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James Hibberd

No Lie: Fox’s 'Moment of Truth' Opens Huge

January 24, 2008 9:52 AM

Moment of Truth (Fox)For the third time this month, the season's highest-rated new series premiere record has been shattered: Fox’s provocative lie detector game show opened with a massive Nielsen rating thanks to an “American Idol” lead-in and plenty of viewer curiosity.

“Moment” was seen by 23 million viewers and scored a 10.2 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49, retaining 94% of its “Idol” audience (10.8). That’s higher than previous record-setting freshman debuts this season by NBC’s “American Gladiators” (5.9) and Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (7.6).

The "Moment" premiere is the largest retention ever of an “Idol” lead-in, and the highest-rated premiere on any network since last February's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (11.2) -- Fox's previous game show to debut in a post-"Idol" slot. Drop off between the first and second half hour of "Moment" was 13%, which is nominal considering the large influx of “Idol” viewers. The "Moment" rating could shift slightly in the nationals later today since there’s one minute of “Idol” bleed into the program.

The show was not sent for review to critics, but TV Guide’s Matt Roush had an early critique this morning: “Who with a brain or a soul could do anything but despise Fox's new bottom-of-the-reality-barrel time-waster.” Viewers posting on the blog were more intrigued, though several said the show’s pace needed to speed up.

Once again, an NBC unscripted effort held up best against “Idol.” Continuing its “Million Dollar Mission,” last night’s “Deal or No Deal” hit a 15-month high in this time period (3.7). The “MDM” (where suitcases containing $1,000,000 keep being added to the board until a contestant finally wins the top prize) has played like a sweeps stunt, only placed in January. The play has given a more serialized nature to the show that has boosted tune-in, not unlike Ken Jennings’ famed winning streak on “Jeopardy.”

NBC also had “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2.2) and “Law & Order” (3.0).

Other competitors didn’t fare nearly as well against Fox’s duo.

Third-place CBS’s entire lineup hit series lows, including “Power of 10” (0.9), “Criminal Minds” (3.2) and “CSI: NY” (3.3, winning the 10 p.m. hour).

ABC’s “Wife Swap” also hit a series low (1.9), followed by “Supernanny” (2.7) and a season low “Cashmere Mafia” (2.0).

The CW aired “Crowned” (0.7) and a “Gossip Girl” repeat (0.5).

UPDATE: Fox's Mike Darnell on "Moment of Truth" ratings and critic reviews. "They thought it was everything from boring, to vile, to boring and vile. But generally speaking, if you have a critically acclaimed reality show, it's not a big hit..." More ...


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Comments (6)


Despite having huge numbers, Moment has to be one of the worst, if not the worst show, to premiere this season. How could it get anymore boring, and the fake suspense was horrific. Snooze time for sure. The format of the game was lame, and the production was far too cheap for my liking. I thought it would be that they were hooked up to a live polygram machine. Not the format they had about already having done the test. Where is the suspense in that? The person already knew the question and could tell his family ahead of time. Duh, hopefully this will have a quicker death that Viva Laughlin did.


Ditto. A test pattern would have had huge numbers coming out of Idol. MOT is DOA. The dramatic pauses are so fake the show is almost a parody of itself.


Fox's Moment of Truth-
"would you debase yourself and your family on national television for some cash?"


Hey, anyone remember the Jenny Jones talk show from a while back where one guy admitted a crush on another guy he knew? Not too much time later, the guy who was the target of the crush hunted down the other guy and killed him. The Jenny Jones Show disclaimed all responsibility, but someone died just because someone wanted to make what they thought would be compelling TV.

And now we have "The Moment Of Truth", where embarrassment could lead to the breakups of friendships, families and marriages.

None of these shows do anything for the quality of life in America. All they do is allow bottom-feeders to be entertained at the expense of others.

Don't encourage Fox - or anyone else - to produce stuff like this. And if you do decide to watch, don't complain when your significant other, child, best friend or lover lies to you and/or stabs you in the back when you least expect it. After all, you've helped create a culture in which that sort of thing is ... fun!

Patricia Thomas:

This program, Moment of Truth, shows that TV writers, executives, sponsors, etc., can and will scrape the bottom of the barrel if they think the money is there. This show is pure garbage and slime! SHAME ON ALL OF YOU who could make a differenct in TV programming but sell yourselves out for this trash.


I love moment of truth. For those ppl that are saying its so bad, those ppl choose to go on the show, theyre not forced. If you dont like the show dont watch it!

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