Total Drama Island was developed and produced by Fresh TV starting in 2006 with an early name for the series being Camp TV. The season was animated at Elliott Animation and was directed by Todd Kauffman and Mark Thornton. It is primarily targeted at eight-to-twelve-year-olds, and the creators, Tom McGillis and Jennifer Pertsch, studied what teenagers liked and disliked about reality television shows in the writing process. McGillis says they used a "countrywide online research project" to determine this demographic's likes. Fresh TV Inc. partners McGillis, Pertsch, Elliott and Irving produced the series. The budget for the series was $8 million. It was animated in Flash, at Elliott Animation's studio in Toronto. Every cast and crew member on Total Drama Island had to sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose who the winner was. All the characters were designed by Kauffman. Voice actors from the FreshTV series 6teen have lent their voices for Total Drama Island: Christian Potenza, who played the character Jude on 6teen, played the role of host Chris McLean. Potenza said that the best part of the job was that his character could not be voted off the show. Emilie-Claire Barlow plays a recurring role as Chrissy on 6teen and plays Courtney on Total Drama Island. Barlow stated that Courtney was her favorite character that she had ever played. Other voice actors from 6teen include Julia Chantrey as Eva; Drew Nelson (Kai) as Duncan; Megan Fahlenbock (Jen) as Gwen; Adam Reid (Wayne) as Justin; Stephanie Anne Mills (Kirsten) as Lindsay and Katie; and Rachel Wilson (Melinda Wilson) as Heather.
Total Drama Island Interactive was an online game in Canada marketed in conjunction with the television series. It was produced by Xenophile Media. By registering a free account, the player could play games using a customizable avatar to earn points for marshmallows. Marshmallows are used as money in the game so the player can buy in-game items. The player who earned the most points had their avatar make a cameo appearance in the season finale. The games were based on the challenges in the show. Total Drama Island Interactive was nominated for an Interactive Emmy Award in 2007. However, the website is currently no longer available, as it has been replaced by Total Drama Online and by the Teletoon official site.
Carole Bonneau, the Vice President of programming of Teletoon Canada stated that Total Drama Island, along with Fresh TV's 6teen were "consistently top performers" for audiences of ages 6–11, and also helped to bring in older viewers as well. When Total Drama Island aired on the American Cartoon Network, it performed very well; The Toronto Star reported that, "in some ages groups [Total Drama Island showed] a 500 per cent ratings increase in [its] time slot." On December 11, 2008, Total Drama Island garnered 3.5 million viewers. That year, the series was the top "regularly scheduled Thursday night program at 9 p.m. on all television throughout third quarter among boys 2-11, 6-11 and 9-14," according to the Animation World Network. On Memorial Day weekend of 2009, a marathon of Total Drama Island increased viewership in age groups 2-11, 6-11, and 9-14, each by 20% or more compared to the same week in 2008. As of 2011, Total Drama Island has aired in over 188 countries.
A DVD was released by Cartoon Network on August 18, 2009 in the United States. It contains all of the 27 episodes (including TDI Rundown) of season one of this series in a 4 disc set, for a total of 594 minutes long. In addition, its bonus features (entitled as X-tras) are the audition tapes of twenty two campers, as well as Izzy's second audition tape and her exclusive interview with Chris. In Australia, Total Drama Island is on Region 4 DVD as separate volumes. This series of discs contains the widescreen version with uncut scenes and original dialogue, as seen on Teletoon and ABC3. In reviewing the DVD for season, Matthew Price of The Oklahoman wrote that while the show started out "unbelievably slowly," the series became more interesting as campers began getting voted off. Price also praised the parody of reality shows. In another review of the DVD, Jeffrey Kauffman of DVD Talk wrote that the character development was compelling and that the parody of reality shows were very funny. Mac McEntire of DVD Verdict praised the character development as well, but noted that the show sometimes sinks to "lowbrow gross-outs". Both Kauffman and McEntire recommended the series DVD.