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The Mole

Of the reality television game shows produced following the success of Survivor, The Mole has distinguished itself as the most complex and intelligent. Mensa purportedly called it "the smartest show on television". The show was originally created in Belgium, and was later licensed in 40 different countries.

Players must to work together to complete various physical and mental challenges and build up a pot of up to one million US dollars. One of them, however, is actually a double-agent hired by the producers to sabotage the efforts of the group. Using journals, players must track vast amounts of minutiae about the person(s) they suspect of being the mole, such as seating positions, clothing colors, minor discussion topics, etc. The quiz at the end of each episode tests players' knowledge of the mole, and determines by lowest score (or slowest time, in the event of a tie) who is "executed" (removed from play).


While succeeding in challenges is important in order to build up potential winnings, it is also critical to stay in the game by scoring better than opponents on the quiz, usually by attempting to draw their suspicions of the mole's identity toward oneself. Since the mole must use subterfuge to misdirect attention from his/her attempts to derail the team, disingenuous attempts to emulate the mole must be subtle, while still noticeable and suspicious.

Show Details

Anderson Cooper, a former correspondent for ABC News, hosted the show's first and second seasons in the US. The original series of The Mole was aired in 2000. The second series, Mole 2: The Next Betrayal, aired 2001, but was put on hiatus halfway through its run, then quietly returned in early 2002 to broadcast the remaining episodes. In early 2003, Celebrity Mole Hawaii, hosted by Ahmad Rashad, with fewer contestants and a smaller potential pot, debuted.

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