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on 'Island' show
Posted By Paul Sperry On 01/09/2001 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
The object of the game show is to resist the advances of scantily clad singles on a Caribbean island. The contestants are couples who are supposed to be committed and faithful, but who aren’t married — and don’t have kids.
At least those were the rules that Fox TV set for its racy — and controversial — reality series, “Temptation Island,” which debuts tomorrow.
But one couple raising a toddler misled producers about their family situation, and made the final cut as one of the four sets of contestants, WorldNetDaily has learned.
“It was a big mess,” said a Fox worker involved in the show’s video-taping and editing process.
He says the couple made it onto the island resort off Belize and into about five days worth of shooting before producers realized their background check had fallen short and they’d been scammed.
“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,” said the worker, who wished to go unnamed. “They didn’t want to be responsible for breaking up a family.”
Fox was burned last year when the press reported that its “Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire” groom had a restraining order issued against him by an old fiancee.
To guard against such embarrassing (and possibly actionable) disclosures, Fox tested participants in “Temptation Island” for sexually transmitted diseases.
But producers apparently weren’t as careful about checking maternity records.
“I cannot confirm or deny anything about that,” said Jill Hudson, Fox’s spokeswoman for the show in Los Angeles.
Family Research Council spokeswoman Heather Cirmo says such sloppy background checks indicate that networks care more about the ratings from such reality TV shows than the impact they’ll have on the personal lives of the participants. (The Fox worker says three cameras followed each “Island” contestant during shooting.)
“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 money to take care of this child?” Cirmo asked.
“You’ve got to do those background checks. Just testing people for STDs, as they said they did, is not sufficient,” she added. “You’re also dealing with people’s emotions and, in this case, even the well-being of their children.”
Family Research Council, along with several other traditional-values groups, is protesting the show for promoting promiscuity.
“You’re supposed to flee sexual temptation,” Cirmo said. “The Bible is very clear about that: Stay away from it. Don’t toy with it.”
“Why would you test the strength of your relationship by throwing yourself on an island with scantily clad people?” she said. “We’re talking about messing with people’s relationships.”
Cirmo says Hollywood needs to be mindful of the social repercussions from such reality-based shows.
“Unfortunately, it’s such a new trend that we’re unaware of the long-reaching implications of it,” she said.
But “Temptation Island” won’t likely be the last of the reality TV shows.
“They’re a lot cheaper to produce than sitcoms,” said the Fox worker.
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