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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 12:26 GMT
Temptation Island on rocks
Temptation Island
Temptation Island: Too "superficial"
Controversial US reality TV show Temptation Island faces an uncertain future after the second series suffered a considerable drop in ratings after 11 September.

The show, which aims to test the fidelity of unmarried but long-established couples, saw viewing figures plummet from an average of 16.7 million for the first series to 5.7 million.

In general, US reality TV shows have attracted less viewers since the terror attacks last year but Temptation Island has fared the worst.

Temptation Island's grand finale was on Thursday but Fox said it did not know if it would return for a third series.

A Fox spokesman said: "We have the ability to look at the show and analyse how it did in the time period on the night and make a decision at a later date."

Temptation Island
Tropical locations are the setting for the series

Entertainment critics in the US say people found such shows - and the relationship conflicts they involve - trivial compared with real-life events.

"Of all the reality shows that have been affected by 11 September, Temptation Island has been hit the worst," said James Bufalino of Entertainment Weekly.

"Even last year before 11 September, people watched it but felt like they had to shower afterwards. This year, I don't think they could get themselves to go back and watch again."


Temptation Island sees couples taken to a Caribbean resort, split up for two weeks and surrounded with attractive prospective partners.

After the fortnight, contestants can choose to stay with their existing partner, or go off with one of the island's sexy inhabitants.

It's just voyeuristic thrills of people fooling around on their significant others

James Bufalino, Entertainment Weekly

Figures for the finale - when they are released on Friday - are likely to be well short of the 17.5 million who tuned in to last year's final show when all three remaining couples stayed together.

This second series has seen audiences stay away despite "teaser" promotions from Fox as to the future antics of contestants.

Hit reality TV show Survivor, on CBS, has also seen a drop in ratings but not as marked as Temptation Island.

'Pepsi challenge'

Mr Bufalino said Temptation Island had lost out because of its lack of depth.

"'Survivor is a more complex, substantial concept for a reality show," he said.

"Temptation Island is so superficial. There isn't a point necessarily. It's just voyeuristic thrills of people fooling around on their significant others."

One male contestant described being on the show as like "a Pepsi challenge, except it's ladies instead of a soft drink".

The producers of the US show have defended the programme, saying it was not about sex.

Temptation Island also generated controversy when two contestants sued the producers for defamation of character.

In the UK, Sky One and Channel 4 have broadcast a version of Temptation Island, and Sky One has repeated the US version.

See also:

10 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Storm on Temptation Island
22 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
US TV viewers face more reality
23 Dec 00 | Entertainment
The year of reality TV
21 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Survivor creators sue contestant
07 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Survivor loser sues creator
30 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Couple sue Temptation Island
04 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV still a hit
28 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV soldiers on
05 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Plans for UK Temptation Island
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