'Temptation': Worth It?

06/10/1998 at 12:00 AM EDT

Set to debut tonight, the new six-episode Fox reality TV show "Temptation Island" seems to be generating just as much controversy as last year's Fox special "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" "Temptation" dispatches four "committed" but unmarried couples to a Caribbean resort on Ambergris Cay off Belize, where for two weeks they are separated from their mates and tempted by 26 eligible (and, from the promos, eye-catching) singles. But the grand prize is far from a cool million bucks -- it's simply a vacation. Still, as one eager guy in the group puts it, "It's like being able to go down and take part in the Pepsi Challenge, but have ladies be the actual soft drink." Not unexpectedly, conservative and religious groups have criticized the sexually charged program, as have, for the most part, TV critics. In response, Fox spokespeople have insisted that the show is not really about sex, while at the same time admitting that the show's participants were tested for sexually transmitted diseases. (Yesterday, Fox announced that one of the couples had to be booted off the show after shooting had begun when it was discovered that they had a child together.) In a meeting with TV critics on Sunday, Sandy Grushow, chairman of the Fox Entertainment Group, was asked whether or not Fox provided condoms to the "Temptation" participants. "I'm not going to glorify that question with a response," he said, obviously meaning to use the word "dignify."

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