Poor Taste on TV

Posted on: 01/24/08 11:50 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last night another new show launched on TV, one that is a pretty good reflection of what America wants to see: scandal, deep dark secrets, controversy… and a whole lot of money at stake.

The show is called The Moment of Truth. It’s like Springer meets Deal or No Deal. The challenge is simple: answer 21 increasingly personal questions honestly, as determined by a polygraph, and win up to $500,000.

Media Life Magazine online described the show like this:

Before the episodes are taped, contestants are hooked to a polygraph machine–a lie detector–and asked 50 to 75 questions, like “Have you ever made a sexy video and uploaded to the internet?,” “Would you cheat on your spouse if you knew you wouldn’t get caught?,” and “Have you ever touched a female co-worker inappropriately?”
The contestants are told 21 of those questions will be asked again on the air but are not told which ones nor how they fared on the polygraph.

They’re free to change their answers the day of the show’s taping, but to win the money the players must tell the truth in front of the camera. The polygraph results serve as a guide.

Surprise surprise. The show did fantastic. Although Media Life didn’t exactly predict a great response… the mid season premier kept 94% of the American Idol audience, becoming the highest rated new show of the season.

I’m not shocked. The more controversy and smut the better the show seems to do. Just look at what Tila Tequila did on MTV last year.

TV seems to provide far less family appropriate shows of late. This year I tried to watch a good amount of the new TV Pilots (I always like to see what teenagers are watching). I saw VERY FEW pilots without at least some sexual content, some very strong sexual content.

In a 2005 Kaiser report, they reported an 10% increase of sexual content in prime time shows from just 1998 to 2005. That doesn’t surprise me at all.

But I was pleased to find out that some strides have been made in family viewing times, the Super Bowl for instance. Go Daddy has had two ads rejected so far. No complaints from me.

I continue to urge parents to make use of two great television resources:

  1. The TIVO or DVR. This gives us the flexibility to not only skip commercials, but pause TV when something happens that might be worth discussing.
  2. The OFF button!