‘Mole’ moved to ’02 hole

Reality skein gets midseason slot after poor outings

Viewers will have to wait a few months longer to learn the identity of “The Mole.”

After three low-rated outings, ABC has decided to bench sophomore skein “The Mole 2: The Next Betrayal” until midseason — marking the first time a network has pulled a serialized reality series in the middle of its run. Friday’s seg was likely the last aired this year.

Alphabet is now expected to relaunch “The Mole” in January or March, most likely repeating the three episodes already broadcast this fall. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” will likely fill the 8 p.m. slot this Friday; no decision has been made on a permanent replacement.

Scott Stone, whose Stone Stanley Prods. produces “The Mole,” said he’s actually happy ABC has pulled his show from its lineup.

“We look at this as good news,” he said. “ABC loves the show and they want to give it a good relaunch.”

Indeed, production will continue on the 13 episodes of “The Mole” ABC had ordered.

Since returning three weeks ago, “The Mole” has averaged around a 2.2 rating among adults 18-49, finishing fourth in the 8-9 p.m. hour Friday.

With ABC spending so much of its resources to hype its new fall wares, very little promo time was spent on “The Mole” — and Alphabet insiders said a good chunk of the fan base that watched the series last winter does not know it’s back on the air.

Last season, “The Mole” ranked as ABC’s No. 1 series among viewers 18-34.

Stone admitted that the core audience that stuck by “The Mole 2” will be miffed to have the show halted midgame.

“It’s going to be the longest cliffhanger in TV history,” Stone said.

Still, while this is the first time a net has pulled a reality game off the air mid-run, nets have not been shy about disrupting serialized dramas. Indeed, in May, CBS canceled its new version of “The Fugitive” — even though producers had concocted a cliffhanger first season finale.

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