HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Things are looking up for fans of ABC's reality series "Mole 2: The Next Betrayal."
For one thing, viewers Tuesday night finally discovered the identity of the mole -- nearly a year after "Mole 2" debuted. The show was pulled after a couple of episodes last fall, leaving viewers to wait eight months for a summer run of the series.
More encouraging, a third installment of the "Mole" franchise -- which not long ago seemed far-fetched -- is now a real possibility.
"We are definitely considering it," ABC alternative programming chief Andrea Wong said. "It's performed well for us this summer against strong competition. And it's an even better show than it was before."
Indeed, "Mole 2" has been facing off against Fox's red-hot reality phenomenon "American Idol" for most of the summer. While "Idol" has no doubt lured away some of the potential "M2" audience, the latter has more than held its own and ranks as ABC's highest-rated program of the summer with young viewers.
Executive producers David Stanley and Scott Stone are cautiously optimistic about another installment of "The Mole" franchise.
"The good news is ABC is encouraged and they seem to be thinking about doing more," Stone said, adding that "M2" appears to be doing well because it's a classic "whodunit" format.
Stanley said he and Stone are "already looking for ways to get more audience awareness and make the show more promotable." One idea is to trim the shooting schedule back from six weeks to four and to reduce the number of episodes in each from 13 to the nine that the original "Mole" offered.
When ABC pulled "M2" last fall, host Anderson Cooper took a gig with CNN. If there's an "M3," will Cooper be back?
"Anderson's been really supportive of the show from day one," Stone said. "What makes him special is that he loves doing both news and 'The Mole.' Given his preference, he'd like to do both, and hopefully he will."