The return of Temptation Island


The controversial US reality show Temptation Island is set to return to television screens soon according to a recent announcement from Banijay Group. A hosting network has not yet been named, but the announcement has stirred the interests of fans of the original series.

Unfortunately for ardent fans of Temptation Island, the show was cancelled after three seasons and was showered in controversy. Here we take a look back at where it all went wrong for Temptation Island, and suggest what producers can do to make the reboot a success.


Temptation Island first aired on FOX in 2001 and was just one of a plethora of reality TV shows airing at the time. The premise of the show was to test the fidelity of several couples who agreed to live on Ambergris Caye in Belize with stunningly attractive members of the opposite sex.

The show ran for three seasons with a total of twenty-six episodes, and throughout it's time, it attracted heavy criticism. The main problem that critics had with the show, was that it openly encouraged infidelity and what the American Family Association described as 'illicit sex'.

In the first season all contestants were screened for sexually transmitted diseases, and openly encouraged to transgress from their partners. In fact, in the first season Ytossie Patterson and Taheed Watson were made to leave the show when it was revealed that they had a child together.

The American Family Association and other organisations implored viewers to boycott the show by airing their discontent with the shows advertisers. The scandal of the show contributed to its falling ratings, which ultimately led to its demise.

How can the reboot be a success?

Although times have moved on, the idea of actively encouraging infidelity on a reality show is still taboo. If Banijay want the reboot of Temptation Island to be successful, then they are better off ditching this idea all together.

Instead they should look at the example of the recent reality shows created by the original series production company Endemol. The Dutch-based media group were responsible for producing Big Brother, Temptation Island and Love Island.

The Love Island Lesson: When Patrick Kielty and Fearne Cotton introduced Callum Best, Abbey Clancy and Bianca Gasgoigne to Celebrity Love Island in 2005, no-one could have predicted the success of the show to the come.

The first incarnation of the show had its admirers, but it wasn't until nearly a decade later that the show took off. ITV2 took the rights to Love Island, employed Caroline Flack as the face of the show, a quick-witted Scottish comedian as the narrator and normal people as contestants, as oppose to Z-List celebrities.

The first few series were released to fairly tame acclaim, but the 2017 and 2018 editions have swept the UK by storm. Daytime television shows dedicate themselves to discussing the latest Love Island gossip, newspapers feature several articles about the shows main protagonists every day and an estimated 2.1 million people tune in to watch the show every night.

That's a figure that may not sound impressive in a country with a population of over 60 million people, but to put that figure into context, the show has been contending with the FIFA World Cup for audience share. An estimated 31 million people watched England's 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the semi-final.

Audience figures have rarely reached anywhere over 5 million in the UK for anything other than royal televised events or sporting fixtures. So for Love Island to be regularly reaching 2.1 million on a secondary channel is highly impressive.

The main appeal of the show seems to be its promotion of normal people, with everyday problems. Although the contestants have the physiques of Greek Gods, their problems are relatable to the general public.

There are no questionable moral aspects of the show, and any moral issues raised can be used to educate the viewers. The topic of 'gas lighting' was raised in the 2018 version of the show and used to educate viewers on the topic of emotional abuse.

Further to that, the show has appealed to a young, technologically-savvy audience. During live shows, #LoveIsland is regularly trending worldwide and social media is awash with Love Island memes.

The popularity of the show ensures that friends speak about it on a regular basis, whether this is via the group chat, or face-to-face. It's clear, Love Island fans just can't get enough of it, they get engaged in any way they possibly can. The Love Island drinking game is a huge hit with students, this basically involves taking a drink every time one of the shows common themes occurs.

Similarly, Love Island themed parties are becoming a regular occurrence. And with the recent weather in the UK, where better to start than Love Island bbq bingo? Through taking a typical game of bingo and adapting it, fans of the show can get their Love Island fix while they hang out with friends. The craze for the show is widespread and its appeal is basic, without resorting to psychological gimmicks. Temptation Island could do worse than following the Love Island model to make their reboot a success.

The Ex on the Beach lesson: MTV air ex on the Beach in the UK, and the show combines the elements of Love Island, Geordie Shore and Made in Chelsea to appeal to a wide range of reality TV fans.

Contestants are placed in a luxurious Mediterranean villa and gradually, their exes are added to the villa for an added bit of drama. Contestants regularly decide to couple with each other, before the introduction of their ex-partner of 5 years.

The main appeal of the show is the cross-reference of other successful reality formats. Gaz AKA 'The Parsnip' and Charlotte from Geordie Shore have all been featured on the show, dragging in viewers.


Temptation Island was a cult TV show that was perhaps a little bit ahead of its time. However, the main sticking point was the moral conundrum of encouraging infidelity and providing the perfect environment to wreck relationships and families.

In order to be a success, the reboot of the show should learn from the example of Love Island and Ex on the Beach to reach a wide variety of viewers without alienating groups of people or contravening moral standards.

Despite the failure of shows such as Big Brother and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, there are still opportunities for successful reality shows to flourish in the current day. Temptation Island needs to learn the lessons of previous failures and adapt to a modern viewership. We are certainly looking forward to seeing how the reboot pans out!

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