February 12, 2001 12:00 PM

ABC (Tuesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

“It is a simple game,” host Anderson Cooper says before every episode of this so-called “reality” series, whose nine-week run continues until March 6. I’m shocked that a former ABC News correspondent would make such an inaccurate statement. The show is rather complicated—and simply uninteresting.

Survivor is partly an endurance contest; The Mole seems more like a vacation marred by inconvenience. In the first three episodes the participants are sent to pretty places in France and Spain and put through a number of stunts, with prize money going into a “group pot.” But the main object is to identify the saboteur in their midst. Each week there’s a written quiz on who this double agent might be, and the player who knows the least about the mole is eliminated (“executed,” as Cooper coldly puts it). Instead of being voted out by your peers, you get zapped by a computer—hardly high drama. I’m guessing Cooper himself is the mole. When it comes to trust, he’s no Walter Cronkite.

Bottom Line: Wrong burrow

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