Why The US Version Of The Traitors Went With All Celebrities In Season 2

 Parvati Shallow on The Traitors premiere .
Parvati Shallow on The Traitors premiere .

The US version of The Traitors is officially back and with it, almost all the elements fans loved about the first season. Host Alan Cumming and his fantastic and utterly ridiculous accent are around for season two, as are the castle, the backstabbing, the lying, the missions, Fergus, the roundtable, the slow motion murder reveals at breakfast and of course, the reality television legends. From my vantage point, pretty much the only missing elements are the unfamous contestants, and apparently there’s a reason for that.

The US version of the first season of The Traitors featured a cast that was half reality TV stars and half random people cast from off the street. The dynamic produced some really compelling relationships between the cast members and introduced fans to a few players who held their own, at least from a compelling television standpoint, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to convince producers to go down the same road again.

Producer Sam Rees-Jones recently sat with Variety for an interview on all things Traitors Season 2 and explained why the production decided to go with all reality stars the second time around…

Season 1, we were quite interested in how would people approach the game if, for some people, you knew something about and you might have a preconceived idea about, and some people you didn’t know anything about at all. I think that was the concept initially behind the mix. I think it was really interesting, and paid off really well. For Season 2, we wanted to flip it and see how this would play out. The original Dutch format was always all celebrities, and it felt natural to go back to that. I think part of the reason also is that the game is a game of two sides — the Traitors vs. the Faithfuls. We also didn’t want it to be two sides in terms of celebrity and non-celebrity. So it just felt cleaner.

As we’ve seen thus far in Season 2, there are already sub-groups forming within the house, most notably those who have played reality game shows and those who are in personality-based reality shows. The Real Housewives are the most obvious example, as they often congregate together and were called out at the last roundtable by Parvati, much to the frustration of Phaedra. Based on the scenes from next week, it looks like that is going to be all kinds of messy fun, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

As such, it’s probably fair to speculate as to if that would even happen if there were random people in the house. Instead of seeing similarities and differences between what type of show people have been on, I think it’s likely the dividing line would have been the reality stars versus not the reality stars. So, the change-up was probably a good move from a production standpoint.

That being said, I think producers need to keep tweaking with the format and the specific rules. The Traitors seems to be a better game when people are on edge and don’t quite know what to expect. I don’t want the players to how many traitors they are. I don't want them to know who else is playing before they arrive or what wrinkles are coming; so, maybe it’ll make sense at some point in the future to bring in some more randoms for a season, or maybe at least bring back season one standouts like Quentin and Christian.

You can catch new episodes of The Traitors on Peacock on Thursday evenings. If you love reality television, particularly competition shows like Big Brother and Survivor, it’s absolutely worth a Peacock subscription.