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TV Series
    (January 9, 2001-February 18, 2004)
    Based on the Belgian TV series ‘De Mol’
    A Stone-Stanley production
    Seasons 1 and 2 hosted by Anderson Cooper, with only the surviving players being shown in each new episode
    Seasons 3 and 4 hosted by Ahmad Rashad, with the eliminated players being shown in each new episode as ‘executed’
    Premise: While trying to win money for a pot with a specific maximum amount ($1 million in the Cooper seasons, $250 K in the Rashad seasons), contestants must try to pinpoint the saboteur within their midst; only one will remain to collect that final pot
    After each name is entered, a thumbprint appears; green means safe while red means executed (eliminated)
    It referred to challenges as either ‘tests’ or ‘assignments’ and alliances as ‘coalitions.’
    The Celebrity versions featured personalities past, never at, or never near their prime (the host included).
    The pot structure sometimes made it mathematically possible for the total to overshoot the limit.
    It was only three episodes into its second season – ‘the Next Betrayal’ – before the 9/11 story (Black Tuesday) all but monopolized the airwaves.
    Each season had a different number of contestants, from 10 to 14, down to seven, and finally eight.
    For the ‘celebrity’ editions (and the narration of the teasers didn’t help, either), the red thumbprint screen was the last thing seen before every commercial break — clearly inspired by the Bachelor teasers.
    After executed players were escorted out of the game, the remaining players talked about them as though it were a funeral.
    A third civilian version was considered, to appear in 2002, but nothing came of it.
    Cooper was considered a perfect fit for the show — until he was told to choose between it and his CNN stint.
    Non-mole contestants are encouraged to sabotage challenges – thus keeping money out of the pot – in order to gain exemptions.
    It gave ordinary people the chance to engage in espionage.
    The civilian editions showed straight (no host commentary) teasers before the commercial break.
    In the Yucatan season, the first three victims (Ananda Lewis, Stephen Baldwin, Corbin Bernsen) were allowed to return for a shot at payback.
    The celeb versions did surprisingly well in the ratings.
    It is an international phenomenon, with versions in Poland, Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Netherlands (which had a celebrity version of its own).

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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