As readers of reality blurred have known since spring of 2021, The Mole is returning to the U.S., on Netflix.
On Aug. 17—at long fucking last!—Netflix made that official by sending a press release to a handful of media outlets. And a few weeks later, Netflix finally gave us an airdate. Here’s all of that information, as it unfolded.
Details about Netflix’s Mole revival/reboot
The mid-August announcement added two pieces of information, and confirmed two others:
- The show will have 12 players.
- There will be 10 episodes. (Season 1 had nine episodes, including the reunion, while season two had 12 episodes)
- “The Insider” was, thankfully, just a working title for the show that was cast and filmed in 2021.
- Netflix didn’t film and then decide to scrap the series. The long, long delay between casting, filming, post-production, could have indicated that all was not well with this new Netflix Mole.
While the show is coming, thankfully, the long gap between filming and airing may point to other issues, such as difficulty putting the show together in post-production. Post began in August 2021, a very long time for a 10-episode reality TV show.
Or everything could have been flawless and without problems and Netflix just wanted to schedule it in late 2022.
Netflix’s The Mole premiere date and schedule
Because this is Netflix, and they like to be secretive, they haven’t actually announced a premiere date or a roll-out schedule (All at once? Or weekly batches like The Circle and Love Is Blind?).
All we know right now is that it’s coming this fall.
Update, Aug. 24: The Mole is not on Netflix’s list of September 2022 premieres, so that likely means October or November.
Update, Sept. 8: Netflix announced the show will premiere Oct. 7, and drop episodes over three weeks.
Vulture‘s Joe Adalian reported that the schedule will be different than other multi-week drops:
- Five episodes on Oct. 7
- Three episodes on Oct. 14
- Two episodes on Oct. 21, including the finale
Five episodes is a lot for one week, and the most ever for a Netflix reality TV show that has been spread over several weeks. The Circle, for example, dropped four episodes a week, and then the finale.
The Mole’s reboot will have a new host
Update, Sept. 8: I independently confirmed and reported yesterday that the new host of The Mole is Alex Wagner. Netflix officially announced her casting today, along with the schedule.
Earlier: In August, Netflix also didn’t announce a host, but since the show has been filmed, clearly that person’s identity is out there. (Know who it is?)
Netflix made the announcement about The Mole reboot not by sending a press release to all media, but sending an embargoed release to select outlets, which were able to publish at noon ET today.
RealScreen‘s story focuses on the format deal, noting that “Belgian specialist format distributor Primitives is teaming with L.A.- and Sydney-based prodco Eureka Productions.”
It quoted, from the press release, Primatives’ Jan Huyse, who said, “The Mole is one of the best reality formats in the market, and is still going strong after 20+ years. We are very proud of its ongoing success, and are thrilled that it will be introduced to new audiences worldwide through Netflix.”
Primatives also sold the format in Italy, announcing last month that it will return there in early 2023. The good news is that its format is the original format:
For those who don’t know The Mole – and it’s possible that there are maybe one or two people out there, The Mole is a gripping reality programme, in which ten contestants set off en route to an unknown destination. Each episode sees a number of different challenges, and for the successful completion of each challenge, the prize money at the end of the series – for the one winner only, increases. But one of the contestants is the “Mole”, who is out to sabotage everything, and thus it is vital to find out his or her identity. And the more a contestants know about the Mole, the greater their chances of reaching the final. At the end of each episode, contestants are given a list of questions, which will reveal how much they know and have learned about their fellow contestants. And the one with the lowest score each week must leave the game.
The key to success is to trust no one. Because after all, anyone can be The Mole….!
Hopefully, Netflix’s version—which was filmed entirely in Australia, but with American contestants—will stick close to that format.
Joe Adalian gave both reality blurred and Buzzerblog credit in his story for Vulture, and he also confirmed that Anderson Cooper “will not be reprising the role” of host.
That’s not surprising, considering that he hasn’t participated since 2002—two decades now—and considering what Anderson told me in 2015.
I was somewhat frustrated when the news broke—not just because I and so many other journalists and outlets were not sent the announcement (I’m used to that, but I want more people to know about The Mole)—but because of some weaker coverage.
Variety‘s version, for example, was written as if it was reporting (“Variety has learned”) rather than just using a press release. It says that Netflix has “ordered” the show, when of course we know that the actual order happened at least a year and a half ago.
It also says “There has been widespread speculation that Netflix was plotting a new version of The Mole after the streaming giant added the first two seasons of the series to its library in the summer of 2021.”
But there was no need for speculation, if there even was any: After a show called “The Insider” started casting, Buzzerblog tweeted in early May that it was “The Mole,” and I confirmed that in June 2021.
Meanwhile, Netflix has removed those two original seasons, replacing them this summer with ABC’s two Celebrity Mole seasons.
But that first season is still on DVD, and if you have not seen it, I encourage you to track it down—or at least read my recaps below, because it really set a high bar not just for future versions of The Mole, but also for competition reality TV.