From ‘Love Island’ to ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ Caesars Entertainment keeps Las Vegas on TV

Love Island

Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment

The cast of “Love Island” parties on the rooftop of the Cromwell.

If it’s true that everyone’s watching a lot more TV while staying home during the pandemic, viewers across the country are getting plenty of Las Vegas scenery during their favorite shows.

The second season of the U.S. version of dating competition reality series “Love Island” wraps up this week and has seen growing ratings since its premiere on CBS on August 24, according to Variety. Like its U.K. and Australian editions, the show is typically filmed at an actual island destination, with young competitors chasing romance and a big cash prize while attempting to avoid elimination from the voting public or their castmates.

International travel restrictions and other coronavirus concerns threatened to cancel the new season until executives from ITV, producers of “Love Island,” connected with colleagues at Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, resulting in the entire production moving to the Strip to be headquartered at the Cromwell. Much of the show has been filmed at the resort’s rooftop Drai’s Beachclub & Nightclub, redecorated to serve as the “Love Island” villa, and just off the Strip, the Rio has served as a secondary production site.

Caesars Entertainment Vice President of Production Kate Whiteley said while “Love Island” in Las Vegas came together quickly, it’s a huge production with 125 people working as cast and crew at the Cromwell and 200 at the Rio.

“It’s been a lot of fun watching it come together and it’s a really big undertaking for us, so we’ve been fortunate to have this partnership with ITV to work together to create a COVID-safe way to do it,” Whiteley said. “There’s a lot of different factors at play beyond Las Vegas because it’s the first big TV show to come back [during the pandemic]. There will be a lot to look at in terms of what it means for the TV industry and the gaming industry, but we’ve been focused on what circles we need to close to make sure everybody’s safe and the impact on the staff at the properties and the people coming in.”

Two other cable shows filmed in Las Vegas have been on the air at the same time, although filming for those programs had mostly wrapped before March’s shutdown on the Strip. The finale of MTV’s “Double Shot at Love” starring “Jersey Shore” favorites Pauly D and Vinny Guadagnino aired September 24 and the show’s second season was shot last fall at the Linq Hotel and Casino and at Drai’s, where Pauly D is a headlining DJ.

And “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue,” a six-episode spinoff of the wildly popular VH1 drag competition series, filmed at the Flamingo in 2019 and 2020 and broadcast its finale on September 25. A behind-the-scenes series focused on the new “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live” production show that opened at the Flamingo Showroom in January was always planned for TV,

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