“It’s the last weekend of production of Temptation for the time being and that should get us through for the year,” said a spokesperson. Nine could not confirm if or when the show would resume production and denied the show had been “de-commissioned.”
Nine will air new episodes in 2008 at a date to be announced.
The Temptation brand has a long history with the Nine Network, stemming back to Sale of the Century in 1980. It was revived successfully under Ed Phillips and Livinia Nixon in May 2005.
This is the third major occasion it has ceased production in Australia under its various titles, hosts, networks and Grundy / FremantleMedia license. .
The US format was first seen in Australia on the Seven Network (as Great Temptation) under Tony Barber in the early 70s. Barber hosted Sale for Nine from 1980-1990, followed by Glenn Ridge from 1991- 2001. Nine’s legendary Pete Smith was also the voice over announcer for every episode from 1980-2001, and remained with the show as warm-up host to 2007.
The fate for Temptation follows erratic figures for the show in late 2007 when it fluctuated anywhere from 900,000 to 1.3m viewers -it consistently averaged 1.1m. At the time Nine planned to strip a nightly 7pm version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? but changed its mind, keeping Temptation on air 4 nights a week. There were also rumours the show might move to 5:30pm.
Nine’s decision, like any network is based purely on the bottom line. Two and Half Men (in repeats, no less) is generating figures of 1.1m – 1.3m without any of the production costs associated with the local game show. Significantly, there are also no local quota points to be made from game shows. The audience build for the Charlie Sheen comedy mirrors that of Frasier, another “summer sitcom” that Nine couldn’t make work until it left it on air so long it actually forged competitive figures.
“Two and a Half Men has been delivering fantastic results for us across the board,” said the spokesperson. “But this weekend is (Temptation’s) last weekend of production.”
The rise for Two and a Half Men could also be attributed to slight competition from Big Brother. Interest in the reality show has waned. And without Kate Ritchie, Home and Away has also seen a modest dip. On some nights, ABC News even wins the slot.
The 2005 revival of Temptation by Phillips and Nixon was widely regarded as a successful reinvention of a format that, with such strong identity, would not be easy to revive. But the natural rapport between the two worked with viewers, and US producers even flew to Australia to copy the Nine brand for a US version. Grundys had previously franchised Barber’s Sale format to numerous territories, right down to the excited, bouncing entry from other hosts.
With the end of Temptation shoots Livinia Nixon remains on air as the National Nine News’ Melbourne weathergirl, but Ed Phillips is effectively without any other hosting vehicle.
Nine also advised its contestants across its network game shows are all paid their prizes, avoiding any National Bingo Night furore.
If you are a fan of the show your last chance to attend a recording of the current series is this Friday or Saturday via the show’s website at FremantleMedia.
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