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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Moment Of Truth

Updated Thurs AM: So maybe the first question on Fox's "Moment of Truth" premiere Wednesday should have been: "Do you like the name Tinker?"

Former UC football player Tinker Keck was the first person in the hot seat. He went by his middle name, Ty, when introduced by host Mark Wahlberg. Keck, 31, answered 12 questions correctly, and wiped out on the 13th, when he lied about having touched a female client "more than required" as a personal trainer. He was going for a $100,000, and lost all of his previous winnings ($25,000).

The question not asked was: "You'd really do anything to get a few minutes of attention on national TV, wouldn't you?" The questions asked contestants were a mix of personal things that you'd not ask a person in public otherwise, or just dumb stuff: If your wife got flabby, would you want her to get liposuction? Do you think you're the best looking of all your friends? Do you consider yourself better looking than most men your age? As a football players did you sneak a peek at another man's privates while taking a shower? Have you used the Internet to flirt with other women since married? Have you gone through a coworkers belongings without their knowledge?

Frankly, this is stuff I don't want to know or need to know. I didn't find this whole humiliating process entertaining, though I'm sure many will for the shock value. It could be a big hit, but I won't be watching....

Did you watch? Will you watch again?

Below is what I posted Wednesday before the show...

Do you plan to watch Fox's "Moment of Truth" lie detector show after "American Idol" tonight? The show probably will do big ratings at 9 p.m. (Channel 19, 45) because it follows "Idol," and because of our curiosity in watching human train wrecks.

I wish I could tell you more about the show, but Fox only sent out a 3-minute preview to TV writers, not much more than you've seen on the constant promotions during "American Idol."

For a chance to win $500,000, and be on national TV, people are willing to be asked questions such as: Did you ever inappropriately touch female coworkers? Will you ever forgive your husband for his gambling loses? Do you ever wish you were born into another family? Have you ever made an adult video and uploaded it to the internet? Will you still be married five years from now? (They've already been asked the questions before the show while hooked to a lie detector. A voice over tells the audience if the person is telling the truth or not.)

Fox didn't tell us is that Jerry Springer is hosting the same show in England, called "Nothing But The Truth." It's one of 23 international editions from creator Howard Schultz ("Extreme Makeover"). You can see Springer stories at:,,2234394,00.html

My guess is that Springer makes a better host than Mark Wahlberg, who fronts the Fox show. Wahlberg doesn't bring much warmth or humor of the show from what little I've seen.

Actually, what I'd like to see is Walberg or Springer as a guest on this show. Wouldn't it be fun to see Springer answer questions like:

Do you regret your daytime talk show career?
Wouldn’t you rather be famous for a politician, than as a sleazy daytime talk host?
Do you feel guilty making millions off the pain, suffering or embarrassment of others?

Can't they settle this writers strike so we can get back to great TV dramas and comedies, instead of crap like this? Or will big ratings for "Moment of Truth" and "American Gladiators" mean fewer and fewer scripted dramas and comedies after the strike is settled?

Now for the moment of truth: Are you curious enough that you'll watch tonight? (And if you do, please post your comments here after the show.)


at 1/23/2008 11:43 AM Blogger JimmyD said...

I'm absolutely looking forward to it. It's devilishly good TV. Sorry, but it sounds like it will be.

at 1/23/2008 2:13 PM Anonymous Pat said...

This show could lead to the demise of more marriages than any show in television history. At least they have $500,000 to spend on a good attorney.

I will be watching.

at 1/23/2008 4:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

nope, I will watch UC on CW, then some more Andy Griffith re-runs on dvd. Just like Idol, not interested in the slightest....

at 1/23/2008 4:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

here is another question for springer. Why did you pay with a check?

at 1/23/2008 9:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone know who the contestant from cincy was? he played pro football and played for UC...

at 1/23/2008 11:56 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 9:36 p.m.
First player was Ty Keck, a former UC and NY Giants football player who grew up in Kansas. He was known as Tinker Keck when he played safety for the Bearcats in 1998. He said he had a 4.0 at UC. He bombed out on Question 13, lying about not touching a female client inappropriately as a trainer. At that point, he had $25,000, and needed to answer 3 more truthfully to win $100,000. He got nothing for lying.

at 1/24/2008 9:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That show moves WAY to slow to last. They need to speed up the process. I'm all for dramatic pauses, but that was ridiculous.

at 1/24/2008 9:56 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the 80's there was a syndicated program called "Lie Detector" with F. Lee Baily and a prominent lie dectector interpreter, cannot recall his name. It was an okay show, but whenever they determined that some jailbird was wrongly imprisoned, F. Lee would intone, "Too bad you had to do that HARD TIME. Let's hope that things will change for you".


at 1/24/2008 4:21 PM Blogger JimmyD said...

I watched it and felt a little dirty for doing so. The show moves WAY too slow. It needs to go faster and knock off the faux drama. But, I'll tune again. It's like watching two people argue on a street. You pretend like you're not paying attention, but you are. Sorry. It's true.

at 1/24/2008 4:57 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Jimmy D:
Yeah, I clocked the pause between the guy's answer and the voice-over revelation of true/false at 20 seconds, way too long...

at 1/24/2008 5:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The drama factor was too big for me. Seriously...20 seconds in between the answer and the affirmation??? Fox....another loser hit on your hands! Bring back the writers! TV sucks now!!!!!

at 1/24/2008 11:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey kiese how did moment of truth stack up in the cincinnati ratings Wed Night? Did it beat the UC game?

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