U.S. Viewers Join ‘Temptation’ Craze

Apr 23, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Stations continue to give in to “Temptation.” Twentieth Television’s upcoming Monday-through-Friday game show has now topped the 75 percent mark, with 170 markets on board to carry the series beginning Sept. 10. Rossi Morreale hosts the series, based on the U.K. and Australian hit “Temptation,” which in turn was based on “Sale of the Century,” and FremantleMedia North America is the producer.

As the series prepares to enter production next month, Twentieth executives are fine-tuning the series. “Temptation” features prizes that will be available to viewers for discounted purchase via phone or at the program’s Web site. That makes the series both sponsor- and audience-friendly, according to Paul Buccieri, president of programming for Twentieth Television.

“We have been able to develop some unique partnerships because of the shopping element of this series,” Mr. Buccieri said. “Products that contestants are winning will be available to viewers at home, who can buy them through the Internet.”

The show’s premise features three contestants competing to earn cash by answering questions about pop culture and current events. The winner is the player with the most money at the end of the game. Throughout the program, contestants are tempted to spend their money to buy high-end prizes at bargain prices.

“Its interactive, transactional shopping format sets it apart from any other game show on television, with a new and more interesting business model for the genre,” said Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of FremantleMedia North America.

Analysts estimate that a new game show series that breaks a 1.5 rating could pull in more than $20 million in barter and license fees during its first year. One noted “Temptation’s” natural opening for product integration could pave the way for Twentieth and Fremantle to snag “several more” million on top of that.

Twentieth Television has not brought out a game show for national daytime television this decade. However, the genre clearly is starting to catch fire in the development ranks. Prime-time network hits such as “American Idol” and “Deal or No Deal” continue to perform in the ratings. In addition, viewership for three of the four game shows currently in first-run syndication — “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” — is either up or holding even compared to last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

“In syndication, there is a better chance of sampling and greater success where the game has a proven track record, often the same host, viewer involvement and a substantial prize, though the size of the prize seems not to be as critical as in prime time,” said Lisa Hollaender, Katz Television Group’s director of program research, who has said the genre is currently underplayed.

The series caught the eye of Twentieth executives, who saw the international format catch fire overseas. “Temptation” scored a 34 share in Australian prime time, and producers of the series hope to duplicate the effect for daytime audiences.

“Our extensive focus groups have already given high marks across the board, not only because it’s such a strong formula but now, as much as ever, audiences are in the mood for light, fun entertainment and a game show like this is the perfect fit,” Mr. Buccieri said.

In addition to “Temptation,” one other game show will launch in syndication this fall, “Let’s Do Crosswords” from Merv Griffin.

Twentieth, meanwhile, also is launching morning talk and news strip “The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet” in national first-run syndication this fall.