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August 20, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

Turns out a nine-month vacation was just what the doctor ordered. When the second season of ABC’s ”The Mole” debuted last fall, an audience that suddenly didn’t find anything amusing about a show with a secret saboteur ignored it in droves, and the low-rated show was shelved until this summer. But the revived show has been a big enough hit to ensure a third season, Variety reports. Bowing to reality-show inevitability, there will also be a celebrity edition.

In fact, Variety reports, the celebrity edition has been easier to get off the ground than the civilian one. ABC has greenlit a six-week January or March run for an abbreviated competition (filmed over seven to 10 days), in which one star would secretly undermine the others while feigning cooperation. (In other words, just like business as usual in Hollywood.) Winnings will go to charities of the stars’ choices.

The deal with ”Mole” producer Stone Stanley Entertainment is not yet firm for the standard edition. That would cover a nine-week competition among ordinary unknowns to air next summer. It’s also not clear whether host-turned-CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper will be back. Maybe ABC can get its old ”Wonder Years” star Fred Savage to take the job; he’s already proven himself as a mole in ”Austin Powers in Goldmember.”

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