Love Island’s return to screens was watched by an average of 1.3 million viewers – more than a million down on the last summer launch.
The 10th series of the hit ITV2 dating show began on Monday night with a host of new twists to keep viewers and the contestants on their toes.
The broadcaster said the 90-minute opening episode had an average audience of 1.3 million while it peaked at 1.6 million, according to overnight ratings.
However, this was a notable drop from the launch of series eight last June which had an average of 2.4 million viewers and secured a peak of 3 million viewers.
ITV noted that the show is made for both ITV2 and its streaming service ITVX, which increased the average overnight ratings to 1.7 million viewers.
The episode opened with a dramatic format change which left the new islanders confused as the boys and girls arrived at the same time and the public had already voted for who they wanted to see coupled up initially.
It was revealed that among the 10 islanders looking for love, aesthetics practitioner Jess Harding, 22, from London was matched with business development executive George Fensom, 24, from Bedford.
Estate agent Catherine Agbaje, 22, from Dublin, was paired with business owner Andre Furtado, 21, from Dudley, while musical theatre performer Molly Marsh, 21, from Doncaster, was coupled with 26-year-old gas engineer Mitchel Taylor from Sheffield.
Communications manager Mehdi Edno, 26, from Bordeaux in France, will get to know beautician Ruchee Gurung, 24, from Sutton, Surrey, and semi-professional footballer Tyrique Hyde and 23-year-old model Ella Thomas were voted to be together initially.
Later in the evening as the new pairings were getting to know each other, the contestants were given another surprise as the girls were dared to reveal if they were unhappy with their partner – with Jess and Ruchee stepping forward.
— Love Island (@LoveIsland) June 5, 2023
To further raise tensions at the end of the episode, the first bombshell entered the villa – personal trainer and basketball player Zachariah Noble, 25, from south-east London.
Host Maya Jama explained that he will have the power to break up one of the freshly paired up couples in 24 hours.
Tuesday’s episode will see Zachariah continue to cause a stir, with a number of the girls expressing interest.
As they sit by the firepit, Jess admits: “He’s really handsome, and I feel like he’s playing it cool – I like that.”
First Look: Mitchel and Molly's fairytale gets a rude awakening!
The first challenge reveals some saucy secrets, and Zachariah's set to steal someone's girl... 🔥
The heat is on as #LoveIsland returns, tonight at 9pm.
— Love Island (@LoveIsland) June 6, 2023
Later on in the beach hut Catherine confesses: “I am enjoying getting to know Andre, but I feel like when Zach came in and he spoke I was like OK … he may be a bit of me.”
The islanders will also take on the first challenge of the series which will see the girls go up against the boys in ‘Wary Tales’.
The contestants will have to burst through a drawbridge door and slide down a slippery path while trying to grab a key which will unlock a book containing a secret story about one of the islanders.
They will then have to guess which one they believe it is by giving them a kiss.
Love Island airs tonight at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX.