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Find out Maya Jama’s secret meeting with Netflix and what the cryptic message she sent ITV means for the future of Love Island

JUST as ITV unveiled sizzling photos of Maya Jama holding a flamethrower to promote the new Love Island series, the television host threatened to set the entire campaign on fire with an image of his own.

At first glance, her Instagram post of a cup of tea on a desk seems innocent enough, but a closer look reveals that it has a Netflix logo on it.

Maya Jama with a flamethrower in a promo for the new Love Island seasonCredit: ITV
Maya hosts Love Island All StarsCredit: ITV
Maya’s Instagram post of a cup of tea with a Netflix logoCredit: Instagram/mayajama

The behind-the-scenes photo of her meeting with the streaming giant suggests she’s ready to jump ship, just as Emma Willis, Holly Willoughby and most recently Amanda Holden have done before her.

A source said: “At first glance the photo was simply a cup of herbal tea sitting on a conference table.

“But it was enough to send bosses reeling at ITV.

“She is a hugely popular product and is right to be proud of her meeting with Netflix, but the message it sent was crystal clear: Maya is open to offers.”

It’s a stab in the back for ITV, which was the first to bring Maya from obscure but trendy series, including rap panel show Don’t Hate The Playaz, to the mainstream.

When she became host of Love Island in January 2023, it sealed her place among the British showbiz elite and increased her fortune tenfold.

She went from brand deals with Freya, Pretty Little Thing and JD Sports to Dolce & Gabbana and gracing the cover of Vogue.

And it brought her to the United States, where she helmed the global spin-off Love Island Games.

ITV also made her dreams come true by installing her as host of The Brit Awards, posting online at the time: “I wrote down a list of goals as a presenter and this was the last one I had to tick off.”

It’s clearly given Maya a taste of what she could achieve beyond the walls of ITV – and I’ve seen first-hand how she won’t be tamed.

Maya Jama left blushing as boyfriend Stormzy shouted her out in new song with Headie One

Last summer I spent some time with the star at the Love Island villa in Mallorca.

She had just wrapped an on-camera piece for Good Morning Britain and was dressed in front of the telly with full hair and make-up, wearing a striking orange two-piece suit – and a pair of white hotel slippers.

“I can’t wear heels if my feet aren’t in the picture,” she said, laughing. A few weeks later she received complaints from Ofcom when she declared live on TV: “Let’s not get my fnny out.”

It is close to the wire.

But it’s this rare alchemy of down-the-pub recognizability and supermodel looks that makes Maya unique.

The source added: “Maya is like lightning in a bottle.

“She is unlike anyone else on television and that makes her indispensable to ITV as the face of Love Island.

“Since taking over from Laura Whitmore in 2023, she has massively boosted viewership in the 16 to 24 age group and it is that screen magic that makes her such an asset to ITV.

“And that’s why Netflix wants her too.

“On the other hand, it means she’s getting away with murder, and the photo from the Netflix meeting is just one example of that.

‘The fact is that ITV probably needs her more than she needs them, and she knows it.’

There was a time when ITV was the home of primetime entertainment and launching your own show for the channel was the pinnacle of a presenter’s career.

Maya wears silver overalls as she promotes ITVCredit: ITV
Maya appeared on the cover of fashion magazine Vogue
Maya on Don’t Hate The PlayazCredit: ITV

As such, the talent stable included Britain’s biggest names.

Faces like Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Louis Walsh, Alan Carr and countless others burst through the lift doors of ITV Studios on London’s South Bank.

Celebrities told how their faces in the elevator became an ‘I made it’ moment.

But the luster of ITV Towers – now relocated to west London – appears to have lost its luster.

Only Ant and Dec have a ‘golden handcuffs’ deal with the channel, and over the past six months a number of those former stalwarts have been seduced by the bright lights of Netflix and other major networks.

Maya is lightning in a bottle and stimulates the audience from 16 to 24 years old. That has made her indispensable to ITV and that is why Netflix wants her too

Sun source

The Voice’s Emma Willis will present Netflix’s Love Is Blind alongside her husband, Busted bassist Matt, and also works for Prime Video with The World Cook.

This Morning’s Holly Willoughby is now only linked to ITV through her role as a presenter on Dancing On Ice – with questions raised over whether she will even return to the skating show in January.

She begins filming the much-hyped Netflix challenge show Bear Hunt in Costa Rica this month.

The Sun this week revealed how Britain’s Got Talent’s Amanda Holden has launched a dating show, Cheaters: Unfinished Business, for the streamer. And it’s not just the girls.

Simon Cowell has chosen Netflix for his new talent show to find the next big boy band.

And The Masked Singer host Joel Dommett has also signed on to host a new project.

The Voice’s Emma Willis will co-host Netflix’s Love Is Blind with her husband, Busted bassist MattCredit: Rex
Holly Willoughby begins filming the much-hyped Netflix challenge show Bear Hunt in Costa Rica this monthCredit: Rex
Simon Cowell has chosen Netflix for his new talent show to find the next big boy bandCredit: PA: Press Association

A source said: “They all still enjoy working for ITV and the teams built around them.

“But loyalty only goes so far when you have the opportunity to share a network with megastars like the Hollywood actors who produce and star in Netflix originals.

“That’s before you even consider that it turns our famous faces into global names and brings a huge reward. Netflix has very deep pockets.

“Changes to taxation also mean that presenters are much better off moving around rather than tying themselves to a fixed salary.”

It may not be surprising to hear that Netflix’s revenues continue to rise.

Last year it raised £26.5 billion – seven percent more than the previous year, with 260 million streaming memberships.

By comparison, ITV reported a two percent decline to £3.6 billion in group revenue.

It has 12.5 million active users of its ITVX streaming service.

The US streaming site is valued at almost £200 billion, while ITV is worth £2.89 billion.

So the loss of its golden girls couldn’t come at a worse time for ITV – not least because there is already a shortage of women on primetime television.

Amanda Holden told me last month: “I agree there should be more women on Saturday nights – there is always room for more.”

Emma Willis had the same message when I spoke to her, adding: “Yes, The Voice is male, but hey, I’m here.”

The Sun revealed how Amanda Holden landed a dating show, Cheaters: Unfinished Business, for Netflix
The Masked Singer host Joel Dommett has also signed on to host a new projectCredit: Getty
Davina McCall could also make the switch to the online streaming giantCredit: Getty

Maya may have lit a warning beacon with her cuppa in the boardroom, but for now she remains the goddess of Love Island.

Tonight ITV unveils the new promotional trailer for the eleventh series of Love Island.

Dressed in this form-fitting silver jumpsuit, Maya lights a flamethrower as she removes her helmet and says, “Where there is love, there is fire.”

Under Maya, Love Island has been streamed more than 300 million times on ITVX.

And the recent All Stars spin-off is Britain’s biggest digital program of the year so far, with 100 million of those streams.

By all accounts, Maya is also a true fan of the show and is aware of how much it has changed her life.

Back at the villa, she told the group of journalists there with her: ‘When I first started in television I was 18, and I remember thinking, ‘My life has changed and people will recognize me in Tesco ‘. They didn’t!

“But being on Love Island definitely changed things for me.

‘It used to be just young people, but now it’s also nannas.

“I recently flew to New York and the woman at immigration didn’t ask me questions about why I was in the country, but about everything that had happened in the last series.

“It’s a great feeling to be involved in a show that I’ve loved and been a fan of for so long.”

Read more about the Irish sun

In three weeks, Maya will be back on the island for the dating series.

And ITV hopes a dose of sun, sea and sexy young things will take Maya’s mind off that cup of herbal tea.