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Reality TV fans were thrilled when it was announced USA would bring “Temptation Island” back to the airwaves more than 15 years after its original run. Four seasons later, the revamped series is as popular as ever. But does the reboot connect to the original?
First, a history lesson: The show first gained popularity when it ran for three seasons on Fox from 2001 to 2003. After that, “Temptation Island” stopped airing while more and more reality TV series came to fill the void it left behind. However, in 2018 it was announced the show had a new home on USA Network. Despite years away, its intriguing format and goal of testing couples at a crossroads in their relationship remains as juicy as ever. Who doesn't want to see people battle steamy temptation on an island paradise?
Although its premiere in 2019 on USA marks a complete reboot, detached from the original Fox run, the show still has some necessary connective tissue to the original that makes “Temptation Island” the popular relationship experiment it is.
A Tried And True Format
Many may not know “Temptation Island” is based on the Dutch reality series “Blind Vertrouwen,” which roughly translates to “Blind Faith.” Although it spent a lot of time off the air in the United States, some version of the popular series has been on the air since 2001 in more than a dozen other countries like Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Mexico, and more.
The reason for its enduring success is simply that the structure of what these couples are put through works. Like the original Fox run, the USA Network show takes four couples and separates them into two idyllic men and women’s villas where they each live with 12 singles trying to entice them into entering something new. Can they resist temptation? Is their relationship strong enough to survive the separation? Is there someone better for them than the one they’re with? All these questions and more get answered at the conclusion of each season.
Twists and Turns
Although the core format of the show remains consistent, there were a few tweaks that happened when it rebooted at USA. For example, on the current run of "Temptation Island,” the men and women meet for weekly bonfires where they get to see clips of what their significant other has been up to recently. However, in the original run of the show, each person was given the option to refuse to see their clip. If they did so, their significant other was barred from watching that week's clips as well.
However, the new run of episodes does not give the couples that choice. Instead, they see what their partner has been up to no matter what so they can take it in, learn from it, and figure out how it applies to their growth journey on the island. The fact that it makes for more dramatic viewing is just a bonus.
The original run of the show also allowed the couples to block their partner from dating one of the singles. While this didn’t mean they couldn’t get to know each other in the villas they live in, it did mean they couldn’t have a one-on-one outing. Season 1 of the show’s return on USA kept the blocking rule in place but ditched it for subsequent seasons.
The Host With The Most
Perhaps the biggest thing linking the new episodes of “Temptation Island” on USA to its original run in the early 2000s is host Mark L. Walberg. Whether it was on Fox or its new home on USA, there has not been an American version of “Temptation Island” that didn’t have Walberg at the helm making sure things run smoothly and the couples get as much sage advice and relationship wisdom as possible on their journey of self-discovery.
The South Carolina native, who can also boast being a keynote speaker, corporate host, and author, according to his website, helped get fans excited for the reboot of the series when it was first announced. Thanks to him, viewers could feel like the show they knew and loved more than a decade ago was picking right up where it left off.
Relationships may come and go on “Temptation Island,” but Mark L. Walberg is forever.
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