The Return of The Mole

The espionage-tinted reality show first introduced in the early 2000s returns in a rebooted revival

The espionage-tinted reality show first introduced in the early 2000s returns in a rebooted revival

One of television’s most devious, backstabbing reality shows is making a comeback, with this week bringing viewers a reboot of The Mole

An adaptation of a Belgian TV hit, The Mole borrowed from Big Brother but added an element of espionage by including one player who was actually a ringer—the titular “Mole”—who isn’t trying to win the show’s prize money, but rather sabotage the legitimate players’ efforts without being exposed.

The show was first introduced on ABC back in 2001, with a pre-CNN Anderson Cooper hosting for the first two seasons. In the third season, Cooper was replaced with former NBA star Ahmad Rashad, while the format was rejigged to feature celebrities instead of regular folks, including the likes of Kathy Griffin, Stephen Baldwin and Corbin Bernsen—with the over-the-top shenanigans of the latter two so popular with viewers they were brought back for a second Celebrity Mole season, its fourth overall.  

Sports commentator Jon Kelley hosted season five, which jettisoned the celebs and returned to a regular-folks format—a gambit that didn’t improve ratings, leading to cancellation in 2008. The MoleNetflixFourteen years later, The Mole is back, this time on Netflix, with MSNBC anchor and co-star of Showtime’s The Circus Alex Wagner now tapped as host. 

According to Netflix’s announcement for this new iteration of The Mole, viewers can expect a “reimagined” version of the tried-and-true “high-stakes competition series” in which 12 non-celebrity players work together in various challenges in order to add money to a pot that only one of them will win at the end. With one of these players secretly designated as the Mole, tasked with sabotaging the group’s money-making efforts, the winner will need to outlast the competition and expose the saboteur. 

The Mole premieres Friday, October on Netflix