First thing about Fox’s new lie detector game show, “The Moment of Truth.” It’s not the end of civilization. And, it’s not a sign of moral decay, or some disappearance of values, or even a general lack of societal class.

Speaking of class, that ship has sailed, or why would Donald Trump have a show? But that’s off point, which is that “The Moment of Truth,” which starts tonight (at 9 EST), is just another game show with people who’ll do anything for money or to get on TV.

The semi-uproar about it – most of which is manufactured – is, however, another signal that Fox and its reality chief, Mike Darnell, know human nature.

The show and its appeal, of course, will play to the voyeur in many of us, but in this case, the human nature that Darnell and Fox understand belongs to the news media.

In short, “The Moment of Truth” hooks people up to a lie detector and asks embarrassing questions. The more questions you answer, the more money you win.

Fox gave critics a list of 100 samples, and they include the mundane (Have you lied on your resume? Do you dislike small children?) to the sexual (Did you ever fake it in bed? Do you fantasize about cheating on your spouse?) to the Jerry Springer (Do you think you’ll be married to your spouse in five years? Do you like your mother more than your father?)

Sounds a lot like truth or dare. It may get boring in 10 minutes, or it may turn out to be watchable, in that unseemly, let’s-watch-the-neighbors-fight sort of way. But, it’s not going to be cataclysmic, because, who cares?

Some questions are embarrassing only because the players kept things from their families, or they just don’t communicate. Some will reveal misconducts, but, in the words of the great philosopher, Baretta, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

More importantly, these people volunteered. They competed to get on the air. Don’t do the show if you can’t take the blow.

And, frankly, answering questions is less humiliating than dressing like a dope and wearing a silly hat to get on “The Price is Right,” but that’s kind of off point, too.

Meanwhile, Fox PR people, Darnell and the show’s executive producer, Howard Schultz, have been telling any reporter who’d listen that there will be an uproar, that people will go nuts, that, as Schultz told the Associated Press, the show will “rock America.”

Darnell has been nothing but honest, saying reality TV needs controversy and that some people will hate the show.

And he reminded reporters that, though his show will be different, a woman on the Columbian version did admit that she had put a hit on her husband. Who wouldn’t watch that? (Why someone who committed a major felony would hook up to a lie detector on TV is a different question.)

All of the apocalyptical talk has spurred a bunch of news stories about the possibility of outrageous questions and about people admitting to crimes on Fox (I mean, beyond producing some of the sitcoms for the network in recent years).

But if someone gives themself up, is that such a bad thing? Those people consented to the search. “Yes, officer, please come in and look around my house. Pay no attention to the guns and the bank blueprints on the table.” Frankly, it sounds like a public service.

“The Moment of Truth” airs right after “American Idol,” and in these writers-strike-depleted times, it will surely draw big ratings, at least initially. And, probably for a while, there will be more “serious” news stories about the reliability of lie detectors or the shameful way people were embarrassed, and Fox will be laughing all the way to the ratings bank.


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