ITV confirmed that it has cancelled the summer season of its hit reality show ‘Love Island’ to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said: “We have tried every which way to make Love Island this summer but logistically it’s just not possible to produce it in a way that safeguards the wellbeing of everybody involved.”

“In normal circumstances we would be preparing very soon to travel out to the location in Mallorca to get the villa ready but clearly that is now out of the question.”

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Presenter Laura Whitmore added on Twitter: “Like with a lot of things because of restrictions with travel, social distancing and unable to plan ahead, Love Island is postponed until 2021.”

Lygo mooted the postponement of season seven last week, when he told a virtual Edinburgh TV Festival event that the show would be a big logistical challenge and may not strike the right tone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What signal might it be sending out if we’re doing a show where everybody’s crammed together slathering over each other and the rest of the world can’t go near anyone in the park,: he said. “I’m a bit uneasy about that.

Lygo added that they explored making Love Island in Cornwall in the UK, but decided it would distort the core of the show, in which singletons couple up under the Mediterranean sun.

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The cancellation of the summer series represents a huge blow for ITV’s youth channel ITV2, which has built Love Island into a cash cow, thanks to its engaged young audience. The show will likely return in January for a winter edition in South Africa.

It is a difficult year for the reality show. Former presenter Caroline Flack died by suicide in February during Love Island‘s first-ever winter season, briefly forcing the program off air.