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Howard's End: Temptation Island Lacks Sizzle

Temptation Island, Fox TV's hyped-up reality series, which aired on TV3 Monday night, has proved to be a lot of bacon with little sizzle. And one contestant couple already had a child. John Howard writes.

Despite unleashing hard-body singles on a Caribbean island to seduce couples into cheating, Fox producers apparently couldn't get any of them to succumb, say Scoop sources who worked on the show.

The object of the game show is to resist the advances of scantily clad singles including a Playboy model. The contestants are couples supposed to be committed and faithful, but who aren't married....and don't have kids.

At least that was the rules that Fox TV set for the series.

But one couple raising a toddler apparently misled producers about their family situation and made the final selection as one of four sets of contestants.

"It was a big mess" said the source who worked in the show's editing and video-taping process.

He said the couple made it onto the island resort of Belize and into about five days of shooting, before producers realised their background check had fallen short.

"When they found out they had a kid, they kicked them off the show and sent them to another island resort for a week and gave them a therapist. They didn't want to be responsible for breaking up a family."

Jill Hudson, Fox's spokesperson for the show in Los Angeles, would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.

Fox was burned last year when the media reported that its "Who wants to marry a millionaire" groom had a restraining order issued against him by an old fiancee.

To guard against another embarrasing and possibly actionable disclosure, Fox tested participants in Temptation Island for sexually transmitted diseases - but they weren't so careful about checking maternity records.

Family groups in the US are criticising Fox saying they it cares more about ratings than the impact on personal lives.

"Was Fox prepared to find a new home for this child if the show led to the parents breaking up? Was it willing to pay to take care of this child? Just testing people for STD's, as they said they did, is not sufficient because you're dealing with people's emotions and, in this case, even the well being of their children," says Heather Cirmo of Family Research Council.

Sources say "Unfortunately, no one had sex...unfortunately, because believe me, the producers wanted them to. They wanted dirt and they encouraged people to hook up by pushing them into steamy situations."

But apparently the couples didn't cooperate, leaving the producers with mostly G-rated content to tease as X-rated over the coming several episodes.

While Fox executives have since downplayed the sexual angle in press conferences after its January American release, it will be interesting to see whether TV3's future promo's are sexually provocative.

New Zealanders who might want to criticise the show can take heart in knowing that none of the couples took the carnal bait or broke up during the two weeks of shooting at the island resort.

The Scoop source says, "If you're expecting to see sex going on in the show, you're going to be disappointed. Very, very, very few instances where somebody even kissed. No one broke up on the show although one couple was really upset with each other."

For me, Temptation Island was crap and I won't be watching it again. Why would anybody want to test the strength of a relationship by throwing themselves on an island with scantily dressed people? Unless, of course, they really didn't have a relationship to start with. Now there's a thought.


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