‘To Tell the Truth’ Boss Breaks Down the ‘Hero’ Selection Process
On the reboot of the classic game show To Tell the Truth, a panel of celebrities grill folks claiming to be an original Chippendales dancer, a princess costume designer, and a professional armpit sniffer.
If you’re wondering how producers continue to surprise us with these “heroes” — their term for the ones telling the truth — you’re not alone!
First, they brainstorm.
Showrunner Alycia Rossiter remembers saying she wanted “something sexy, but not in a way that would be objectifying, and a first” when the idea for the Chippendales dancer was pitched. He fits other favorite categories: Producers love older heroes and people with a skill they can share onstage.
Next, they Google.
“Sometimes, we just make up things and there is actually nobody on earth who fills that description,” Rossiter admits. Casting director Charisse Simonian and her team scour the internet for people who have done specific things (saved a family from a burning car!), have interesting stories, were local news sensations or defy stereotypes. Unusual occupations, like the pro armpit sniffer, are always a hit. “When we can find a story that will make the panelists laugh and people at home squirm a bit and laugh, it’s a home run for us,” Rossiter says.
Then, they convince them to come on the show.
It’s not always easy. “I have a friend who plays professional polo, and —” Rossiter stops herself. “I don’t even want to tell you if it’s a man or a woman, because I’m still trying to get that person to do it!”
To Tell the Truth, Thursdays, 10/9c, ABC