LONDON – British broadcaster ITV will this year hold its reality TV show “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” in a ruined English castle in winter instead of the heat of the Australian jungle, as COVID-19 restrictions make global travel all but impossible.
Forcing a group of celebrities to take part in “Bushtucker Trials” to win food and avoid elimination, the program has become a ratings winner for the commercial channel as contestants battle to win a public vote.
ITV said the celebrities would have to swap their shorts for thermals but they would keep the trials and challenges the same, to maintain the tone of a show which is followed every night by millions of viewers.
“We pulled out all the stops to try and make the series happen in Australia,” said Richard Cowles, Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios.
“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and despite us looking at many different contingencies, it became apparent that it just wasn’t possible.”
ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, has been badly hit by the pandemic, with production on shows cancelled and advertising tumbling.
The reality survival programme, which has been followed in many other countries, is a key part of its schedule. Running for several weeks through November, it has traditionally shown celebrities in bikinis and shorts trying to win public votes.