TV

Early word on ''Mad Mad House''

Remember those quaint old days when all you had to do to be considered a way-out reality TV roommate was to publicly pick your nose? Well, check out the five folks living in the Sci Fi Channel's Mad Mad House: There's a witch, a vampire, a voodoo priestess, a naturist (who eats only raw foods and wears only hemp when he isn't hanging out nude), and a ''modern primitive'' (tattooed, scarred, and branded head to toe, he also suspends himself by hooks pierced into his own skin). So who's outrageous now, Puck?

These ''Alts'' are sequestered in a haunted mansion with 10 more ordinary contestants (a.k.a. ''Guests''); the kooky group then eliminates their mainstream roommates one by one based on eerie challenges and on how accepting the regular folk are of alternative lifestyles. (The last player standing -- or hanging -- takes home $100,000.) But just because this reality show didn't cast the usual models and nymphos doesn't mean there won't be a little supernatural sexiness. ''We had a wonderful goddess ritual for the women,'' says Fiona Horne, the House's resident Wiccan. ''It was very sensual and exciting. The women liked it, and the guys enjoyed that the women were liking it.'' Welcome to Paradise Coven! (March 4)

Originally posted Jan 23, 2004 Published in issue #747-748 Jan 23, 2004 Order article reprints