Earlier this year, Robyn Kass—who stepped down from casting Big Brother this season—posted a casting call for a Netflix reality competition, The Insider, that’s looking for “players (18yrs+) who have the mental and physical strength to navigate their way through an exciting covert operation and the chance to win BIG MONEY!”
The casting flyer said this new reality TV show will have “travel, adventure, high stakes, secrets, lies, deception, sabotage, and money.”
That sounds suspiciously like The Mole. But I admit that I’m willing to see The Mole in anything, that’s how much affection I have for that show, particularly its first two seasons. (Alas, its host, Anderson Cooper, doesn’t share my love of its game.)
While I long for The Mole to come back, it also hasn’t exactly gone away. The Belgian version, De Mol, just premiered its ninth season in March, and the Dutch version, Wie is de Mol?, aired its 21st season earlier this year.
Also, the central idea behind The Mole’s format—a saboteur working against the other contestants—has reappeared in recent years, including:
- on a new game show that aired on ABC this spring, and
- on an upcoming cooking show.
- And Bravo’s Spy Games had had a lot in common with The Mole behind-the-scenes, though it didn’t really work.
But this time, it seems like the actual Mole, the reality competition, is being revived in the U.S.—under a different name, at least right now, but for Netflix.
The Mole—I mean, The Insider—is filming this summer in Australia
BuzzerBlog tweeted today about The Insider and wrote, “I’ve been told it’s actually The Mole.” Other tweets cited casting notices’ description of the format. Kassting’s call didn’t describe the format, so that sent me on a search for those casting calls.
Here is the basic format of the show: 12 people competing together, as a group to add money to a pot, that one person will win at the end of the game.
-Each competition that you complete adds money, competitions failed results in money being taken away.
-There is one INSIDER working against the team, but no one knows who that person is.
-The Insider will try to sabotage the team as much as possible without blowing their cover.
-It’s a game of strategy and manipulation.
-At the end of each episode there is a quiz to see who is on the right track to figuring out who The Insider is.
The person with the lowest score will be eliminated at the end of each episode.
That is literally The Mole’s format, full stop. There’s no way to pretend that’s not The Mole, from the terminology (“pot” of money) to the structure of the episode.
Besides what streaming platform or network has bought the show, one question that remains is whether The Insider is just a working title or a new title—and, honestly, if they’re going to change the name, that’s a pretty great one. (Well, except how overused “The Insider” already is on TV and in film.) There’s also the question of who, if anyone, will host.
As if that wasn’t great enough news, The Insider is being produced by Eureka Productions, which is also behind the outstanding ABC reality competition Holey Moley and the upcoming reality TV version of Frogger, which is also filming in Australia starting later this month.
The application, which promises both “physical challenges” and “mental challenges,” also makes it clear that the show is an American production that’s just filming in Australia by asking applicants if they live in either the United States or Australia, and ask if someone is “an American Citizen living in Australia”.
The casting application posted by Kassting says filming of The Insider is tentatively scheduled for May 29 through the end of August, but since three months is an incredibly long time, it’s likely that’s just the filming window. The casting notice says filming will last seven weeks, which is a little longer than Survivor’s window.
With summer production, it’s possible we’ll see the show as early as fall, but it’s more likely it’ll premiere in 2022.
Netflix’s The Mole is in post-production
Update, Aug. 29, 2021: Netflix’s revival of The Mole is in post-production. At least one editor working on the show has updated their LinkedIn profile to indicate that they began post-production work on “The Mole Series 1 – Netflix USA” in August, and are doing so for Eureka Productions.
Netflix typically announces shows just a few weeks before they premiere, so it’s unlikely we’ll get official word about The Mole’s return until its premiere date is locked in.
This story was updated June 17, 2021, with confirmation that Netflix has ordered The Insider, and again on Aug. 29, 2021, with details about post-production.