The Mole

From Academic Kids

For the South Park character, see The Mole (South Park)

The Mole is generally thought to be one of the most complex and intelligent of the reality television game shows produced following the success of Survivor. Mensa hailed it as "the smartest show on television". The show was originally created in 1999 by Woestijnvis and broadcasted on VRT in Flanders, Belgium, and won the Golden Rose of Montreux in 2000. It was invented by Michiel de Vlieger, Bart de Pauw, Tom Lenaerts and others. Later it was licensed in 40 different countries.

Players in The Mole must to work together to complete various physical and mental challenges and build up a significant cash prize for the winner. One of them, however, is actually a double-agent (the mole) hired by the producers to sabotage the efforts of the group. The mole must at all times act unsuspiciously. 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, and so on. 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 eliminated from the game.



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. It's worth noting that often the players would sabotage themselves so much that the mole rarely had to tilt the table.

There were also a number of obscure and subtle clues planted by the producers (For example, in one challenge on the second US series, host Anderson Cooper was eating an apple. The apple was the official fruit of Washington, Bill (The Mole)'s home state. Rumor has it that not even Bill himself got this clue until it was revealed to him.) Some players in later series chose to look for these clues, most often in vain. (Allegedly, this ruined the chances of Corbin Bernsen, from Celebrity Mole Hawaii, as he was too distracted by searching for clues that he didn't focus enough attention on the game.) These clues were generally intended for the viewers to catch, rather than the players themselves, although often their cryptic meaning remains hidden to everyone until revealed at the end of the show.

The Mole in different countries


Three series, all hosted by Michiel de Vlieger.

  • 1999 in France. Mole: Magda. Winner: Hugo. Losing finalist: Mon.
  • 2000 in Spain. Mole: Hugo. Winner: Marianne. Losing finalist: Niki.
  • 2003 in Italy. Mole: Marc. Winner: Stijn. Losing finalists: Sandra and Inge.

The Netherlands

Until now, five series, all hosted by Angela Groothuizen. The next series will be hosted by Tooske Breugem.

United States

Anderson Cooper, a former correspondent for ABC News (now the host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360), 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 in September 2001, but was put on hiatus after only 3 episodes following disappointing ratings, then quietly returned in summer 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. In January 2004, Celebrity Mole Yucatan again featured Ahmad Rashad hosting the show as a mid-season replacement.


The show had two series in the United Kingdom, hosted by Glenn Hugill on Channel 5. Despite its cult following, a third series was not commissioned. Both series had a special episode at the end detailing the various clues about The Mole's identity, and general details on the production of the show.

  • 2000 in Jersey. Mole: David. Winner: Zi. Losing finalist: Jennifer.
  • 2001 in Canada. Mole: Tanya Buck. Winner: Chris Lintern. Losing finalist: Paul Tregear.


The Australian version of the show began in 2000, followed by three more seasons. The 2003 season was set on a tropical island and entitled The Mole: Paradise. Former Blue Heelers star Grant Bowler was the host. Bowler was the greatest success of the show, his mixture of charm and mystery was a hit with audiences.

Like the British version, the first Australian season included a 'special episode' which revealed all the clues about the mole, and how close each player had been to finding them. However, it wasn't particulaly successful so, in subsequent seasons, it was replaced by a five-minute segment at the end which revealed the clues.

In the second season, they decided to bring in a large amount of contestants for the first episode, with an early challenge deciding which 10 of them got to continue playing. This was dropped in later seasons.

The producers offered to tell Grant Bowler who the mole was, but he declined the invitation, believing that he could better host the show, and play around with the contestants, if he didn't know. Some reports, however, claimed that he was told the identity of the mole in the fourth season.

See also

External links

nl: De Mol


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