Fox’s controversial reality show ”Temptation Island” won’t end on Wednesday, Feb. 21 (9 p.m.) as originally planned. After scoring the network?s highest Wednesday night ratings in eight years (17.1 million viewers) and challenging the Emmy winning ”The West Wing,” the singles shagfest has been extended by one episode (to air Feb. 28).
According to ”Island” host Mark L. Walberg, next week’s installment is pure sleaze to please: The three ”committed but unmarried” couples will finally embark on ”dream dates” with their selected singles. As always on the Belize set program, the couples will have the means, motive, and opportunity to consummate these resort relationships. ”There’s more action coming than we’ve seen so far,” Walberg, 38, tells EW.com. ”All I can say is that there is a little shocker, and that what happens from now on is very intimate.”
Though Walberg — who comes off as a combination of ”Fantasy Island”’s Mr. Rourke and ”The Dating Game”’s Chuck Woolery — wasn’t always up on island gossip, the crew made sure he knew who was doing what (or whom, as the case may be). ”Every night we’d all go to our favorite bar and say, ‘Did you hear what happened today?’ It wasn’t the stuff of orgies, though, more like fraternity high jinks.”
Walberg won’t reveal whether any of the couples split up over their island indiscretions, but he does believe that males have more to fear. ”For the men, the temptation is of the flesh,” he theorizes. ”But for the women, it was of the heart, which is far more dangerous.”
Here’s EW.com’s guide to this week’s best sweeps offerings:
THURSDAY, Feb. 15
”Friends” (8 p.m., NBC
In this 40 minute episode, Joey accidentally informs a washed up castmate (Susan Sarandon) that her soap character’s about to get killed off. One ”How YOU doin’?” later, and the rest is history.
”Gilmore Girls” (8 p.m., the WB)
Rory wants to walk like an Egyptian to a Bangles concert with three girlfriends, but her mom turns a hazy shade of winter when she meets a college guy who could be her eternal flame.
”Survivor” (8 p.m., CBS)
In round three of the sweeps showdown between NBC and CBS, things are getting wacky on the island continent. On Ogakor, the 40somethings (Tina and Keith) unite against Jerri. Meanwhile, it looks like ”Lord of the Flies” time at Kucha, where Michael’s bloodlust could lead to killing a wild pig. Obviously he hasn’t seen ”Hannibal.”
FRIDAY, Feb. 16
”Popstars” (8:30 p.m., the WB)
It’s pink slip day on the docusoap, as five aspiring singers are selected to join the girl group, and five get, well, sacked. Maybe the five losers could join up with the three ousted ”Making the Band” guys and… are you listening, MTV?
”Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (10 p.m., NBC)
Khandi Alexander (”The Corner”) plays a police sergeant who’s raped. First her kid dies on ”ER,” then she’s a crack addict in ”The Corner,” and now she’s a rape victim. Someone give Khandi a break.
”Nash Bridges” (10 p.m., CBS)
Pastel linen and fake bake reunion time! Don Johnson’s ”Miami Vice” partner Philip Michael Thomas guests as Nash’s old pal, a U.S. Marshal. Now all you need is a turquoise blazer and a Glenn Frey CD to complete the evening.
SATURDAY, Feb. 17
”All New Bloopers 4” (10 p.m., ABC)
The Beatles once asked, ”All the lonely people, where do they all belong?” Well, if you?re watching this clips show, you know the answer.
”MAD TV” (11 p.m., Fox)
Guest host Freddie Prinze Jr. is accosted by Rusty, the hyperactive cable access reporter; Nelly performs ”Ride Wit Me”; and the skits include ”Bill Clinton at the Grammys.”
SUNDAY, Feb. 18
”The Simpsons” (8 p.m., Fox)
Sideshow Bob (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) is back. This time, he’s managed to snag a job at Springfield Elementary (hey, they hired Groundskeeper Willie!), where he masterminds a plan to kidnap Bart and keeeeel his old boss Krusty the Clown.
”The Princess and the Marine” (9 p.m., NBC)
In this ripped from the headlines love story, former ”Saved by the Bell” star and Tiger Beat pinup boy Mark-Paul Gosselaar plays a U.S. Marine who falls for a Bahraini princess (Marisol Nichols). But what will Principal Belding think?
”Grosse Pointe” (9:30 p.m., the WB)
Season finale. Hunter announces plans to marry Dweezil Zappa (playing himself) and hires Elizabeth ”Showgirls” Berkley to ”star” as a bridesmaid. Wonder if she does bat mitzvahs too.
MONDAY, Feb. 19
”7th Heaven” (8 p.m., the WB)
Fi, Fie, Fo, Fum, who is trying to get some? Condom mania breaks loose in the Camden house when Lucy finds a rubber in the laundry. But don’t blame Mary (Jessica Biel), who’s home on a short furlough from her grandparents’ house.
”Ally McBeal” (9 p.m., Fox)
Fish and John realize they fight so much it’s time to see a therapist (”Best of Show” scene stealer Fred Willard). Jackson (Taye Diggs) defends a woman (guest Kelly Lynch) who fired all of her male employees. Hear her roar!
TUESDAY, Feb. 20
”Angel” (9 p.m., the WB)
Angel (David Boreanaz) embarks on a suicidal mission to kill a powerful demon planning to unleash hell on earth. Sounds like an installment of the ”Left Behind” series.
”Frasier” (9 p.m., NBC)
Frasier inadvertently dates station manager Kenny’s wife (indie star Illeana Douglas). Meanwhile, a bloated Daphne keeps binge eating. Well, she IS eating for two.
”Ed” (10 p.m., NBC)
John Goodman stars as the former Stuckeybowl owner who wants the alley back from Ed. Since the Grammys are on during the show’s regular 8 p.m. time slot Wed. night, NBC is airing the original episode tonight (and repeating it tomorrow).
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 21
”The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards” (8 p.m., CBS)
Watch the oddball duet of the millennium: Eminem and Elton John. (And no, they won’t be singing ”Macho Man.”) The ceremony’s other highlights should include performances from U2, Madonna, Destiny’s Child, Faith Hill, ‘N Sync, and for mom and dad, Paul Simon.
”That ’70s Show” (8 p.m., Fox)
If the Grammys aren’t your thing, here’s a repeat sure to invoke nostalgia: Donna and Eric are caught getting it on… in his mom’s Vista Cruiser. At least it wasn’t a Pinto.
”The West Wing” (9 p.m., NBC)
While the Prez is away, the Surgeon General hints that marijuana should be legalized. Where was she during the Clinton presidency?