“The Runner” is featured in Vanity Fair written here.
Remember back in the early aughts when TV competition shows were the thing? You had Survivor, The Amazing Race, and my personal favorite, The Mole, which towered over them all largely because of its delightful, turtlenecked host, Anderson Cooper (yeah, he went on to be fairly successful when reality-TV hosting didn’t pan out so well). Over the years we’ve seen imitators crop up, but none have captured the same hokey spirit as these shows—which is important, considering a few of them, including Amazing Race and Survivor, are still running to this day. But if the trailer is any indication, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon might have just succeeded in capturing that cheese-tastic lightning in a newly modernized bottle fit for the new millennium. The Runner, which the two executive produce, takes all of the elements that made shows like The Mole great, and adds an interactive element that would have set The Mole’s writers’ eyes alight.
The titular “runner” has to follow a series of clues across the country for a month in the hopes of collecting some sweet, sweet cash. But there will be people on the runner’s tail the whole time, trying to take the cash for themselves. And then there is us, the lazy laypeople, who can use the go90 app to try and win some cash for ourselves—without ever having to get off the couch.
Mechanically, the show is a lot like The Amazing Race, but in spirit it feels much more akin to The Mole, which was all about trickery and did the best job of appealing to all of us losers who spend our spare time idly wondering, Would I ever make it as a spy? Like all of these shows, the potential for armchair quarterbacking is huge. And when you throw in the possibility of winning money by using our phones to track down the guy doing the actual work? Incredible. Inspired. Magnifique!
Our sole request is that Damon and Affleck give Anderson Cooper one more shot at hosting a hit reality show, because The Mole left this earth way too soon.