Set Design- 6
Show Flow- 6
Potential Viewer Ratings- 5
Play-Along Factor- 10
Overall Rating- 6.6
Premise: In each of the three rounds, the audience members are presented with three facts from a panelist of three guest comedians and must vote on which comedian is telling the truth. The rounds vary in each show and include “Twidiots” (reviews amusing tweets supposedly sent by celebrities on Twitter), “But Wait, There’s More” (three different descriptions are given to what the mystery product that has been advertised on television commercials could be) and “App-Athy” (features unusual smartphone apps that are actually available in mobile app markets). At the end of the three rounds, the audience member who wins the most rounds in the fastest time wins $1,000 and plays the end game. In the final round, “Fess Up”, three anecdotal stories are told by the three comedians and contestant has to spot the true story. Picking the true story wins the contestant $5,000. Otherwise, the contestant leaves with the $1,000 they won in the front game.
And now, for the review…
Since To Tell The Truth has come and gone (several times), there have been many failed attempts to recreate the magic of the show’s “spot-the-liar/truth” panel format in series including PAX-TV’s Balderdash, NBC’s Wordplay, Animal Planet’s You Lie Like A Dog and GSN’s Late Night Liars. For the network’s second try at creating a type of game show that could equal or even surpass the success of To Tell The Truth, I’m afraid GSN may have missed the mark again with Lie Detectors. There is nothing about this new show that makes it unique or stand out from the rest. The gameplay is bland, the lackluster format seems to make the show drag, there is very little interaction with the studio audience in regards to the gameplay and too much focus on the celebrity panelists. The only factors that makes this show worth tuning in for a few minutes are the healthy rotation of rounds for each show to prevent stagnation, the good chemistry between the panelists and the up-to-date, topically themed rounds featuring bizarre smartphone apps, weird as-seen-on-TV products and odd Kickstarter funds.
How the format is currently setup caters more towards the lesser-known comedians getting their “15 minutes” in the national spotlight. This seemingly tunnel-visioned aspect of the show gives it more of a feel of a comedy panel show sans the civilian contestant participation. It just doesn’t have the same game show feel like other celebrity panel game shows like CBS’ Match Game, which had actively included the contestants in the gameplay in a properly balanced manner while giving enough airtime to the stars and their witty responses and antics.
A few ways the show could improve its format include host Rove McManus engaging with the studio audience more by asking a few individuals why they chose their answer once the poll results have been revealed, offering small prizes to a few contestants if they were to answer and highlighting interesting stats concerning the audience’s score throughout the front game such as who’s performing the best, which gender has the higher combined score and who’s doing the worst, which they comically revealed the end of the episode. The show could also calculate the studio audience’s score by using a countdown point system starting at around 500 or 1000 points (if they’re not already doing so), similar to how The Family Channel’s Trivial Pursuit: Interactive Game scored its contestants. Adding this dynamic would make the show more lively and involved and will not have the viewer feel as if the audience competing in the game is an afterthought.
Overall, Lie Detectors is just another average To Tell The Truth knockoff that places little acknowledgement on the audience participating in the show. Although I have a problem with this and the format that needs some improvement, it’s not the worst original show to come across GSN. The show has an excellent play-along factor, a decent lineup of guest comedians, a solid grand and consolation prize of $5,000 and $1,000 respectively, a good host in Rove McManus and I commend the show for injecting a hint of The Liars’ Club into their format with the “But Wait, There’s More” round. It’s always fun trying guess the identity of strange and obscure objects. Based on how poorly show averaged Monday evening in its odd 6:30pm debut time slot (282,000), I predict Lie Detectors will be sticking around for a brief period of time as it will be shelved after the show’s first season.