'Truth' to be told 13 more times

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Fox picked up 13 more episodes of "The Moment of Truth" on Thursday, a day after the breakout reality hit passed its moment-of-truth second-airing test with flying colors.

On Wednesday, "Truth" drew 17.6 million viewers and a 7.8 rating/19 share among adults 18-49, dropping a modest 24% from its blockbuster premiere and retaining 77% of its "American Idol" demo lead-in. "Truth," which features contestants answering embarrassing personal questions for a cash prize, also showed a minimal ratings drop-off between the first and second half-hour in the younger demos.

"That means that the people who came to see it liked it," said Fox's reality guru Mike Darnell, his voice hoarse after weeks of media blitz surrounding the launch of his pet project. "I feel thrilled and confident."

Darnell is not planning any changes in the format for the next cycle, but there are tweaks being made in editing the existing footage.

A lot was written after the "Truth" premiere about the way-too-long pauses between a contestant's answer and the announcer's response on whether the answer was true or false according to the lie detector.

"People were not used to the rhythm of the show," Darnell said, noting that the pauses were needed to give family members time to react.

Still, the pauses in the second episode were shortened by two minutes, and the trimming will continue throughout the initial order of 12 episodes.

Casting already is under way for the new batch of episodes, and production is slated to begin Feb. 11.

Darnell said that a lot of people who had signed on to appear on the show had pulled out after seeing the first two episodes. Still, he said the producers have a full roster of contestants for the 13 additional episodes.

Two weeks into its run, "Moment" is the top new series this season and the No. 3 series overall, behind the Tuesday and Wednesday editions of "Idol."
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