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Lead Us Not Onto To 'Temptation' Island?

  • Published Feb 09, 2001
Lead Us Not Onto To 'Temptation' Island?
By now, you no doubt have heard about the latest reality-based television show on FOX-TV network, called Temptation Island. What could a show with such a titillating title possibly be about? Heres the answer in FOXs own words.

Temptation Island is a short-order unscripted series in which four unmarried couples travel to the Caribbean to test and explore the strength of their relationship. Once on the island, the couples are introduced to eligible singles and then separated from their partners until the final day of their stay. Over this period, each couple will get the opportunity to answer questions about themselves and one another, and find out if what they think they want is actually what they do want.

This is what is laughingly referred to as reality-based television. Reality, humbug! How many couples do you know who would threaten a loving relationship with their mate by allowing themselves to be tempted by 12 hard bodies of the opposite sex all in front of millions of viewers (or should I say, voyeurs)?

FOX executives tried to deny their new series is about sex. Upon further investigation, however, it was revealed that all the participants were tested for sexually transmitted diseases and condoms were freely available to one and all.

Reality-based television shows have been around for decades, beginning with Candid Camera and Ripleys Believe-it-or-not. How many of us anxiously sucked in our breath when Evel Knievel thrilled us by clearing 50 cars stacked in the center of the Los Angeles Coliseum, or when he virtually flew over a quarter mile chasm at Snake River Canyon in his rocket powered Skycycle?

Shows like Rescue 911, Cops, and the much acclaimed, Americas Most Wanted are all reality-based entertainment, but with a dual objective to entertain and inform the audience. Temptation Island on the other hand, is more like a lowbrow version of Cast Away meets Jerry Springer.

Music cable channel, MTV produces its own reality series, Real World which puts half-a-dozen co-eds together for a six-week social experiment. Viewers were allowed to watch one hour of the groups more controversial encounters, which are selectively edited from hundreds of hours of footage. Real World is tame compared to Comedy Centrals beer drinking, flatulating, cursing, woman-degrading half-hour of exhibitionism called, The Man Show. Like it or not, thats where cable television programming is headed. As free speech advocates say, if you dont like it, dont tune in. Sounds like good advice to me.

Network television, however, has a different mandate. They use the free, public airwaves to deliver their entertainment right into our homes whether without a subscription. According to the Federal Communications Commission, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and now, PAX are held to a higher standard than Cable programmers. Nearly everyone, regardless of age, location, or social status has unfettered access to a television set, complete with four or five obligatory channels.

In a misguided attempt to compete with cable television, the broadcast networks not just FOX seem to be sliding down a slippery slope into an entertainment cesspool. I believe that the American viewing public will ultimately refuse to play this game of moral limbo (how low can you go) and demand that programmers clean up their act. In fact, were counting on it! The Dove Foundation will soon launch a national grass-roots initiative called, Clean Up Your Act.

FOX thought they had found the ratings Holy Grail last season with How to Marry a Multi-Millionaire. They missed on two counts. First, they underestimated the TV audiences sense of good taste, (the show did miserably in the ratings especially taking into account all the media hype beforehand). Secondly, the shows producers didnt do a thorough enough background check on the contestants. Groom-to-be, Rick Rockwell had a spousal abuse conviction and several shaky financial dealings stinking up his hope chest.

One would think that FOX had learned its lesson the time around . . . But NO!!! It seems that one of the unmarried couples chosen for Temptation Island shares a birth child, a clear violation of the shows rules, if a show of this ilk can claim to have any rules. So much for background checks and so much for keeping secrets. An Internet news service has discovered the cherished secret outcome of T.I. They revealed that none of the couples on Temptation Island yielded to their seducers.

Temptation Island is really about FOX giving into temptation, by exchanging standards of decency for ratings. Their sole objective is to attract the most eyeballs to a timeslot by employing an age-old peepshow tactic by marrying sex with voyeurism.

If you want to do something to address this issue, you may express your concerns about Temptation Island in a letter. Be sure to include your desire to see more uplifting, decent programs on the air programs you can watch with your children. (Today Shows Katie Couric admitted to chasing her nine-year-old daughter off to bed when she wondered what mom was watching.)

Write to:
Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Co-Presidents
Twentieth Century Fox Television
2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 809
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: 310-369-2733
Fax: 310-369-8726

Or, Email:
Sarah Goldstein, Vice President, Media Relations

Send a copy of your letter to your local FOX TV affiliate, and to as many local and national advertisers as you can remember. You can find a list of T.I. advertisers online published by our friends at the Parents Television Council, ( Tell the network, affiliates and advertisers why you are not watching Temptation Island, and here is what really counts tell them what competing network program you ARE watching. TV executives dont feel theyve lost a viewer if that person would not have watched TV anyhow. They do realize a loss, however, if that viewer conscientiously voted for a competitors program during the same timeslot. Remember, be kind but firm. People rarely take advice from an enemy.

Written By: Dick Rolfe from The Dove Foundation
The Dove Foundation will be supplying the movie reviews starting sometime in March.