|Mark L. Walberg|
"PREMIERE EPISODE: It's the show that everyone in America has been talking about for the last three months and it's finally here. It is the simplest game on television. One participant, twenty-one questions, and all that is required is the willingness to tell the truth. (insert montage clips) In a quest to win $500,000. People are willing to expose everything about themselves, their families, their lives. (insert montage clips) This is no ordinary game. (insert montage clips) Get ready America, The moment is finally here. (insert montage clip) It's the most anticipated show in the country, and it stars, right, now!"
"MARK: Tonight, in this chair, the only thing that separates a person from $500,000 is twenty-one questions and their ability to answer each one of these questions with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Is there an honest person left in America? Time to come to face (Echo): THE MOMENT OF TRUTH!"
The Moment of Truth features people who are willing to tell the truth about their dark secrets thus destroying their reputation to win up to half a million dollars.
Prior to the show, a contestant is hooked up to a polygraph and asked more than 50 questions; there is no polygraph testing conducted during the actual show. Without knowing the results of the polygraph, he or she is asked 21 of those same questions again on the program, each becoming progressively more personal in nature. If the contestant answers honestly, according to the polygraph results, he or she moves on to the next question; however, should a contestant lie in his or her answer (as determined by the polygraph) or simply refuse to answer a question after it has been asked, the game ends. If he/she gives a false answer before the $10,000 level of questions, he/she leaves with nothing; after the $25,000 level, if a false answer is given, the contestant leaves with $25,000 (during the first season, a false answer on any level caused the player to leave with nothing). For each tier of questions answered correctly, the contestant wins the corresponding amount of money. A contestant may stop at any time before any question is asked and collect their earnings, but once they hear a question, they must answer it or lose the game. Answering all 21 questions truthfully, as determined by the polygraph results, wins the jackpot of $500,000.
The questions vary, increasing in difficulty and degree of personal nature of the questions. To date, no contestant has reached the final tier. Sometimes, a "surprise guest" - such as an ex-partner or a good friend - will come on the stage and ask a particularly difficult question. Friends, colleagues, and family of the contestant who are gathered near the player have access to a button which can be used to switch out a question once per game, an option which is introduced to them after the third question.
Though no contestant has answered all 21 questions truthfully as determined by the polygraph testing, according to Mike Darnell, president of alternative entertainment at Fox, "In the vast majority of contestants, 99%, [they don’t say the machine is wrong]. You get, 'Hmm, I was a little worried when I answered that question.'" The series requires contestants to sign an agreement that they will accept the conclusions drawn by the polygraph examiner.
A board game was released by Selchow & Righter/Hasbro in 2008.
A card game and included a "Lie-Detector" version were released by Cardinal in 2008.
Countries that previously did their versions of The Moment of Truth include:
- Arab World
- Colombia (country that originated the program as Nada mas que la verdad/Nothing but the Truth)
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Based on the Colombian game show Nada más que la verdad (Nothing but the Truth) by Howard Schultz.