"Dancing With the Stars" will return in January

"Dancing With the Stars," a summertime hit for ABC, will return for an eight-week run in January.

The series will fill in for "Alias," which is going on hiatus to accommodate Jennifer Garner's maternity leave, ABC said Friday. Garner is expecting her first child with husband Ben Affleck later this year.

"Dancing With the Stars" attracted an average weekly audience of nearly 17 million viewers and became the most-watched network summer series in the past five years.

It was followed by a September dance-off between initial champion Kelly Monaco (ABC's "General Hospital") and her partner and runner-up John O'Hurley ("Seinfeld") and his partner. O'Hurley won but that show drew a smaller audience.

The dance show's second run will start Jan. 5. It feature new celebrities to be announced later, ABC said. Spy drama "Alias" will return in the spring with original episodes, AP reports.

A. A.