PHP's success has little to do with syntax, or model/view interleaving. PHP is successful because it is extremely easy to deploy and offers minimal sandboxing.
I use CGI perl or mod_perl for all of my web based development. But I would not say that perl is as easy to deploy as PHP. If perl had a simple, more "secure-for-the-average-hosting-provider" sandboxing scheme, then you'd see perl more available and potentially as widely adopted as PHP is.
A discussion of PHP vs Perl is barely related to a discussion of the merits of template systems.
my @a=qw(random brilliant braindead); print $a[rand(@a)];