11 things you probably didn't know about 'The Traitors'

  • "The Traitors" is a mysterious game show that recently debuted its second US season on Peacock.

  • The show's concept was inspired by a historical event and it originally involved a ship.

  • Competitors don't always know how many traitors there are and they can't have unlimited alcohol.

Complete with celebrities, backstabbing, twists, and a cash prize, "The Traitors" is a murder-mystery reality show that has viewers all over the world tuned in.

On it, contestants compete in missions to earn prize money while trying to figure out who among them is a traitor sending the innocent players home.

Whether you prefer the UK version, US version, or another around the globe, here are some interesting things you may not know about "The Traitors."

The show started in The Netherlands.

The Traitors season one cast standing in front of a laser maze
The US version of "The Traitors" debuted in 2023 on Peacock.Euan Cherry/Peacock via Getty Images

The first version of the show is the Dutch series "De Verraders," which premiered in 2021.

It was later adapted for the UK on BCC and the US on Peacock. Other countries, like Spain, have also developed versions of the show.

The premise of "The Traitors" is based on a dark historical event.

The Traitors season one round table, Alan Cumming walking around the contestants in a board room
Some brainstormed versions of "The Traitors" involved a boat. Euan Cherry/Peacock via Getty Images

The show's concept was developed by Jasper Hoogendoorn and Marc Pos and it took years to finalize.

According to The Guardian, the premise was inspired by a real-life mutiny on a 17th-century Dutch ship.

"It's a story about people who murder each other, backstab each other, betray each other. It's a horrible story," Hoogdendoor said at a TV festival in 2023. "But it was such a fascinating story and I was thinking it's also exciting. It's so exciting to read that story and that's where the whole idea came to create the show."

He also said the show was originally going to take place on a ship and be called "The Mutineers." Pos told Variety in 2023 contestants were going to jump off the ship when they got eliminated.

But the ship made the show too complicated to produce.

The US and UK versions of the show are filmed in the same real-life Scottish estate.

The Traitors season one cast members sitting in front of castle
Ardross Castle is the backdrop to many seasons of "The Traitors." Euan Cherry/Peacock via Getty Images

So far, all of the UK and US seasons have been filmed in and around real-life Scottish estate Ardross Castle.

Per the Ardross Castle website, the 100-acre property is privately owned and doesn't offer tours or individual stays, but it can be booked for groups or events.

Much of US host Alan Cumming's bright and eclectic wardrobe comes from his own closet.

Alan Cumming on season two of The Traitors in front of the castle in a red suit with a tartan scarf and red flower on his shoulder
Alan Cumming hosts "The Traitors" on Peacock. Euan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

Cumming told TODAY.com in February 2023 that playing himself on the US version of "The Traitors" was a big part of adding an element of camp to the show.

To help bring more of his real self to the character he plays, Cumming brought many pieces of his wardrobe from home, including some of his trademark tartan suits.

You don't have to be a fan of the show — or even watch it — to be cast on it.

MJ, Johnny Bananas and Phaedra at The Traitors round table season 2
Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio said he didn't watch "The Traitors" before going on it. Euan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

Season-two cast member Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio said he and fellow "The Challenge" alum Chris "CT" Tamburello had never watched the show before joining it.

"It's actually really funny because CT and me — and this wasn't even planned — we were the only two people on the entire show that hadn't watched the first season of 'Traitors,'" Bananas told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month.

Filming can sometimes last 16 hours per day.

The Traitors US season two cast in black west suits and helmets cheering after a mission
Filming varies on "The Traitors" but it can run long. PeacocEuan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

Although it may vary by country and season, "Traitors" contestants can be subject to pretty long days of filming.

Alex Gray, who competed in "The Traitors" UK, said in a December 2022 TikTok that filming was "intense" — she spent 16 hours a day shooting the show over "about four weeks."

The cast really doesn't get to say goodbye to those who are sent home.

The traitors season one contestants sitting around table eating breakfast
Competitors don't get to say goodbye when they're sent home. Euan Cherry/Peacock via Getty Images

Meryl Williams, a season-one contestant on the UK series, said she was surprised cast members didn't get to say "a proper goodbye" to people who got sent home, or "banished."

Williams called it "the worst thing" about the show in a December 2022 TikTok.

Contestants' alcohol consumption is limited.

Peter Weber, Kevin Kreider  talking while holding copper mugs on the traitors season 2
The alcohol flow isn't endless on "The Traitors." Euan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

The cast of "The Traitors" is limited to a few alcoholic beverages at a time.

Williams said in a December 2022 TikTok that the cast only got to drink every couple of nights. When they drank, she said, the amount of alcohol was limited and they only got "like one or two glasses each."

UK competitor Wilf Webster told Heat World the limit is because showrunners "don't want us to mess up and get drunk and accidentally do something."

A lot of the strategizing happens in the cars to and from missions.

Close up of Traitors printed on front of black cars in front of castle on The Traitors
Contestants don't have to whisper in the car ride. Euan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

The best time to plot with other contestants may just be in cars on the way to and from missions when the cast is divided into smaller groups.

"The cars were really great times to chat with people because you're separated and nobody can hear what you're saying," US competitor Rachel Reilly told Reality Blurred in January 2023. "In the castle, you have to whisper."

The roundtable can be more intense than what you see on TV.

Empty Round table room with Alan Cumming standing in front of it on The Traitors US
The roundtable can get messy. Euan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

According to US contestant Arie Luyendyk, the roundtable where cast members discuss who to eliminate is even more explosive than what viewers see at home.

He told US Weekly in February 2023 there's "a lot of pointing fingers, a lot of below-the-belt stuff" that didn't air.

He added there were raw, even mean, comments made during season one that he thinks the editors removed to keep the discussion focused on the game.

The cast isn't always told how many traitors there are.

Phaedra and Alan Cumming sitting in front of fireplace on Traitors season two
Contestants aren't always given a precise number of traitors to track down. Euan Cherry/PEACOCK via Getty Images

Part of the challenge of competing on "The Traitors" is not always knowing how many traitors you're trying to eliminate.

"We knew that there could potentially be three to five traitors in the game," US contestant Cirie Fields told E! in 2023. "That was explained to us from the very beginning."

Gray also confirmed the lack of insight in a December 2022 TikTok video.

She said there were times during her season when cast members thought there were no traitors and the show was just a social experiment.

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