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Series / Temptation (2007)

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Temptation is an Australian Game Show that aired on the Nine Network from 2005 to 2009. It was a reboot of the Australian version of Sale of the Century, which had originally been cancelled in 2001.

Its gameplay was relatively similar to the original, consisting of three contestants answering trivia questions on the buzzer to earn cash. While features such as the Fame Game questions (now known as "Famous Faces" because the spaces on the board were identified by photos of celebrities) and the Gift Shop (a.k.a. Instant Bargains) were present, there were a few new twists, including the Famous Faces board also containing Lifelines allowing you to steal money from another opponent, lock an opponent out from the next three questions, or have the next three questions worth double if you answer them correctly, each round now ending with a Speed Round (the first three being 20 seconds, and the last being the traditional 60-second speed round from classic Sale), and a brand new endgame for the daily winner.

The champion first played "Top Ten" — a 60-second speed round with 10 questions — for a chance to add $50,000 to a cash jackpot, which started at $50,000 and could go as high as $900,000. The champion was then offered a prize, and given a choice to either take the prize and leave the show, or resist temptation and risk it for a bigger prize by returning on the next episode. If they won six games in a row, the champion received all five prizes from the previous episodes. Winning a seventh game in a row awarded all five prizes, and the cash jackpot (the equivalent to "the Lot" of classic Sale), while winning one last time doubled the jackpot.

In the 2007-08 season, Fremantle Media premiered a U.S. version in syndication, Temptation: The New Sale of the Century, hosted by former Arkansas Razorbacks kick returner Rossi Morreale. The show attempted to blend elements of the classic U.S. Sale with Temptation, with each game beginning with a 30-second speed round with questions worth $5 each (referred to throughout the show as "Temptation dollars"), followed by the first 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. 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 category was given, with 12 possible answers - nine right (for amounts of $2, $5, $10, or $15; some episodes also had a $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 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 +/-$10 per-question. 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 $25, $50, or $100. After this, the champion could either elect to buy a prize (or a Croton watch if they didn't have enough to buy the lowest prize) or return on the next show.

Temptation debuted on September 10, 2007 to low ratings. The ratings never got above 0.8, resulting in Temptation ending up in last place among the game shows airing that season. It didn't help that to beat the oncoming Writers Guild of America strike, the series did about 13 episodes per taping session. 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.

This show provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Bonus Round: Shopping, preceded by Super Knock-Off.
  • Bonus Space: Instant Bargain and Instant Cash.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The U.S. version frequently referred to its score and spending money as "Temptation dollars".
  • Celebrity Edition: Two preview episodes aired on September 5, 2007 with former American Idol finalists competing for charity.
  • 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" 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.
  • 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 $25 done right before Instant Cash.
  • Game Show Host: Rossi Morreale.
  • 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...
  • Idiot Ball: Quite a few players got handed this during the run.
  • Lovely Assistant: The show used male models in an attempt to attract female demographics.
  • 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.
  • 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, at which point it inexplicably froze); the consolation prize was $100.
  • Speed Round: Three of 'em, each 30 seconds long, the last at $10 Temptation dollars 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. Gender-neutral prizes, such as Wii gaming packages and trips to Washington D.C., did appear, but they were few and far between outside the bonus game.