I'm A Celebrity Dealt Ratings Blow Amid Controversy Over Nigel Farage's Casting

It looks like ITV's risk may not have paid off...
Nigel Farage in the I'm A Celebrity jungle
Nigel Farage in the I'm A Celebrity jungle

The overnight viewing figures for this year’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! launch show have been revealed – and it’s not good news for ITV.

On Sunday night, viewers saw the 10 new campmates arriving in the jungle for the first time, ahead of three weeks of sleeping under the stars, surviving on basic rations and, of course, being put through their paces in grueling Bushtucker Trials.

Prior to the launch, several of this year’s bookings raised eyebrows – most notably the inclusion of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

ITV was met with an immediate backlash over the decision to cast Farage on the show (particularly when unconfirmed tabloid reports claimed he was the highest-paid contestant in I’m A Celebrity history, apparently bagging £1.5 million for his stint), with many going as far as boycotting the show due to his involvement.

Broadcast has now reported that I’m A Celebrity’s launch pulled in just under seven million viewers on Sunday night, a drop in two million compared to last year’s season opener.

This also marks the lowest viewing figures for an I’m A Celebrity launch since the very first series more than 20 years ago, and the first time the ratings dropped below the nine million mark since then.

I'm A Celebrity hosts Ant and Dec
I'm A Celebrity hosts Ant and Dec

However, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not all bad news for ITV.

The I’m A Celebrity launch is still the highest overnight ratings for an ITV broadcast in 2023, and the current figure does not take into account viewers watching on the catch-up service ITVX.

Meanwhile, viewers have also voiced their disdain after a public vote saw Farage being chosen to compete in the first Bushtucker Trial of the series.

I’m A Celebrity continues on Monday night at 9pm on ITV1.

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