Will CBS' Love Island Be As Sexually Graphic As The U.K. Version?

love island logo cbs summer 2019
(Image credit: CBS)

The British reality dating series Love Island is coming across the pond this summer to CBS. The American version of the smash hit series debuts in July, and CBS is betting big on U.S. audiences becoming as rabid for Love Island action as British audiences are. Of course, part of what makes Love Island so sensational in the U.K. is the freedom to get pretty graphic with language and sexuality.

CBS isn't exactly known as the raciest network on American television, and executive producer David Eilenberg weighed in on what the new show will and won't be able to show compared to the original show in the U.K.:

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.

CBS limits what even some of its longest-running and successful series can show, and airing on a broadcast network naturally means its version of Love Island won't exactly be full of nudity and sex scenes like audiences might get on HBO and Starz and even streaming platforms like Netflix. Basically, the American Love Island will be quite different from the British version (airing on the U.K.'s ITV) in more ways than just the accents.

New episodes of Love Island will air in the 8 p.m. ET time slot, which is the first hour of primetime and the weeknight time slot least likely to get sexually graphic on network TV. Still, it's probably safe to say that CBS has a plan for bringing the Love Island formula across the pond to become a hit even without contestants showing a ton of skin and getting busy on camera. CBS is after all betting very big on Love Island.

In an unprecedented primetime move for network television, CBS will air new episodes of Love Island every weeknight at 8 p.m. ET. The season kicks off on Tuesday, July 9 and runs through Wednesday, August 7. That means a lot of Love Island shenanigans are on the way in the span of a month. If Love Island flops after CBS gave it such a huge order, CBS may not break any summer ratings records this year.

David Eilenberg, who is an executive for ITV, went on in his chat with EW to explain the collaboration with CBS:

CBS very much supports the show that’s been a hit elsewhere. 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.

By the sound of it, CBS doesn't want to make huge alterations to the format that made Love Island such a hit in the U.K. Interestingly, the U.K. version has survived just fine despite becoming "less provocative" over the seasons, and it's not like all American viewers will have the U.K. series as a basis for comparison. American audiences probably won't go into a CBS show expecting a lot of graphic sexual content. Perhaps CBS' big gamble will pay off in some big ways.

For Americans who aren't familiar with Love Island in the slightest, they might actually assume it's something along the lines of Paradise Hotel on Fox or Bachelor in Paradise on ABC. Just another summer reality series about attractive singles looking for love in a gorgeous location, right?

Nope! Love Island will see groups of "Islanders" staying in a Fiji villa coupling up in new duos every couple of days. For contestants who are unable to find a partner, they could be kicked out of the villa and lose their shot at true love... and a cash prize. New Islanders arrive throughout the filming process, and the pressure is on for Islanders to win over viewers who watch from home.

If anything, Love Island sounds more similar to Big Brother with regard to format than Paradise Hotel or Bachelor in Paradise.

Love Island makes its American debut on Tuesday, July 9 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. If you tune in and like what you see, you'll have something to keep you occupied on weeknights for the next month or so! If Love Island isn't up your alley, there are plenty of other series coming to TV this summer.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).