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Lead Us Not Unto 'Temptation'

HOLLYWOOD (Jan. 23)-- Buoyed by the success of Temptation Island, Fox executives announced plans today to add a second version of the program to its schedule, this one involving married couples.

Temptation Island has been a ratings smash each week that it has aired on Fox. The show places four unwed but committed couples on a tropical island with 26 single people who try to seduce them.

A year ago, Fox executives had vowed to back off from reality programming after the furor surrounding "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire." But after the ratings successes of Survivor and Temptation Island, Fox programming chief Sandy Grushow said, "we'd be fools not to strike while the iron is hot."

The newest edition of the program, Temptation Island 2: The Adulterers, will keep the same format as its predecessor: four couples on an island fending off the advances of two dozen tempters and seductresses. Only in this installment, the couples will be married at least five years.

"Like the first version of Temptation Island, our newest hit will explore the dynamics of serious relationships," Grushow explained. "It's really an anthropological study, when you think about it."

Another change in Temptation Island 2 will be the introduction of alcohol into the proceedings. The show's producers will not only provided unlimited spirits, but encourage the contestants to drink freely and heavily.

"We've found booze really livens things up," Fox reality programming executive Mike Darnell said. "Group dynamic-wise, I mean."

And unlike the first version of the show, in which a couple that shared a child was booted off by producers, Temptation Island 2 won't ban parents.

"That rule really seemed arbitrary," Grushow said. "Besides, just because a couple of folks have had a kid together doesn't mean they can't enjoy a little hey-hey."

BURBANK (Jan. 24)-- NBC jumped into the reality programming game today with a show seeking to capitalize on Fox's recent success with Temptation Island.

According to an NBC press release, Revenge of Temptation Island will "give spurned lovers a chance to get back at their unfaithful exes -- by fighting fire with fire!"

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," chuckled NBC's new programming chief Jeff Zucker.

Revenge of Temptation Island will fly cuckolded husbands, disgraced wives, and irate boyfriends and girlfriends to a Caribbean island where they will get the chance to wreak a horrible vengeance for public infidelities. They'll get to sleep with their ex-lovers' best friends, brothers, sisters, parents, college roommates or bosses.

"Or any combination thereof," Zucker added.

For contestants, NBC will select former Temptation Island participants, rejected Jerry Springer Show guests, or "anyone who just likes to sleep around," Zucker said.

"Like our colleagues at Fox, we here at NBC are very interested in exploring the human emotion of love," Zucker explained. "With Revenge of Temptation Island, we have the chance to examine love in all its many alluring forms. On camera. With some of them hidden."

CENTURY CITY (Jan. 25)-- ABC announced plans today for a reality program that it hoped would revive the flagging fortunes of its once dominate Who Wants to be a Millionaire franchise.

Seven Deadly Sins Island will be a Millionaire-like game show in a Survivor-like setting. Contestants will race around a tropical island trying to commit as many of the Seven Deadly Sins -- lust, gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy, and wrath -- as possible in an hour. Points will be awarded based on the difficulty and severity of the sin.

"It's pretty easy to just sit around and do nothing, so sloth will be worth relatively few points," explained producer Don Ohlmeyer. "Whereas lust or wrath or gluttony... those require a bit more creativity and stamina." An ecumenical council will be on hand to award points, Ohlmeyer added.

ABC has high hopes for Seven Deadly Sins Island. It will air three nights a week. Millionaire will air the other four. "We'll just slap Drew Carey's little improv show in there to fill the rest of the time," an ABC executive said.

Asked if he had any qualms about producing a show that rewards contestants with cash prizes -- in excess of $1 million, according to some reports -- for behavior that's anathema to most western religions, Ohlmeyer shrugged. "It's really not my place to play God," he said. "That's the responsibility of our Seven Deadly Sins Island host, Arsenio Hall."

"I really need the gig," Hall said.

HOLLYWOOD (Jan. 28)-- With its dominance in the reality programming genre slipping, Fox today upped the ante with the latest island-based addition to its prime time lineup -- Rikers Island.

The show will take recently paroled prisoners and place them in provocative settings to "explore the delicate fabric of societal norms," Fox programming chief Sandy Grushow said. Among the settings outlined by Grushow were a college sorority house, the locker room at a women's fitness club and the grounds of an exclusive, all-girls' school.

"We believe Rikers Island will give America a searing and insightful look into this national's penal system," Grushow said. "What does 10, 12, 15 years of incarceration do to a man? Does it force him to mend his ways? Does he lose faith in the system? Or is he driven to commit unspeakably depraved acts of a sexual nature in front of our cameras?"

"We think we know the answer to that," reality programming executive Mike Darnell said. "Sandy and I have seen Oz."

NEW YORK (Jan. 30)-- CBS plans to bolster ratings for Survivor II by airing a reality show companion -- Virgin Island -- on Thursday nights.

"I'm not going to lie to you," CBS President Les Moonves said. "We're deeply impressed by the numbers Temptation Island and its many imitators are pulling down. So we thought what kind of show would give viewers the same vicarious thrill as adultery and infidelity. That's when we hit on it -- virgins."

Each week, CBS will fly a college freshman to an island of the coast of Virginia -- "Virginia, virgin, they sort of sound alike," Moonves said -- where she will be wooed by 20 male contestants. Whoever successfully deflowers the virgin by the end of the hour wins a U.S. savings bond for $10,000.

"Your first sexual experience is a special, intimate moment," host Ricki Lake said. "And what could be more special and intimate than doing it on a sandy beach at sunset in front of millions of viewers?"

CBS is already considering heavy promotion for Virgin Island. Moonves promised a celebrity-edition of the game for May sweeps, featuring contestants "from CBS's gallery of stars," playing for their favorite charity.

HOLLYWOOD (Jan. 31)-- Sandy Grushow, angry that other networks were "stealing our best reality show ideas," vowed today to "get mad and get even" when he introduced his latest creation -- Sacrificial Virgin Island.

"My good friend Les Moonves may think he can come along and rip-off our shows willy-nilly," a visibly angry Grushow said. "Well, two can play that game."

To that end, Sacrificial Virgin Island is exactly like CBS's Virgin Island -- right down to the Virginian island that both shows are filmed on. But in Fox's version of the reality show, if the virgin is not deflowered by the end of the hour, she's "sacrificed to the island's angry gods."

"Of course, we won't actually sacrifice the virgin," said Grushow, adding that Fox's legal department won't allow it. "We'll use elaborate special effects and camera tricks to make it look like we're sacrificing the virgin. I mean, we're not barbarians here."

HOLLYWOOD (Feb. 2)-- After disappointing ratings for the premiere episode of Sacrificial Virgin Island, Fox announced that it was pulling the show from its schedule and replacing it with a new reality program, Bloodsport Island.

In Bloodsport Island, two rivals are flown to a deserted atoll in international waters where they have from sun-up to sundown to inflict any kind of punishment upon each other, up to and including death. Contestants will be given a choice of weapons, though they'll also be allowed to fashion crude armaments out of the island's sticks and rocks.

"As it turns out, we are barbarians here," a sheepish Sandy Grushow said.

BURBANK (Feb. 4)-- Executives from the major networks denounced Mob Hit, a new show airing on the WB Network that lets home viewers donate money to fund contract killings of TV programming chiefs.

"Have we lost all sense of decency?" demanded Fox programming chief Sandy Grushow. "Human misery and suffering shouldn't be fodder for a TV program."

NBC's Jeff Zucker said that while he could appreciate a show that "examines the dynamics of life on the run from an army of merciless killers," he too felt Mob Hit crossed a line. "This isn't something innocent like a little harmless adultery," he added.

Les Moonves, who has fled the country seeking asylum in South America, could not be reached for comment.

"Mob Hit is easily the sleaziest, most amoral show to reach the airwaves in all my years as a TV executive," Grushow said, as he made his way into a hastily constructed bunker beneath the Fox studios. "I wish I had thought of it first."


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