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ABC's "The Mole" starts Jan. 9 at 8 p.m., and Fox's "Temptation Island" starts the next night at 9

The 'Real' World

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If half of Belgium's TV-viewing population watches a show, will the show play well in Peoria? Brace yourself: We're about to find out as reality TV returns with a vengeance. ABC's "The Mole" starts Jan. 9 at 8 p.m., and Fox's "Temptation Island" starts the next night at 9. Both hope to emulate CBS' "Survivor" success. When "The Mole" debuted in Belgium last year, half of those watching TV tuned in. Now it's been sold in 40 countries. The American version was filmed on two continents, in four countries and in 34 cities. In the show, 10 players try to figure out who among them is The Mole. At the end of each episode, the group is given a quiz. The player who knows the least about The Mole is sent home. In the last episode, The Mole is revealed and the one remaining player wins the jackpot, which is up to $1 million. Over on Fox on Jan. 10, "Temptation Island" will begin to track four couples considering marriage as they travel to the Caribbean paradise of Belize to test the strength of their relationships. Once on the island, they are matched up with eligible singles. Through a series of challenges, each gets an opportunity to prove that he or she has chosen the right mate. "It's better to know than not to know," says one of the female participants in "Temptation Island." Maybe for her. But whether Americans will care is another question. Has our hunger for vicariously working our way through bizarre, unreal and semiscripted games already peaked, or do we want still more? My guess is that the genre has already hit its apogee and is on the downside of the

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