TV Watchdog Group 'Appalled' by Fox's 'Temptation Island'

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - The Fox Network claims its new series, "Temptation Island", is not about sex, but "a show that is exploring the dynamics of serious relationships." However, one family organization doesn't buy that explanation, describing the program, scheduled to debut Wednesday, as "appalling."

"I think a lot of people are appalled at the concept of trying to break up committed relationships for the purpose of entertaining millions of viewers," said Melissa Caldwell of the Parents Television Council. The PTC is a division of the Media Research Center, also the parent organization of

Temptation Island features four unmarried couples, all of whom have been together between one and five years, but who will be sent to separate sides of the tropical island to live among 26 scantily-clad male and female singles and be confronted with temptation. Fox holds that the show is not intended to be about sex, but wire services report that contestants were tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

The Fox Network's web site, which promotes Temptation Island, explains the situation as an opportunity for the featured couples to find out if they are truly meant to be together: "The couples, who are willing to test their relationships, will be set up on a variety of dates with three of the singles that best reflect their ideal mate. After two weeks of exploring the single world again, the couples will have the opportunity to discover if they have found the perfect mate."

The group of singles includes a wide range of persons, including one former Playboy model, a former Miss Georgia, an ex-Los Angeles Laker dancer, and a massage therapist.

Caldwell said the show sends a flawed message about commitment.

"I can't imagine that a parent would want to subject their child to the kind of messages a program like this promises to teach, which is that a commitment, even if it is not marriage, that commitments don't matter," she said. "Parents shouldn't want their kids to watch a show that promotes these new sexual morals."

Temptation Island is just one of several TV shows riding the coattails of CBS' smash hit, Survivor. Fox's other voyeuristic venture, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?," which aired once last year, was the target of enough criticism that Fox was forced to drop the idea. Temptation Island hasn't even aired yet, and it's receiving criticism in the press.

Caldwell said the program is another way to exploit people for the purpose of entertainment.

"They can only do "Why animals attack" so many times before they have to move on to find more people to exploit," she said.