ABC has announced that its sequel to last summer's Dancing With The Stars megahit will premiere on January 5 at 8PM, taking over the Thursday night time period currently occupied by Alias

Dancing With The Stars will remain in the highly competitive time period throughout its eight week, after which Alias (going on hiatus due to star Jennifer Garner's maternity leave) is expected to return to the time period.

Dancing With The Stars averaged 16.8 million viewers during its six-week run, making it the most watched show of the summer by far. In addition to averaging 22.4 million viewers and 6.7/19 rating/share, the celebrity ballroom dancing competition's July 6 finale also drew the most viewers and highest Adults 18-49 demographic numbers of any summer television series since Fox's September 2002 finale of American Idol's first season. Idol's original edition averaged 12.5 million Tuesday performance show viewers and 13.5 Wednesday results show viewers during its three-month run in Summer 2002.

However, unlike its initial season that was broadcast in what has now become Lost's Wednesday 9PM ET/PT timeslot, Dancing With The Stars 2 will air in what has suddenly become the most competive time period on television, where it will face off against Fox's The O.C., UPN's Everybody Hates Chris, The WB's Smallville, the remains of NBC's Joey (assuming NBC hasn't moved My Name Is Earl into the time period by then) and Survivor, the long-running CBS reality series that has managed to continue to dominate the hour.

Dancing's January premiere will have one thing going for it: CBS. Unlike NBC which tends to roll out its midseason The Apprentice edition almost immediately after its fall edition ends, CBS has historically delayed the premiere of its midseason Survivor editions until February, a move that should allow the ABC series to dig in its heels and gain some ratings momentum before Survivor's return. And given that it will suddenly be facing a powerful new 1-2 punch of Survivor and NBC's Winter Olympics coverage as it nears the end of its eight-week run, Dancing with the Stars 2 will likely need all the ratings momentum it can muster.

Although ABC has yet to reveal the identities of any of the new season's celebrities and dancing partners, the fact that Dancing With The Stars has seen its broadcast run expanded to eight episodes has prompted speculation that the new season will also expand its cast to feature eight dancing couples.

Also still undecided is where the show's new Idol-like weekly results show -- created in response to criticism of last season's judging system -- will air. According to Daily Variety, ABC is "still mulling" where to schedule the results broadcast, but as of now it appears that it is likely to air on Friday evenings.