With a resurgence of game shows on primetime television, “To Tell the Truth” made a fantastic comeback with ABC in 2016. Its latest reimagination, hosted by the beloved “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson alongside Mama Doris, has captivated audiences.

If you’re looking for an entertaining game show to tune in to with your family or friends, you can enjoy the revival of this classic on ABC on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. Alternatively, if you prefer streaming online, you can find the latest seasons and episodes on ABC and Hulu. Finally, if you’re interested in watching some of the initial seasons, you can buy them on Amazon Prime Video.

The show features a panel of four celebrities and three contestants. Of the three contestants, one plays the real character while the other two play impostors. Before the game begins, the host reads aloud something unusual about the real character that makes them identifiable. The panelists then ask the contestants questions and try to guess which of them is telling the truth.  

About “To Tell The Truth” on ABC

“To Tell the Truth” is one of the longest-running game shows of all time. The entertaining nature of the game and popular celebrities competing with each other have kept the show running for over half a century. 

While the show is amusing, the rules are pretty simple. Three contestants claim to be a person, generally someone who’s known for an unusual occupation or distinction. While one of the three contestants is telling the truth, the other two are impostors. The format of the show is based on  “What’s My Line?” and “I’ve Got a Secret.”  

Then, four celebrity panelists ask these contestants a series of questions, trying to guess which of the contestants is telling the truth. While the impostors are allowed to lie, the person playing the character must tell the truth. Ultimately, each member of the panel of celebrities votes on who they think the real person is. Once all the votes are cast, the real person reveals themself. 

While certain aspects of the show, such as scoring, have changed over the years, the premise has remained consistent.

“To Tell The Truth” 1956 – 1968

The show started in the golden age of game shows, with its first episode airing in December 1956 on CBS as a primetime show. It was produced by Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions. Initially called “Nothing But the Truth,” it was later renamed “To Tell the Truth.” Bud Collyer hosted the first seasons, which aired for over twelve years. The show was hugely successful with recurring celebrity panelists including Polly Bergen, Tom Poston, Kitty Carlisle, Orson Bean, and Peggy Cass. Johnny Carson, the host of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” and Gene Rayburn, the host of “Match Game,” were also frequently seen on the show.

“To Tell The Truth” 1969 – 1978

With ratings off the charts for its premiere seasons, the game show returned a year later and ran in syndication for almost a decade. Making a comeback from his five-year break from television, Garry Moore hosted the show’s premiere syndication. However, Bill Cullen replaced Moore during the eighth season because of his ill health.

“To Tell The Truth” 1980 – 1981

After this version ended, the show saw a short revival in 1980, with Robin Ward as host.

“To Tell The Truth” 1990 – 1991

After a long hiatus, “To Tell the Truth” returned to NBC in 1990 for just one season with new hosts, including Gordon Elliott and Alex Trebek. The show was revived again at the turn of the millennium, running for two years with John O’Hurley as host.

“To Tell The Truth” 2016 – 

In June 2016, “To Tell the Truth” made a remarkable comeback after the longest break it had ever seen. With a lot of changes, this new version of the game show keeps viewers wanting more. 

“To Tell the Truth” now has Anthony Anderson as its host, while his mother, Doris Day Bowman, plays the scorekeeper. Anderson and Mama Doris participate in the questioning with celebrity panelists and engage in commentary and banter. 

The game show has reached new heights of popularity with 3.25 million viewers for its fifth season. Anderson’s version of “To Tell the Truth” has seen some of Hollywood’s favorites as recurring panelists, including the popular stars Betty White, Joel McHale, and NeNe Leakes, which has kept viewers hooked on the game show. 

With new, exciting features, the latest version strays from previous versions of the show in multiple ways. The show’s episodes last 60 minutes, unlike the previous 30 minutes running time. It also has a “Before You Go” round, where two contestants from the previous game participate, of which one is an impostor. Panelists are given additional clues and have to guess which one is the real character. 

As opposed to having a payoff for incorrect votes in the previous versions, the 2016 version has punishments for the celebrity panelist with the least number of points. These forfeits include “Tweet a Lie,” “King of the Losers,” and “Fake News.”

How Scoring Works on “To Tell The Truth”

The scoring on “To Tell the Truth” is based on votes, and the four celebrity panelists vote on which contestant they think is the real character. 

Right from the inception of the show until 2002, for every incorrect vote, there was a payoff. In the first CBS nighttime version aired in 1968, each incorrect vote was worth $250. In the CBS daytime version of the same season, each incorrect vote was worth $100. A complete stump was worth $1250 in the nighttime version and $500 in the daytime version. Throughout the seasons, the worth of the payoff kept increasing. By 2002, each incorrect vote cost $1000, with the total stump worth $5000.

However, the newest 2016 version has seen many changes in scoring. For the first time in the show, no money is awarded for a wrong vote. Panelists receive ten points for correctly guessing the real character. In the final round, they received 20 points. 

In the previous versions, the impostors and the character won some money depending on the panelists’ guesses, the latest version of “To Tell the Truth” has shelved this scoring aspect. 

With no involvement of money, the panelist(s) who lose are “punished.” In case of a tie or no clear winner, Mama Doris picks the loser herself. Thanks to her jocular commentary, “To Tell the Truth” has won the hearts of audiences. 

Adding a fun twist to the game, for the first and second seasons of the 2016 version, the celebrity panelist who had scored the lowest of the four had to tweet a lie picked by Anderson and keep it on their profile for a day. In the fourth and fifth seasons, the losing panelist had to wear a crown chosen by Mama Doris. The panelist who gave the correct guesses in all five rounds was given a special trophy called “The Doris.”

In some of the earlier versions of “To Tell the Truth”, the audience members could cast their votes and get in on the excitement of the game.

How Much Do You Get Paid To Be On “To Tell The Truth?”

In the 2016 version, the three contestants didn’t win any money based on the answers of the panelists but were paid a standard amount to participate. In 2018, as per the casting call, the show paid contestants $1000 per day.

About the Host of “To Tell The Truth”

To Tell The Truth - Anthony Anderson

Born on August 15, 1970, Anthony Anderson is an American actor and comedian best known for his major roles in TV series and movies like “Black-ish,” “K-Ville,” “All About the Andersons,” “Kangaroo Jack,” and “Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London.” His mother, Doris Day Bowman, is also an actress.

Anderson has been the host of the latest version of “To Tell the Truth” since 2016. Alongside him, Mama Doris has played the scorekeeper. The mother-son duo’s chemistry has breathed new life into the reimagination of this classic game show.

In 1999, Anderson married Alvina Stewart. Together they have two children, Kyra and Nathan. In March 2022, Alvina filed for divorce, and the couple split after 22 years.

Anderson is a regular judge on “Iron Chef America.” In 2011, he won $250,000 on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” while playing on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association. Since July 2020, Anderson has been an honorary Omega Psi Phi fraternity member.

Will There Be a Season 7 of “To Tell The Truth?”

“To Tell the Truth” is returning for its seventh season. Anderson appeared on “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” and confirmed that the production of the seventh season of the classic game show is complete. 

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Rebecca Swanson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV