ITV2 won't cast gay and lesbian contestants for Love Island 2018

Love Island 2017 reuslts

ITV2 won't start casting gay and lesbian contestants on Love Island 2018, despite rumours.

The huge success of the dating reality show has led to criticism over its lack of LGBT representation.

The Daily Star reported this week that bosses were wanting to up Love Island's "shock factor" by including gay participants on its next series.

"Love Island was undoubtably the biggest reality show this year, it had everyone talking," a source said. "The main thing they came under fire for was sex on TV.

"Come next series people won't really care about that. ITV want to increase the shock factor of the show and keep people talking, by having LGBT people included."

The insider added: "Love Island is supposed to be a reflection of pop culture and shows modern dating.

"Young people are becoming more and more fluid in their sexuality and gender identity, so the channel have realised they can't alienate that audience, either."

However ITV have now denied that LGBT contestants will be a focus for the series, saying it would not work with the format.

In July, executive producer Richard Cowles said including gay contestants on the show would be "difficult" due to "logistical" issues, but expressed an interest in launching an LGBT-specific version.

A month later, ITV's Head of Digital Channels Paul Mortimer shot down both ideas.

"To complicate [Love Island] with same-sex relationships is to take something away from the format," he claimed.

He also ruled out a standalone spin-off, adding: "We don't want to over egg the pudding".

Auditions for the fourth series of Love Island were officially opened at the end of December.

Interest from budding islanders has been extremely high, with over 60,000 applications being submitted in the first twelve hours alone.

The show will be back on ITV2 in the summer.

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