London – ITV was facing a reality show crisis on Sunday night after the suicide of presenter Caroline Flack.
But after talks on Sunday, the broadcaster decided to push ahead with the current series of Love Island.
Formerly fronted by Flack, it had already come under intense scrutiny after the suicides of two former contestants in the past two years.
Two episodes of the ITV2 dating show were cancelled over the weekend but it is set to return on Monday with a tribute to its former host.
Flack stepped down from her presenting role in December after she was arrested for an alleged assault on her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27.
The decision to press on with the show, which is due to finish next weekend, shocked industry insiders who expected the broadcaster to cancel it after her death.
Two former contestants – Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – have taken their lives over the past two years, and Gradon’s boyfriend also killed himself weeks after her death.
One of ITV’s most high-profile presenters, Eamonn Holmes, questioned whether the series should continue out of “respect” for Caroline Flack. Writing on Twitter he said: “Caroline Flack… Dear God. Shocked beyond belief. May she have found peace.
“Has to be repercussions for Love Island now surely?”
He later added: “Meaning out of Respect, can the series continue?”
The main sponsors of Love Island, take away service Just Eat, said it was backing ITV’s decision to pull episodes at the weekend.
On Sunday sources at the broadcaster defended it against suggestions it had not supported Flack enough after her arrest and subsequent charge for assaulting Mr Burton.
An ITV insider said on Sunday night: “We have been in contact with her and her agent numerous times from the time of the incident in December. We had offered our support to her. We had asked and got reassurances that she was seeking whatever support she needed to help her through this period.
“We offered our own help and said it is available to her. Caroline and her team were managing their way through that and we offered to provide any support that might be necessary or appropriate.”
The source added: “Caroline had an enduring relationship with the Love Island team, with [presenter] Laura Whitmore and [narrator] Iain Stirling. Despite what was happening in her personal life Caroline always indicated her positivity towards Love Island and its place in her life.”
After Saturday and Sunday night’s editions of the ITV2 dating show were pulled, there had been speculation about whether the rest of the series would air.
But on Sunday the broadcaster said it would be back on Monday with a tribute to Flack.
Confirming that the show would air an ITV spokesperson said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.”
Explaining the reasons for cancelling Sunday night’s show he said:After careful consultation between Caroline’s representatives and the Love Island production team and given how close we still are to the news of Caroline’s tragic death we decided not to broadcast Sunday’s Love Island out of respect for Caroline’s family.
“Love Island will return on Monday night, which will include a tribute to Caroline who will be forever in our hearts.”