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A Moment For Truth
January 29

Arthur Conan Doyle once wrote through his famous character Sherlock Holmes, "If you rule out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be truth."

By that logic, one could argue that "The Moment of Truth", Fox's brave new entry into the great game show wars of the new millennium, is the right social experiment at the right time, where any one person at any one moment will do any one thing - even lie - to succeed. It's an election year, for crying out loud.

Also, by that logic, one could argue that "The Moment of Truth", Fox's Nebraska-sized loogie on the face of the game show world and the brainchild of people whose job is to think of such things, could very well bring about the fall of civilization as we know it.

Thirdly, one could argue that it's just a freaking game show, hardly worth mentioning in a world where our economy is on the brink and no one's willing to do jack about it.

One could argue a lot of things, really.

But there are a couple of things that can't be argued, and those are the arguments on both far ends of the extreme. Here are a couple of examples, taken from reviews all over the web...

On one side... it "ups the ante from the old "Newlywed Game" with all manner of fake drama, tears and overwrought music" (from the Hartford Courant:,0,5792709.column).

On the other, some food for thought from the creator Howard Schultz himself: "People may think this is the end of Western civilization, but I believe the truth does set people free." (from USA Today:

Now let's throw those out. No use in wasting good bandwidth on bad rubbish. Now think about these things.

- It's a game show. More than that, it's a game show on Fox, which so far as promotions are concerned, goes by one mantra: "If it bleeds, it leads." This is, after all, the network that called "American Idol" "the audition from hell" before someone (who was probably fired by the almighty Darnell afterwards) realized that people watched for the positive aspects. You should all know this unless you've been living in a tree for the last ten years.

- People are going to get hurt. Lives are going to be shaken. Foundations will crumble. Tears will be shed... And all for your entertainment. HELLO! People get hurt on American Gladiators (happened twice this season alone). Lives are shaken on American Idol (I lost count at about 12). Foundations crumble on Survivor (remember James' not-even-touched Immunity talisman?). Tears are shed on Deal or No Deal... A LOT of tears are shed on Deal or No Deal. And these are just the popular examples. And all for your entertainment. Now don't you feel ashamed.

- This is hardly the first time that people's lives and opinions were put on trial on a game show for money. Power of 10? Without Prejudice? Even the Feud in some aspect. There was also one lost gem from the 80s, "Guilty or Innocent".

The best review would come from Slate...

"If the series consisted solely of footage of people about to tell lies or confess awkward truths, then it would be something to watch. It would be shamefully delicious to witness the contestants squirm—to see the strain in their neck tendons, the expressions caught between grimaces and slick grins. But that would be an experimental film, and this is Fox, and there's no such luck. Instead, we receive glimpses from people's private lives in a way that makes even the tawdriest of secrets sound as dull as recounted dreams. It can't help that one prerequisite for signing up for the show is, inherently, being an idiot."
Read it fully:

Yes, "The Moment of Truth" will probably get the GSNN Dirty Sock of 2008 come September, but it's by no means the (BLANK)est game show ever created. Nor will the fate of all television come to the measure of what success it managed to fleece from Idol fans too lazy to change it to "Mythbusters".

It's just the truth... within a 90 percent certainty. Not one I'd like to watch regularly.

Game Show Alphabet.

Down to the wire now. We're at "V" this week.

Game shows have been turned into board games time in and time out. Board games have been turned into game shows time in and time out. But never had we have a board game devised for television until 1960 and CBS’ "Video Village"...

This game was notable for two reasons. First, it was revolutionary for being the first living board game, right down to human-sized pegs (okay, humans) and dice. Second, this game just as the genre was trying to seal a rift caused by primetime games that promised big winnings at the expense of their integrity.

But admit it, you just watched to see a young Monty Hall, the mayor of Video Village, sing.

Okay, I did.

Video Village: 

25 Days That Rocked the Game Show World - Day 7

1999 gave us the million dollar game show as an art form in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." "Millionaire" begat "Winning Lines", "Greed", and "Twenty-One". But in a vast field of big money game shows, there was one that stood out, created a new subgenre, and challenged what we know about a game show.

May 31, 2000 - The Debut of Survivor

"Survivor" came from the UK via Sweden, who premiered it as "Expedition Robinson", the brainchild of former special forces commando Charlie Parsons. Countryman and fellow commando Mark Burnett saw the idea of 16 average people being marooned and force to adapt to a new society and saw it as perfect for American television.

CBS snatched it up, it became a monster hit, and the rest is reality TV history. Eight years and more than 150 castaways later, it's still one of television's top draws.

Not too bad for a show that many game show fans to this day refuse to acknowledge, even though it appeared in the Ultimate TV Game Show Book by Steve Ryan & Fred Wostbrock, two gods among men in our field.

Chico Alexander would rather sing on a board game board than strap himself into a lie detector on a deserted island. E-mail him at