‘The Traitors’: BBC In Talks to Buy U.S. Edition of Reality Hit (EXCLUSIVE)

UPDATE: The BBC has confirmed its acquisition of the American version of “The Traitors,” as first revealed by Variety. The full series of the U.S. adaptation for Peacock will drop on iPlayer on Friday (Jan. 13), and will later air on both BBC Three and BBC One.

The show will be available on BBC One as double bills on Wednesday nights at 10:40 p.m. for 5 weeks from Jan. 25. It will air on BBC Three across three weeks from Jan. 24.

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EARLIER: The BBC is in discussions to acquire the U.S. adaptation of hit format “The Traitors” following its runaway success in the U.K., Variety has learned.

Sources indicate that BBC executives have been keen to get their hands on the Alan Cumming-hosted reality show — which launches on NBC-owned streaming service Peacock on Thursday (Jan. 12) — though a deal is not yet concluded. There’s no doubt, of course, that the public broadcaster will be eager to grab audiences again with the buzzy format given the show’s runaway success in Britain over the holidays. Sources indicate it’s likely the show will land on either BBC3 or directly on iPlayer. Previous reports that “The Traitors” U.S. will air on Sky streamer NOW TV, which features some Peacock originals given they share the same parent company in Comcast, are understood to be incorrect.

“The Traitors” was created by Dutch producer Marc Pos, who told Variety that he struggled to sell the format for six years before it eventually landed on public broadcaster RTL4 in 2021 and became a huge local hit.

Developed by Pos’ All3Media-owned IDTV and the RTL creative unit, the social experiment sees 20 contestants move into a castle and work as a team to complete a series of dramatic missions in order to earn money for the prize pot. However, some of them are secretly “traitors” who attempt to eliminate loyal contestants, labelled the “faithfuls,” through treachery and deceit.

While some have drawn comparisons to shows such as “The Mole” — in which a secret saboteur in a group of contestants must foil the team’s money-making efforts — “The Traitors” is unique in its early reveal of who exactly the traitors are, adding a whole new, delectable psychological dimension to the process of elimination.

The U.K. edition of the show, produced by “Gogglebox” and “The Circle” producer Studio Lambert, was hosted by beloved “Strictly Come Dancing” host Claudia Winkleman, and featured an all-civilian group of contestants. The show — which has been applauded for its compelling casting and large-scale, innovative physical challenges — was the second most-streamed program on BBC streamer iPlayer over the two-week holiday period from Dec. 20 to Jan. 2, pulling in 12.4 million streams. This was especially impressive given the show’s linear broadcast only concluded on Dec. 22.

Produced by Studio Lambert, which also handled the U.K. adaptation, the American “Traitors” is believed to be the first hybrid edition of the format, and features both civilians and reality TV celebrities such as Olympian swimmer and former “Big Brother” contestant Ryan Lochte, Kate Chastain from “Below Deck,” and Brandi Glanville from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Filmed in the same Scottish castle as the British show, it’s hosted by Scotsman Alan Cumming, who — if the trailer is any indication — seems to be just as skilled as Winkelman in balancing a steely exterior with genuine concern for the contestants’ fate. Many of the challenges of the U.S. show also appear to be the same as the British edition.

“The Traitors” premieres in the U.S. on Thursday (Jan. 12). It’s not yet clear when the BBC may go out with the program in the U.K.

The BBC and All3Media International did not comment on the deal.

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