Friday, July 11, 2008

Save The Mole!


Will The Mole Face Its Own Execution?

July 11, 2008

Since our first season debuted in 2001 with Anderson Cooper, The Mole has been described as one of the smartest reality shows on television. Beloved by critics and fans alike, we’ve enjoyed four amazing seasons on ABC.

Among all the TV shows we’ve had the privilege of creating and/or producing, The Mole is still our favorite by far.


The very future of The Mole hangs in the balance. While our core fans have been turning out in droves, the show has been underperforming in the key 18-49 demo. Yes, we know, Monday at 10:00 p.m. (9:00 central) sucks for a lot of people. But that’s what we’ve got and we aren’t moving. The good news is we still have a chance to show ABC how much people love this show by getting our ratings up for the last five episodes. We did it the first four times we were on the air and we can do it again. If we don’t, the show itself could be facing execution at the end of this season ... and this time it might really be fatal.


Get 10 of your friends to watch the show. And have them get ten of their friends to watch...Organize Mole screening parties every week to get people hooked. Join The Mole’s fan club on Facebook and invite your friends. Every little bit helps.Visit and show your support on the message boards.Make a You Tube video that expresses why The Mole should stay on the air. Be creative! What about your friends who say, “I’d love to get involved, but it’s already halfway through the season and I can never catch up?”

Now, they can:1) Fox Reality is airing the first five episodes this Sunday, July 13th, the day before our next ALL NEW episode (11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST). 2) ABC is airing a recap special on JULY 14th at 9:00 p.m. that covers the first five episodes. It airs just before our next new episode at 10:00 p.m. and has a whole slew of “never before seen” material.

Two great ways for new viewers to get caught up and fall in love with our show; the one that Variety said demonstrates “considerably more smarts than your run-of-the-mill reality fare.” (Variety, 6/1/2008).

So, if you enjoy seeing “smarter” reality shows on the air, pass this along and check out our new episodes. You’ll be glad you did.

Scott Stone and Clay NewbillExecutive Producers, The Mole


At July 11, 2008 at 12:39 PM , Blogger Sir Jason DeLima said...

Just texted all my friends telling them to watch the Mole this Monday.

At July 11, 2008 at 4:02 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I can't watch it on monday since I don't get TV reception, but my wife and I watch every tuesday evening online. I hope that counts in the ratings calculations (we're in that 18 to 49 demographic).

At July 14, 2008 at 10:45 AM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

Hey Bill - wanted to say how awesome it is that you put a YouTube video out there for "Save The Mole."

I'm actually kinda on the fence with it. Yes, "The Mole" is smarter than, say, "Glutton Bowl" or "Chains of Love," but it's not really all that smart.

I mean, I've never been able to wrap my head around the strategy of the game. Not that I don't understand it, but it just seems to me that the game ultimately comes down to random chance.

That is, ultimately, the quiz comes down to finding out who the mole is. Know who he is and you can keep an eye on him, don't know who he is, and you're bound to screw up.

But the only thing the mole does differently from other players is sabotage. Since one of the key strategies of the game is to get players to think YOU are the mole, it's in everyone's best interest to sabotage as many games as possible.

So what I'm wondering is this: What's the difference between the person sabotaging the game for a guaranteed sum versus a person sabotaging the game on speculation, hoping they'll win the big pot?

This is in addition to the fact that malice and incompetence are hard to tell apart.

That said, I think the Mole's "okay" as a show. Not my favorite. And while it may be "the smartest reality show," that's... a really low bar.

Anyway - those are my thoughts

-- Brian Boyko

At July 14, 2008 at 11:00 AM , Blogger Bill said...

Brian, interesting comments, and a good demonstration of how good the show is. In fact, you NEVER know who the mole is until the end of the season, and if you do, someone screwed up or it's a badly done game. And, no, it's not just a crapshoot if you don't know. Each quiz has questions that you should always get matter who the mole is. And, there is a strategy to taking the quiz, regardless of who the mole might be.

The field can always be narrowed down sharply, especially after the first couple of weeks. It's not happenstance, and not an accident. It's observing who is doing what to whom, and eliminating the folks who can be eliminated. It absolutely does not come down to random chance, and if you think that, then clearly you do not understand the game. In that case I can understand your attitude.

Will I know absolutely who the mole is before he (or she) is revealed? I hope not, because that would mean that again someone gave something away too soon. But, I have a darned good idea, and I didn't draw names out of a hat!

Good luck in your viewing.

The Mole II

At July 14, 2008 at 1:02 PM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

Bill, you make some good points; and I do get the strategy of answering questions in a way that you get at least one right (I.E., making sure that your answers cover all the people in the group if you're not sure who the mole is.)

In that respect it seems like an observation-based logic puzzle (and one of the reasons the journals are extremely important.)

Upon further reflection, I can see how you might be able to eliminate players from consideration based on how well they're -succeeding- at tasks. The mole has no motivation to put money -into- the pot except maybe to throw people off the scent, so you can probably eliminate those players who do exceedingly well and only sabotage games when exemptions are involved.

I suppose my big problem is with the "all or nothing" aspect of the game. There's too many "player saboteurs" who believe that by sabotaging the games themselves, they can draw suspicion onto themselves and cause others to answer incorrectly on the quiz. And why not? Since the executed players get nothing, this strategy works without cost.

What I would suggest is some sort of consolation prize for the executed contestants - say 1/10th or 1/15th the value of the pot at the time they get executed. So they can continue to use the strategy in a hope of winning the big jackpot, but sabotaging the game themselves has immediate reprecussions to their bottom line even if they get sent home that night.

At July 14, 2008 at 2:48 PM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

You know, Bill - what might make an interesting YouTube video might be if you got the camera out and explained some of the strategies different players use when playing the game. Who knows, it might help people understand the game, and therefore get people to tune in.

At July 14, 2008 at 8:51 PM , Blogger Shomakube said...

Brian, I get the sense that you've never seen The Mole before this season. If you had watched seasons 1 or 2, then you'd absolutely know why it was hailed by Mensa as TV's smartest show.

If you're interested in strategies (of the players and of the Mole), try to catch the last episode of any of the previous seasons. The final episodes always go deeper into the non-mission aspects of the game. And in this game, social interaction is just as important as simply observing who's sabotaging the missions.

At July 15, 2008 at 12:34 AM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

I went back and watched Season 1 and the first few episodes of Season 2 (Obviously I'm spoiled in the latter case).

I'm not sure that social interaction is a whole big part of the game - I didn't get that impression from S1.

I wish I knew more about Mensa's criterion for selecting the Mole as "the smartest TV show" because I'm not sure what's smart about it (it's not -dumb-, but it's not particularly -smart-). I see that the eliminations are based on merit rather than popularity, but that's about it.

As I said, I don't really get the strategies involved.

Now, there are moments of brilliance, such as "Hitchcock Hotel," "Man In The Iron Mask," "Three Cages," etc. where people "have to trust each other when they know that one of them cannot be trusted." Those kinds of trust games I like.

But while these things actively want me to tune in, I'm turned off by things such as the "screw your buddies" exemptions, especially when those exemptions include a certain amount of physical or emotional torture as well. (For example, leaving people in a cell, isolated from their families, for an exemption, or keep people locked out in the cold, for an exemption.)

Maybe I'm abnormal, but acts of cruelty do not make good TV for me, and make me less, not more, likely to tune in.

If I wanted to watch perfectly normal people go crazy over a short period of time due to increased stress, isolation, and uncomfortable social interaction, I'd visit my parents and sister more often.

And ultimately, that's why I'm passionate about the Mole even though it's not my favorite show - because I actually see some amazing potential in the format for actually being the type of smart game that it's proponents say it is. It's less a "smart" show as it is a "gifted underachiever." I watch it not because it's good but because I want it to be better than it is, gosh darn it...

At July 15, 2008 at 10:13 AM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

Finally saw last night's ep, and I think something finally clicked for me.

Will talk more about it later, as I'm at work now.

At July 15, 2008 at 1:45 PM , Blogger Shomakube said...

Social interaction is a huge part of the game. The people who make coalitions and share information are the ones who make it the farthest (you could argue that Heather's coalition with Dorothy didn't help her, but her coalition with Katie was key to her survival). Patrick in season 2 pissed everyone off by ripping out pages of a journal and was effectively shunned; later that episode he was eliminated.

At July 16, 2008 at 12:56 AM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

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At July 16, 2008 at 12:58 AM , Blogger Brian Boyko said...

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