Alan Cumming-Hosted 'The Traitors' Renewed for Season 2

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday February 3, 2023

Alan Cumming hosts "The Traitors"
Alan Cumming hosts "The Traitors"  (Source:Peacock)

The Alan Cumming-hosted reality competition series "The Traitors," produced in the UK as an American take of the British version, has done well enough since its premiere last month on Peacock that the streamer has already ordered a second season.

As if that's not enough, the Season 1 cast is slated for a special reunion episode. Deadline reported that Cumming, who is openly bisexual, won't host that event, but out TV personality Andy Cohen will fill in for the Feb. 28 airdate.

Both the British and American versions of the show were shot at a Scottish castle, and feature two teams of contestants in a version of the game "Mafia." When a contestant is "murdered," the others must decide who the prime suspect is. Innocent or guilty, that person is then at risk of being voted off the show. But there's a diabolical twist.

Three of the contestants are "Traitors," who choose the "murder" victim and then work to undermine and eradicate the "Faithfuls." In turn, the "Faithfuls" — who have no idea who the "Traitors are, though the audience knows — try to survive and defend themselves by expelling the game's evildoers."

The intoxicating formula of reality show drama and murder-mystery fun captivated British viewers, and the show's producers hoped that the 10-episode American edition — half the cast of which, the New York Times noted, "are reality TV stars from shows including 'The Bachelor,' 'Big Brother' and 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'" — would perform just as well on this side of the pond.

While half the cast were already familiar faces to Reality TV audiences, the other half were deliberately chosen from regular folks — a way to help break the mold and pour a little more reality into "reality" programming.

"We always knew that we wanted to have a cast — have an eclectic cast — that represented a broad age range of people, much like you would get in a traditional murder mystery," Mike Cotton, who executive produced both versions, told the Times. That said, the producers felt they needed some star power to help the show succeed in a crowded marketplace.

But there was another upside. As Cumming noted, the reality show veterans "were accused of being able to be more manipulative because they've done things like this before — in 'Big Brother,' in those shows where you have to kind of form alliances."

"'The Traitors' is an ambitious, highly addictive and spontaneous format that keeps contestants and viewers on their toes," said Corie Henson, a rep for NBCUniversal's EVP Entertainment Unscripted Content, before going on to call the show "the perfect mix of drama and suspense to keep our Traitors and Faithfuls craving more."

Stephen Lambert, the head of the Studio Lambert which produces the show, chimed in with: "This is the game which shows how people judge each other, often leaping to false conclusions, in a way that's revealing and entertaining, and we're excited to be making a second season with Alan as together we build on the success of the first."

Both versions of "The Traitors" are based on a Dutch reality show, "De Verraders," which pioneered the formula.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.