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Series / Temptation (2007)

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Syndicated Game Show based on Sale of the Century (and its then-popular Australian revival Temptation) which ran from 2007-08 and was hosted by former Arkansas Razorbacks kick returner Rossi Morreale. As usual with Sale, three players (one typically a returning champ) started off with $20 and-

...Er, sorry, 20 Temptation Dollars (henceforth "T$"). Fake money, in other words.

Anyway, the game began with a Speed Round for 30 seconds, with correct answers adding T$5 and wrong answers deducting T$5. After this was the Instant Bargain, complete with occasional incentives (extra cash, reduced price, even plane tickets), but now the player was put on a five-second "Shop Clock" instead of the auctioneer style which frequently led to more incentives.

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Following the Instant Bargain was the Fame Game, but this wasn't your mother's Fame Game - while the "Who am I?" clues remained, the solution was revealed much like a Toss-Up on Wheel of Fortune; a correct answer won T$15. The commercial bumpers promoted special offers, read by announcer Rolonda Watts, although these were later replaced with generic "60% off retail" bumpers.

The game then continued with "Knock-Off", a wholesale ripoff of Wipeout despite the whole "not owned by Fremantle Media" thing. A category was given, with 12 possible answers - nine right (for amounts of T$2, T$5, T$10, or T$15; some episodes also had a T$3 award), three wrong (which Rossi compared to knockoff handbags or jewelry). A player who found a Knock-Off was eliminated for the rest of the round; like the short-lived Dirty Rotten Cheater (2003), the less obvious answers awarded more money. Another Instant Bargain was done, followed by...

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Another Speed Round, which was essentially Dis or Dat? from You Don't Know Jack, with the same time limit and awards/penalties as the first Speed Round. This was followed by Instant Cash, which remained the same but with wallets and a much smaller top prize, then a game-ending Speed Round for +/-T$10. As on Sale, the winner was the person with the highest score, with tiebreaker questions done if needed.

The winner went on "the shopping spree of a lifetime", with prizes much like the classic Sale shopping endgame...except this prize list ended with a car or very expensive trip, with no Cash Jackpot (unless one of the tiers was $10,000 cash) or opportunity to win all the prizes on display (known as "the Lot" on prior versions). The contestant first played Super Knock-Off, which was the same as Knock-Off except with a 6/6 structure and awards of T$25, T$50, or T$100. After this, the champion could either elect to buy a prize (or a Croton watch if s/he didn't have enough to buy the lowest prize) or return on the next show.

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Saying Temptation was a disaster would be an insult to disasters - it debuted on September 10, 2007 to low ratings and low-to-no praise (most fans had been expecting either a continuation of the 1980s Sale and/or a good translation of the Aussie Temptation, and as a result blasted the resulting show for failing in almost every aspect). It didn't help that to beat the oncoming Writer's Strike, the series did about 13 episodes per taping session.

The ratings never got above 0.5, resulting in Temptation ending up in last place among the game shows airing that season; first-run episodes aired through May 23, 2008, with reruns through September 5. Most stations replaced it with Trivial Pursuit: America Plays, whose ratings were...pretty much the same, actually, despite being a much better show by comparison.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: Shopping, preceded by Super Knock-Off.
  • Bonus Space: Instant Bargain and Instant Cash.
  • Celebrity Edition: Two preview episodes aired on September 5, 2007 with former American Idol finalists competing for charity. The Nielsen rating, 0.8, was the highest the series ever got; the fact that half of those viewers tuned out afterward should tell you something.
    • Further, the preview episodes aired on MyNetworkTV, and many of the stations which didn't have the show in their own local schedules didn't bother with any network advertising of the preview.
  • Consolation Prize: Those who didn't win any Instant Cash or Instant Bargains appeared to get exactly nothing (not even their final score in cash) except "lots of love and hugs" from Rossi.
    • Even the former Idol finalists competing for charity didn't seem to have a minimum donation stated on-air, even in fine print during the credits. Think about that for a second.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: Five games was the limit for returning champs; winning your fifth game meant you had to buy a prize and retire. Not so bad if you won enough Temptation dollars for the top prize on your final day, but if you didn't...
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Rolonda Watts, who never appeared on-camera (unlike Jay Stewart in the 1980s, who sometimes helped model prizes and even filled in as co-host) and may have never been in the studio.
    • Game Show Host: Rossi Morreale.
    • Lovely Assistant: The show used male models in an attempt to attract female demographics.
  • Progressive Jackpot: Instant Cash, which allowed the leading player to spend their lead for a 1-in-3 shot at a mini-cash jackpot. The top prize began at $500 and increased by that amount per show until won (or reached $5,000, it which point it inexplicably froze); the consolation prize was $100.
  • Speed Round: Three of 'em, each 30 seconds long, the last at T$10 a question. After the last one, the player in the lead won.
  • Undesirable Prize: Rather than the vacations, household appliances, furniture, etc. of other versions, Temptation mostly offered designer women's clothing, perfume, jewelry, etc. - prizes which not many male contestants want (well, unless...). One of the largest offenders was a prize package which included backstage passes to a Chippendales show; luckily, the contestant it was offered to was female.
    • Averted in the case of Wii gaming packages, trips to Washington D.C., and a few others that harked back to better days. Sadly, outside the bonus game, these were few and far between.

This show provides examples of:

  • Cut Short: The Grand Finale, which was also the last repeat aired in single-run markets, had the champion opting to return "next time". It's not known if there was any resolution, given the show's cancellation didn't come until well after taping wrapped.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first taped week, aired March 3-7, 2008, had the either/or Speed Round played after the Fame Game and a second Fame Game for T$25 done right before Instant Cash.
  • Idiot Ball: Quite a few players got handed this during the run.
  • In Name Only: The New "Sale of the Century". Sure...
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The pitchfilm, distributed to stations in 2006-07. While showing clips of the two pilots, taped in 2006 on the Aussie Temptation set, the pitchfilm didn't show any of the minigames that made it to the actual show and was almost entirely focused on the shopping aspect. It also tried to use the popularity of the Aussie version as incentive, with one of those clips showing the legit Fame Game.
    • Also somewhat applies to debut promos sent out in 2007, since they also used clips of the pilots (though in fairness, there's instances dating back to at least 1972 of the genre doing that). They were trustworthy in showing Knock-Off and the watered-down Fame Game, albeit with flashier graphics because those clips were from the pilots as well.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Used if they wanted to save money.

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