With every newly reanimated series comes a new host (and a new twist, naturally). Channel 7 have made their decision and there’s no returning to the heady days of host Tom Williams (thank god) or the original host Grant Bowler (a shame)… instead opting for under-appreciated talent Shura Taft. His fandom of the format aside, it’s a pretty plum gig given the investment Ch7 are throwing at the new series. Here’s hoping there’s more Mole action and less contestant controversy than the “culture clash” tag suggests. From the press release:

Seven has today announced Shura Taft as the host of the new series of The Mole.

Shura is one of the rising young stars of Australian TV. He comes to The Mole from a background in children’s television and last year stepped up to host a range of AFL shows on pay television as well as a live late night chat show.

He will bring a unique energy and infectious enthusiasm to The Mole having been a huge fan of the series in the past.

“This is the start of something special. The Mole is a much-loved show, and the time is right to return it to Australian screens. And to cast Shura as host is tremendously exciting. He’s taking the next step in his career, he has talent, charm and a very real ability to connect with the audience, and he’ll do a fantastic job,” said Seven’s Director of Production Brad Lyons.

“As a host you want to not only love what you do but also love the show you’re hosting. To be given the opportunity by Seven to be a part of The Mole is unbelievable. It’s a dream job,” Shura said.

“I’ve been a big fan of The Mole since the first series started when I was at secondary school. The fact that one of the contestants is actually trying to sabotage what the others are trying to achieve is fantastic intrigue. The mind games are the best part of the game. I’m an absolute Mole nerd,” he said.

The Mole is a hugely successful reality TV show that has been played around the world since 1999. Contestants work together as a group and perform challenges to earn money that adds to a winner’s pot. But among them is a saboteur – one of them is covertly trying to make the group fail – that person is The Mole.

It’s been labeled the smartest show of its kind because it relies on intelligence and skill to win. In this game of strategy and intrigue, mental strength is just as important as physical ability.

Production on The Mole starts January 16.