe opens Friday, July 12th, 2019, between New York, New York and Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Amano Las Vegas' Fat Baby Sandwich
Chef Jason Weber of Amano Las Vegas has created a sandwich stuffed with pasta, and it's a hit. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A class at Melissa Coppel Chocolate and Pastry School in Las Vegas.
Melissa Coppel, who teaches classes in various countries around the world, attracts students from far and wide to her eponymous school in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Havana Lobster at Boteco in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marcus Fortunato, co-owner of Boteco in Las Vegas, learned to make Havana Lobster from the chef at El Figaro, a favorite of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Chef Gustav Mauler Is retiring
Las Vegas chef Gustav Mauler announces his retirement on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
A.D. Hopkins on his debut novel
Veteran journalist introduces readers to “The Boys Who Woke Up Early.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seven Magic Mountains restoration complete
Artist Ugo Rondinone’s iconic Seven Magic Mountains receives a complete painting restoration in June 2019.
Making off-the-menu bean curd rolls at Mr. Chow in Las Vegas
Senior chef tournant Cesar Laran has created secret bean curd rolls at Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. To make them, he rolls bean curd sheets around a filling of carrots, celery and shiitake mushrooms, then smokes them with oolong tea and sugar. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Bread Pudding French Toast at Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas
James Trees, chef/owner of Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, slices house-made blueberry bread pudding, coats it in egg yolks and mascarpone, fries it and tops it with spiced walnuts, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and creme fraiche. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Celine Dion closes 1,141-show residency on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Hear from Celine Dion about her 16 years on the Las Vegas Strip and what the future has in store for her. (Caesars Entertainment)
Lobster grilled cheese at Big Sur Oyster Bar
The hugely popular lobster grilled cheese at Big Sur Oyster Bar at the South Point in Las Vegas is made with white cheddar and served on sourdough. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
You can dine out with your dog in Las Vegas
Lazy Dog, among Las Vegas restaurants that allow dogs, is probably the most accommodating, with free bowls of water and a doggy menu. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sparrow + Wolf at Vetri Cucina in Las Vegas
Marc Vetri will launch a new collaborative chef series June 18, with a little help from Sparrow + Wolf’s Brian Howard. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 best things to do at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
10 best things to do at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disneyland - VIDEO
What it's like to ride the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ada’s opens at Tivoli Village in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Ada’s, from James Trees, owner of Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas’ Arts District, brings Tivoli Village a similar menu of seasonal, artisanal pastas, pizzas — and ice cream. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Nutella French Toast at Cafe Americano in Las Vegas
Harold Norris, executive chef at Cafe Americano at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, coats brioche in cinnamon and chocolate and layers it with Nutella and bananas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)