Let me take you back to 2000. Reality TV was first starting to make it's mark on American culture. Shows such as Survivor and Big Brother were jumping into the main stream and people were watching. Not only was America watching, but they were talking too. For the first time in American television, people could not only sit back, relax, and enjoy sit-coms and police dramas. Now they could be a part of the show, and almost play along with the contestants. Analyzing every move, intrigued by what average people will do for money, controversy and conflict is what brought people to their televisions every night. Poker has
had it's fair share of reality show appearances. Jean-Robert Bellande was a contestant on Survivor:China finishing in an abysmal 8th place (not after making some enemies first), Annie Duke got runner up to the Greg Raymer's alter ego's counterpart, Joan "Fossil Woman" Rivers on Celebrity Apprentice, and Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle took part in the Amazing Race. With all the big personalities, attractive women, and a knack for competition; poker players seem born to be on these reality game shows. There have even been attempts at a poker based reality TV show; NBC and Full Tilt (Oh that's were the money went) teamed up to bring us Face the Ace which rivaled Fox and Pokerstars' own version called the Million Dollar Challenge. On these shows amateur online qualifiers would play heads up against professionals with the chance to win a cool million dollars. Pokerstars version fared better than Full Tilt's, but neither were anything that poker players were huge fans of.
I'm here to put an end to Poker's bad run at reality TV shows and piss-poor performances on national TV (I'm looking at you JRB). Let me take you back to the Reality Boom. ABC decided to get into the game and they brought us my personal favorite: The Mole. You remember, the won with Anderson Cooper as the host, where players completed challenges to put money towards the prize pool but one of the contestants was the "Mole" whose job it was to sabotage the group to prevent them from winning money. At the end of each week the players answer a quiz about who they think is the mole and the one character who answers the least right becomes the mole's victim and doesn't have to go home but he has to get the hell out of Anderson's game. A game that takes more than just
physical skills, athleticism, and being able to live on an island for a few months. To be a successful mole character you need wits, you need to observant, you need to read people, and you need to be able to know when someone is playing you or if they are being genuine.
Now I know what you're probably thinking at this point. "Wait. That sounds a lot like the attributes a poker player needs to be successful. Is he about to say what I think he's going to say?" Yes, yes I am. I'm talking bringing back The Mole, only this time all the contestants are all poker players. A star cast of the whose who of the felt. I'm talking Jean-Robert Bellande, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Tony G, Annie Duke, Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, Phil Ivey, and of course Mike "The Mouth" Matusow all fighting out to see who can discover the mole. What would be more entertaining than watching these intelligent, sneaky, and conflicting personalities try to out smart and out play their opponents. This would be the true test of who the best bluffer is and who is the best at reading their opponents. I mean this is what could potentially get poker over the threshold and into mainstream culture. Just the banter between JRB, Matusow, Hellmuth, and Tony G would be entertaining enough to get America's attention and then to watch what was a successful show a decade ago, be played by people who deal with figuring out liars and mentally out thinking your opponents for a living partake in an event that calls for just that. This idea needs to get to ABC or GSN or whoever can make this happen's desk ASAP. There is no doubt in my mind this show would be a hit and I'm sure all of the players would be on board in an instant.
Plus I've already got the perfect lying, conniving, deceitful mole in mind; Howard Lederer.
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