'Temptation Island' host Mark Walberg: Expect some finale surprises
UPI News Service, 03/26/2019
Temptation Island host Mark Walberg has a warning for fans who think they know what will happen in Tuesday night's finale: "Things change so quickly on the island."
The penultimate episode of the USA Network reality series -- which follows four couples as they are "tempted" by singles before deciding whether to stay together -- saw one couple end it: Karl Collins and Nicole Tutewohl.
"Maybe both of them are in a different place, growth-wise," Walberg told UPI in a recent interview.
"I always talk about the lightning strike, falling in love where nothing else matters, and I don't know if they ever really felt at that level."
Walberg, who returned to host the show after hosting three seasons of the Fox series between 2001 and 2003, said he's learned not to try to predict the couples' decisions too early.
"What I've learned is not to believe my initial first impressions, because things change," he said.
"My gut feeling at the beginning was that [Javen Butler] and [Shari Ligons] were in a lot of trouble, and it turns out that they're kinda rock solid. So my first impressions I kind of threw out the window because things change so quickly on the island."
The host warned fans to be ready for some surprises in the finale.
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"My hope for everybody is that what they came to the island to find, they find. But like I tell them at the beginning, the questions they thought they were coming to answer change," Walberg said.
Walberg said he tries to avoid acting too much like a therapist to the cast on the island, since he isn't trained as one, but he inevitably ends up in the role of a mentor.
"I am a guy that's in a different place in my life, I'm older than these guys and I'm in a relationship where I've figured out the answers to my questions," he said.
"I'm able to offer advice when asked, and try to steer them and guide them through this process."
The host said he is glad when his life experience is able "to inform" the experience of the couples.
"When you're married 31 years, as I am, the questions about how you really feel about each other have been answered a long time ago," he said.
"But I can relate to the uncertainty one feels when they're about to commit for the rest of their life."
Walberg said that while the show's formula hasn't changed since 2003, the process has become much more "streamlined."
"When we did it originally, we were sort of inventing the genre, and now the genre has been not just invented but mastered, so it was a joy actually to show up with the crew who are experts in reality TV and can cut together a story that people care about," he said.
He said the biggest changes between the original Fox series and the USA Network series aren't on the TV side, but rather in the way the audience relates to the couples and reacts to the episodes.
"Dating is even more tempting now with all the Instagram and Tinder and Bumble and all those things that are there basically on your phone waiting to tempt you at any moment," he said.
"So anytime you open your phone, people are putting their best possible tempting self forward."
Social media has also allowed members of the audience to give feedback to the cast before they are allowed to disclose the outcome of the show.
"In the past, the cast really didn't get that feedback in real time like they do now, so I'm sure that's wearing on them that they have to make these decisions, now these decisions are being aired and people have these opinions about them, and that's gotta be tough."
Walberg said he isn't immune from online criticism.
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