Mark Walberg, Moment of Truth
With 23 million viewers, The Moment of Truth
(Wednesdays, 9 pm/ET, Fox) garnered the highest-rated series debut in over a year — and the numbers don't lie. Here are some more cold, hard facts about the new Fox hit that asks lie-detector-tested contestants to put their reputations on the line by answering increasingly more personal (and more embarrassing) questions, for a chance at $500,000.
FACT: To come up with each player's 21 questions, producers dig deep. Contestants' friends and family are interrogated thoroughly. "They research your whole life," says Christie Youssef, 22, who admitted she's a virgin in the second episode. "I didn't have any idea of the scope until afterward."
FACT: No player has been fired because of something they revealed on the show. At least not yet. That could change after emergency medical technician Aaron Dunbar's episode airs. Dunbar, 22, admitted to falsifying patients' medical reports and to not recording vital signs as often as he should. "I don't think I'll be fired because it had no effect on the patients' care," Dunbar says. "I figure if they're sitting up talking to me, then they're OK. It's something that everyone does." Oh, really?
FACT: Truth has torn lovebirds apart. Dunbar's girlfriend Nicole axed him right after his taping. "Hearing me say some things in front of everyone was hard for her," he says. The fact that strangers shouted "Dump him!" didn't help, either. The good news: She took him back after three months of groveling.
FACT: Truth has helped heal old wounds. George Ortuzar, Episode 1's "Hair Club for Men" gambler, had been estranged from his son for seven years because his ex-wife told the kid he'd gambled away his college fund. When asked on the record if he had indeed lost the college money, Ortuzar's truthful "No" vindicated him. Now, he says, "My son and I are close again. We speak all the time now. I have the show to thank for that."
FACT: There are some questions even Truth can't ask. "We don't ask anything pertaining to minors," executive producer Howard Schultz says. "And we have to follow FCC rules, so we can't ask graphic sexual questions."
FACT: Contestants who get caught in a lie really do leave with nothing. That's right. Zero. Zilch. But "if you answer all six Level 1 questions truthfully, you get $10,000," Schultz explains. "Five more: $25,000. Four more, and it's $100,000 and so on."
FACT: The voice of Truth's "lie detector" comes from The Bold and the Beautiful. Or, rather, the actress who owns it does. Her name is Tasia Valenza. She played Suzanne on the CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful and Dottie Thorton Martin on All My Children. And that's the truth.
Check out more of The Moment of Truth in our Online Video Guide.
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