Synopsis: IfJerry SpringerandMaury had a three-way withWho Wants to Be a Millionaire, the resulting bastard kid would have been
The Moment of Truth.
Thank you to a lead-in fromAmerican Idol, the January 2008 premiere of Fox’south agonizing game show drew 23 meg viewers. By the end of
TMOT‘s ten-episode initial order, the audition had fallen by over 60%. With only four 1000000 viewers remaining halfway through the show’due south 13-episode 2d season, Fox pulled information technology for practiced. Equally an inglorious basterd,
The Moment of Truth (2008)
earned the #ix spot on T10B’s ranking of Reality Television Busts.


#9 REALTY Television receiver BUST: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

Ostensibly billed as a provocative game testify, Fox’s
The Moment of Truth (2008)simply redefined the line that people will cross for some money and 15 minutes of fame. In case you missed the evidence, contestants had the opportunity to win up to $500,000 based on their power to correctly friction match the results of a polygraph exam taken prior to filming. As you might imagine, the questions began innocuously before becoming morally compromising as the prize value increased.

When
TMOTpremiered in January 2008,American Idol
ruled the airwaves. Fox’south singing competition averaged 28 one thousand thousand viewers for both the original performances and results show each calendar week. To be clear, close to 30 million people tuned in each night. In comparison, networks salivate today if they tin can get 15 million viewers, including those who watch through DVR within 7 days of the original airing.

Taking reward of its lucrative property, Fox used the post-Idol slot to try to launch new shows. By keeping 23 million viewers from Idol’due south lead-in for its debut episode,
The Moment of Truth
made the nigh of the opportunity. Confident in its new show, the network moved
TMOT
to Monday nights afterward only four weeks. Not surprisingly, Fox heavily promoted its most risqué episode for the jumping off betoken.

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MOMENT OF TRUTH
– EPISODE 5

Like many fans, I fully embraced Jerry Springer’s transition from serious talk show host to freak evidence ringleader when it happened over xx years ago. The premise of booze-induced audience excitement and contrived concrete confrontations still doesn’t carp me. At the same time, I stopped watching his show (and others of the same ilk) subsequently the initial shock wore off.

Play a joke on tried to positionThe Moment of
Truth as a more scandalous version ofWho Wants to be Millionaire. Instead, I saw information technology every bit a more than tame version ofJerry Springer. Regardless, I avoided the prove until host Mark L. Walberg enticed me with his claim that one particular episode made him the “nearly uncomfortable he’s always been on television.” I had watched Walberg host
Temptation Island
several years before so I knew he had witnessed (and instigated) many uncomfortable boob tube moments. As a result, his argument carried weight with me.

Since a flick is worth a thousand words, I offer this epitome to gear up the scene for the famed Episode five.

EPISODE 5
CONTESTANT
VICTIM: LAUREN CLERI



The question in the background read, “Since you’ve been married have you ever pretended to be comatose instead of having sex with your husband Frank?”

Of note, I hope you picked upward on the post-obit:

  • The cheesy gear up design
    influenced by
    stolen from
    Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
  • The contestant’s seemingly jovial attitude while in the “hot seat” for one of the more than innocent questions.
  • Marker Walberg’s attempt at appearing like a serious game evidence host.
  • The contestant’s appearance (i.e. the bleach blonde hair and plunging neck line)
    • Would y’all have guessed that she worked at a pilus salon, or that she took her wedding ceremony ring off to appear single?
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As the contestant, 26-year-old Lauren Cleri brought her husband (a NYC police force officer), parents and siblings for support. Based on what transpired, she arguably invited them as a grade of torture instead.


Moment of Truth - Laura Cleri
From L to R: Lauri Cleri (contestant), Frank (husband), and mystery guest

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
– THE FORMAT

With respect to the bodily game,The Moment of Truth
contestants needed to answer 21 questions truthfully in society to win the yard prize of $500,000. However, they could back out at any fourth dimension and walk away with accumulated “winnings” based on the following tiers.

  1. $10K afterwards answering 6 questions truthfully.
  2. $25K afterwards answering another five questions truthfully (11 in full).
  3. $100K subsequently answering another 4 questions truthfully (15 in total).
  4. $200K afterwards answering another iii questions truthfully (eighteen in total).
  5. $350K after answering another 2 questions truthfully (20 in total).
  6. $500K after answering 1 final question truthfully (21 in total).

Clearly, a contestant needed to walk abroad earlier giving a wrong/untruthful answer. The person conducting the lie detector test presumably had the only say when determining the truthfulness of the answer. If that standard makes you question the show’s legitimacy, you lot’re not lonely. Then again, the coin seemed secondary to the potential for
fame
shame.


THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
– EPISODE 5 QUESTIONS

By detailing the questions and answers revealed on the bear witness, I hope to save an hour of your life. All the same, if you crave the fatigued-out, overly-hyped suspense of the actual episode, click


hither

.

TIER 1 / QUESTION 1: Have you lot ever told a customer that you liked their hair style when you know you didn’t?

Answer:
No.

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Result:
True.

Reaction:
Huh? That’s better than most of us tin say. Don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed.

TIER one / QUESTION two:Have y’all ever flashed a stranger merely for laughs?

Respond:
Aye.

Issue:
True.

Reaction:
Can’t you just see her walking downwardly Bourbon Street with layers of beads around her neck after a drunken afternoon of flashing her tatas? Well, I hope that’s all she exposed.

TIER 1 / QUESTION 3: Would y’all give food to a stray canis familiaris before you’d give information technology to a homeless person?

Answer:
Yeah.

Result:
True.

Reaction:
Despite groans from the audition, the contestant doubled down on her response. Specifically, she justified her answer by commenting that a domestic dog has a cute face but a homeless person has a dingy face. At this betoken, I knew I’d be comfortable with anything that happened to her.

TIER one / QUESTION iv: Have you ever derived pleasure when one of your siblings got into trouble?

Respond:
Yep.

Result:
True.

Reaction:
Yawn. Afterward all, who hasn’t?

TIER 1 / QUESTION 5: Have you e’er been fired from a job for stealing money?

Reply:
Yes.

Consequence:
True.

Reaction:
If this question makes you feel bad for her, scroll support to Question 3. As a quick reminder, she would rather give nutrient to a stray dog instead of a homeless person.

TIER 1 / QUESTION 6: If you knew you wouldn’t get caught, would y’all steal money from your place of employment?

She won’t wait so comfortable later on.

Answer:
No.

Result:
True. Reached the $10K prize level.

Reaction:
At this point, nosotros knew her price for being publicly humiliated in forepart of millions of people. Specifically, she only needed $10,000 to confirm that she’south a thief who’southward thinks more highly of stray dogs than homeless people.

TIER two / QUESTION 7: Since you’ve been married have you always pretended to be asleep instead of having sexual activity with your husband Frank?

Answer:
Yes.

Upshot:
True.

Reaction:
The contestant’s respond certainly shouldn’t accept offended anyone. Yet, she didn’t need to reply by saying, “Pretended to exist asleep. Pretended to have a headache. Yeah.” Eh oh Frank, this isn’t looking good for you.

TIER two / QUESTION 8: Do you blame your husband for your lack of shut friends?

Answer:
Yep.

Consequence:
True.

Reaction:My Spidey sense started to go into overdrive at this indicate. Specifically, I wondered in which management the line of questioning would get. Might she exist justified for her actions? In retrospect, her lack of friends probable related to her flawed personality.

TIER 2 /
QUESTION
nine: Would you ever be a surrogate female parent for your sis if she were unable to take children?

Reply:
Aye.

Result:
True.

Reaction:
Finally a selfless answer. I approximate she’s at least partially homo.

TIER 2 / QUESTION 10: Do you think your parents are proud of you lot?

Answer:
No.

Result:
Truthful.

Reaction:
As you lot might imagine, both daughter and parents teared up for this question. After hearing the respond, Lauren’s dad confirmed that he had e’er been proud of her. Meanwhile, I said to myself, “Hold your horses, she’s not washed yet.”

TIER ii / QUESTION 11: Do y’all know things about your father that yous continue secret from your mother?

Answer:Yes.

Result:
True. Reached $25K prize level

Reaction: Similar father, similar daughter. Actually, I felt for Lauren’south mom and wondered whether she’d interrogate her secretive hubby that dark or wait until they got home. Plain, Lauren’s price to throw a wrench in her parents’ relationship (and reveal her ain low self-esteem) was a absurd 25 Gs.

TIER 3 / QUESTION 12: Exercise yous secretly stay in touch with any boyfriends that your husband does not know near?

Answer:
No.

Result:
Truthful.

Reaction: I instantly idea that she probably told her hubby about being Facebook friends with old boyfriends, only refrained from detailing whatsoever face-to-face encounters with them. So again, she might surprise us.



TIER 3 / QUESTION thirteen: Accept you always taken off your hymeneals ring to appear equally if you lot were single?

Answer:
Aye.

Issue:
True.

Reaction:
Okay, back on rail.

TIER 3 / QUESTION 14: Exercise you believe you might have been in love with another man on your nuptials day?

Answer:
Aye.

Result:
True.

Reaction: Like toWho Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Moment of Truth
offered a lifeline in the course of relief from having to answer a particularly tough / embarrassing question.
TMOT

provided a twist in that family members could likewise provide relief in case they didn’t want to hear the answer. Whether overly trusting or overly stupid, Frank didn’t apply the lifeline after hearing this question. What a mistake that proved to be!

Right on cue, Cleri’s ex-young man walked on the set in order to ask the next question. I admit that I jumped out of my chair and clapped when I saw him. If y’all’re wondering, he was the unidentified “mystery invitee” in the before picture with Lauren and her blindsided married man.

TIER 3 / QUESTION 15 (as delivered by the ex-boyfriend): If I wanted to get dorsum together with you, would you exit your husband?

The questions at this point certainly had reached the danger zone on the cringe-worthy scale. I can sympathize the married man non offering her a lifeline. Later all, he deserved an answer. So again, it could take been handled much meliorate in private.

Fortunately for the couple, Lauren’s sister hit the buzzer to stop question from existence answered. Fortunately for the viewers, the reprieve would be short-lived.

REPLACEMENT QUESTION (also asked past the ex-boyfriend): Do you believe I’m the man you should exist married to?


Moment of Truth
On the proverbially hot seat.

Reply:
Yeah.

Result:
True. Reached the $100K prize level.

Reaction:Conspicuously, the contestant didn’t want to stay married to her hubby. Still, was it worth $100K to let him know on a television testify? I guess then.

Perhaps thinking it couldn’t get whatsoever worse, Lauren and her family decided to printing forrard. Really, her mom recommended that she terminate the public humiliation. Didn’t she know . . .



Fortunately for the residual of us, Lauren ignored the advice.

TIER 4 / QUESTION xvi: Since you’ve been married, accept yous ever had sexual relations with someone other than your husband?

Answer:
Well, wow, um. I’m going to exist honest and say, “Yes.”

Result:
True.

Reaction:Before each commercial break, viewers saw this question being asked as a teaser to stay tuned. I went back and along several times throughout the episode with the post-obit thoughts.

  • They’re showing this clip fashion likewise much. It’s a flim-flam making us promise she’ll say, “Yes,” but in the end, she’ll say, “No.”
  • She’s a despicable person. She’southward going to say, “Yes.”
  • That’s too cruel. She has to say, “No.”
  • He’due south part of this charade then he knows she’ll say, “Aye.”
  • Nah, he looks like a wounded puppy who doesn’t know. She’ll say, No.” Hopefully, he can use that cute canis familiaris face in case he ever falls on hard times and wants to eat.

When it actually happened, I had the following reaction:



From greatness to jumping the shark in the matter of minutes.

TIER 4 / QUESTION 17: Do yous recall you’re a skillful person?

Respond:
Yes.

Result:
False.

Reaction:
That should accept been a slam douse. She merely spent the better part of an hour detailing her lack of integrity in forepart of the globe. By merely about any definition, she’south not a good person. In an article published past the
New York Post
after her appearance, she challenged the result past proverb, “I am a good person. I’m not a murderer, I’m not a serial killer.” Wow, brains to match her beauty!

Upon further reflection, the producers disgusted me for setting upwards the contestant. Subsequently destroying her spousal relationship and hurting her chances for future employment, she walked away with admittedly nothing. I’1000 certain they knew she would trip up on this question and waited to utilize it afterward she had won some coin (and lost all of her self-dignity).

AFTERMATH

Not surprisingly, the couple’s marriage didn’t survive. For a
People
magazine article published 2 months after the episode aired, the contestant revealed that she and her husband no longer lived together. Furthermore, she commented that they didn’t have whatever intention to reunite. She expressed regret for appearing on the show, only said, “I’m thankful. It sped up the process of finding what Frank and I demand.” Would you be surprised to observe out that she likewise said, “I couldn’t be happier?”

In improver to providing the disclaimer at the beginning of Episode five,TMOT
host Mark 50. Walberg tried to distance himself from the fallout after it aired. Of annotation, he commented that he begged for the contestant to terminate numerous times during the taping of the show. In a moment of self-awareness, he told realitytvworld.com:

So while I am completely whoring myself out for greenbacks, I’m kind and sensitive to those who have chosen to ruin their lives on national television.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Conclusion

Dorsum whenWho Wants to Be a Millionaire saturated ABC’southward prime time lineup, I watched the show until I saw both extremes. Specifically, I stayed committed until I saw 1 person win the million dollars and another person miss the kickoff question. Today, I’d skip the whole evidence and picket clips on YouTube instead.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to waste matter too much time earlier witnessing both extremes of
The Moment of Truth. The famed Episode five went from jump-out-of-your-seat entertaining to shield-your-eyes disturbing within ane hr. At that point, I knew information technology was too polarizing to last.

After the initial success of
The Moment of Truth, Fox started licking its chops and envisioned having a year-round evidence that could challenge
Survivor. Of annotation, it finished 13th in the 2007-08 ratings based on an average of 14 million viewers. To be fair, those numbers were distorted because only 8 1000000 viewers remained by the end of its 10-episode initial run.

From in that location, ratings continued to get downhill. The audience savage from 7 million to 4 million viewers during the first eight episodes of the bear witness’due south 13-episode summertime run. Based on these numbers, Fox scrapped the idea of putting it up against CBS’southward powerhouse reality show. In fact, the network decided to pull the remaining 5 episodes without always airing them.

Based on its promising beginning and monumental collapse,
The Moment of Truth  qualifies as a reality TV bust. At the same time,
Huff Post suggested that it might be the “well-nigh repugnant game show in telly history.” For both reasons, the testify earned the #nine spot as a Top 10 Bust.

#9 REALTY Tv set BUST: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH