"Temptation Island" apparently is no temptation for major advertisers, despite the desirable demographics and high ratings among young viewers the Fox TV show has been receiving. And that says a lot about a show that's based on the notion of tempting committed couples to be unfaithful.
According to the New York Times, three big TV advertisers, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Quaker Oats and Best Buy, whose commercials appeared in the first episode, have decided to get off the island. Now, the show has been forced to sell a portion of its available commercial time to bargain-hunting advertisers like Nutri-Systems and Slim Jim.
This has to be a blow to network executives, who apparently failed to learn their lesson with "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire." After stooping so low and insulting viewers' intelligence, Fox execs vowed never again to try something so ridiculous. Yeah, right.
The network then went right for America's bedrooms into the taboo area of infidelity. "This is what Fox does. It's their destiny," said Robert Thompson, executive director of Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
And while the ratings numbers probably crunch as well or better than they did with "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire," at 11.8 in the 18-to-34-year-old viewers, it's not selling with the major advertisers, who are worried about the content.
Who would have thought that advertisers would have to be the gatekeepers of decency? Of course, it shouldn't be ignored that advertisers are guided by their consumers. Perhaps they're hearing from the masses outside of the show's target range.
Most people complaining about "Temptation Island" don't watch it, Thompson said. The same kind of arguments were raised prior to the airing of the hit CBS show, "Survivor." Advertisers, he predicted, will wait for the controversy to die and slowly slip back in because they need those viewers.
If true, that's too bad. For now, it's nice to see the marketplace react to a general outcry against tackiness.