We know who will replace Laura Whitmore for Love Island 2023

Laura Whitmore in front of a Love flag from Love Island 2022
Who's going to replace Laua Whitmore next year? (Image credit: ITV)

Who will replace Laura Whitmore as the next Love Island host? That was the big question that Love Island fans had on their mind from the moment Laura Whitmore announced she would be stepping down after hosting the series for the past three seasons.

Laura Whitmore took over from the late Caroline Flack as the current host back in 2020. When Laura confirmed her departure, she paid tribute to Flack and explained that she has found certain elements of the show difficult, including scheduling conflicts and the flights to and from South Africa.

She concluded with: "I wish it was still possible but know you'll be in safe hands. I was only planning to fill in for Caroline for a series and it turned into 3 series. I hope I did you proud Caroline".

On October 12, ITV confirmed that Maya Jama would be the next Love Island host. Maya was already thought to be one of the frontrunners for the gig before the role was announced, but now we know that she'll be joining the next set of islanders in South Africa for Winter Love Island in January 2023.

Talking about her new role, Maya Jama said: "I’ve always been such a massive Love Island fan and I’m so excited to be hosting one of the nation’s favourite shows! I can’t wait to get into the Villa to meet all of the Islanders.”

Maya Jama at a gala held before the 2022 Rated Awards at Kensington Palace.

Maya Jama. (Image credit: John Phillips/Getty Images)

Paul Mortimer, Director of Reality Programming & Acquisitions and Controller at ITV2, ItvBe & CITV,  said of the new star: "Finding a new host to follow the wonderful Laura Whitmore was never going to be easy. In Maya Jama though, we have another high profile fan of the show who’ll be a great addition to the Love Island family. 

"Cool, charming and charismatic, I speak for us all when I say Maya will also bring a unique presenting style to the show, as did Laura and, of course, the very much missed Caroline Flack. We’re very pleased to have her on board", he added.

Whilst we wait for the next season of Love Island to hit our screens, why not check out who else was thought to be in the running to replace Laura Whitmore? Below you can find our list featuring some of the other rumored presenters.

Who was thought to be in the running to be the next Love Island host?

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu for Love Island 2022

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu. (Image credit: ITV)

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu was a hugely popular contest from Love Island 2022. She won the latest series with her partner, Davide Sanclimenti, by an absolute landslide.

Ekin-Su was at the heart of some of the show's most memorable moments (including several bust-ups with Davide), and plenty of viewers even called for her to take over the hosting gig once she left the villa.

Since winning, the pair have been in high demand, and have been predicted to become some of the show's most successful contestants yet. Although she's not hosting Love Island, ITV are keeping Ekin-Su busy. She and Davide have landed a travel series called Ekin-Su and Davide: Homecomings, and she is confirmed as part of the celebrity lineup for Dancing on Ice 2023.

Darren Harriott

Darren Harriott backstage at the launch of Backstage With Katherine Ryan.

Darren Harriott. (Image credit: Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Love Island superfan Darren Harriott was also thought to be in the running as he was part of the Aftersun team. Regular viewers of the weekly show will recognize him as a mainstay on Laura's celebrity panel. 

He was a regular guest in previous years, though Darren became a permanent addition to the Sunday night lineup this year, and he served as a co-host on this year's Reunion, so it's understandable that some felt he could be the next main host.

Outside of Love Island, Darren is a stand-up comedian. He first appeared on our TV screens in Stand Up Central, and since then has toured the UK with his stand-up shows and has landed places on a variety of UK panel shows like Mock the Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats

Zara McDermott

Zara McDermott on the red carpet at the 2022 BRIT Awards

Zara McDermott. (Image credit: Jim Dyson/Redferns via Getty )

Zara McDermott was another ex-islander who some felt could have been in the running to be the next Love Island host. 

She drew in plenty of fans with her running commentary of Love Island 2022 alongside her partner, Sam Thompson, and this prompted many of her followers to call for her and Sam to host the next series. 

Since leaving the villa behind, she's appeared in Made in Chelsea, fronted two BBC documentaries, and she made her presenting debut with the BBC Three dating series, Love In The Flesh, which brought couples who'd not met in person together for the first time in a beautiful Greek beach house. 

Emma Willis

Emma Willis at the 2022 Prince's Trust Awards.

Emma Willis. (Image credit: Kate Green/Getty Images)

Emma Willis is no stranger to hosting popular TV shows, which is why some felt that she could have been a good replacement for Laura Whitmore.  

Most viewers probably recognize her from her time either as a presenter on The Voice UK or Big Brother, but she's fronted plenty more shows over the years, including a brief stint on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! NOW!, The Circle, The Great Home Transformation (with Nick Grimshaw) and Emma Willis: Delivering Babies

Maura Higgins

Maura Higgins attends the PrettyLittleThing x Molly-Mae show in February 2022

Maura Higgins. (Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Maura is another ex-islander who became a popular suggestion among Love Island fans, and she topped our readers' poll for the person that viewers wanted to see the most. 

She is easily one of the most memorable contestants from Love Island's past; she finished in fourth place with Curtis Pritchard after entering as a bombshell on Day 10, and was responsible for some of the show's many catchphrases during her time in the villa, so it's perhaps no surprise that she was a favorite for the hosting job.

Outside of Love Island, she had hosting experience thanks to her time as the recent host of Glow Up Ireland. 

AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu photographed during the Red Nose Day night of TV for Comic Relief in March 2022

AJ Odudu. (Image credit: Nicky Johnston/Comic Relief/Getty Images)

Like many of the other stars on this list, AJ has plenty of presenting credits, so it's no surprise she was a popular suggestion for the next Love Island host. 

She was the host of Married at First Sight UK: Afters in 2021 (and even appeared opposite Emma in Big Brother's Bit on the Side), and popped up as a presenter or contestant in a whole host of shows including Strictly Comic Relief, The Voice, The Big Breakfast. Plus, she was chosen to act as the UK's spokesperson for Eurovision Song Contest and was part of the team covering the Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.

With that much under her belt, its easy to see why some people felt she had more than enough experience to guide the next set of islanders through another summer of love. 

Love Island 2023 stars on Monday, January 16 at 9 pm on ITV2. You can catch up with previous seasons on ITVX and BritBox or on Hulu in the US.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.