To Tell The Truth (partially found unaired pilot of Pearson remake of Goodson-Todman panel show; 1999)

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To Tell the Truth 2000.png

The show's logo.

Status: Partially Found

To Tell the Truth is an American panel-style game show created by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman. The show's basic format features a panel of four celebrities, who must guess which one of three contestants is in fact the (often also famous, or fame-adjacent) person they are all claiming to be. The panel asks questions of all three claimants and gauges the authenticity of their answers. Over the decades since its network debut in 1956, it has been revived numerous times with one of the versions of the show being hosted by actor John O'Hurley and ran from September 18, 2000 to March 15, 2002 for 271 episodes[1]. The show would be O'Hurley's first time hosting a game show, pre-dating his tenure on Family Feud from 2006 to 2010. While this version of the show isn't well-remembered by fans, it has been reran on Game Show Network in the years since its final episode aired. The revival was in development at the same time production of the current version of Family Feud was underway[2] and while the first season was airing, a pilot was taped to pitch the show to stations.


The format of the pilot was said to be the same as prior versions with the audience voting element from the final year of the original show's run being carried over into the series, but the end game was similar to the Robin Ward version of the show that ran from 1980 to 1981. Two imposters from the two previous games played earlier were brought back and they claim to be one person, each panelist have 15 seconds to ask their questions and in the ends they must decide who is telling the truth[3]. This end game would not be used for the aired series.


Information on this pilot was revealed in a Google Groups chat from someone who was in the audience for the pilot's taping just five days earlier. They revealed that the celebrities on the panel were actor Meshach Taylor, comedian Paula Poundstone, actor Richard Karn (who would go onto host Family Feud from 2002 to 2006) and model Frederique van der Wal, the announcer for the pilot was a guy named Eric, last name is unknown and the subjects shown off in the pilot ranged from "a man who accepted a wager to get female breast implants" to "a woman who was a computer centerfold". The poster also revealed that the pilot would be screened in January 2000 at "some big TV convention" and one of the announcers from the original version of the show Bern Bennett, was in the audience for the taping[4]. A ticket from the pilot can be found online which gives the date the pilot was taped on "December 12, 1999". A trade ad for the show with several photos from the pilot can be found today. An episode of Biography on Mark Goodson from 2000 featured three clips from the pilot. This is currently the only footage of the pilot that's available.



Mark Goodson episode of Biography (Clips of the pilot can be seen at 39:17).


See Also