is reporting that ABC is putting The Mole II: The Next Betrayal on hiatus until early 2002, but you won't hear the show's producers crying about it.

"We look at this as good news," Scott Stone, one of the principals of Stone Stanley Productions, the producers of The Mole, told Variety. "ABC loves the show and they want to give it a good relaunch."

ABC pulled the unscripted series Monday (Oct. 15) after three episodes aired at 8 p.m. ET Fridays. None did well in the ratings; the program averaged a 3.7 household rating/7 share and only a 2.2 rating among adults 18-49, fourth for the time period among the six networks.

The Mole II: The Next Betrayal is the first serialized, unscripted series to be yanked in the middle of its run, becoming the first true casualty of a general slump among "reality" programs. Ratings are down across the board for such shows, with even juggernaut Survivor suffering slightly in the premiere of its third edition.

The Mole II: The Next Betrayal will likely return in January or March; the three episodes that have aired will probably be repeated. "It's going to be the longest cliffhanger in TV history," Stone says.

An installment of America's Funniest Home Videos will replace The Mole II: The Next Betrayal this week. The network hasn't decided on a long-term replacement.