Back with a bang, The Traitors returned for the BBC last night, watched by 3M viewers.
The opening ep, in which 22 contestants were introduced and three were chosen to be ‘traitors’, has been anticipated for months, following the runaway, watercooler success of the first.
Helmed ably once again by Claudia Winkleman, the show peaked with around 3.1M, according to Barb ratings data supplied by overnights.tv, as contestants including a clairvoyant, chess coach and a British Army engineer entered the fray in the now-beloved Scottish castle.
Episodes will air three a week at 9 p.m. GMT (1 p.m. GMT) with three dropped on iPlayer at a time, and a second season of Peacock’s U.S. version, hosted by Alan Cumming, will kick off shortly.
Produced by All3Media-backed Squid Game: The Challenge maker Studio Lambert, this series has stayed pretty true to the last given that one’s success, with only minor tweaks including more opportunity to win ‘shields’ for ‘faithfuls’ who want to avoid being eliminated.
While 3M is miles behind entertainment juggernauts such as I’m a Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing, it is a decent showing for a highly-formatted reality show that has only been airing for two seasons, and the numbers will likely shoot up on iPlayer. On the flipside, BBC bosses may have expected to outdo last year’s opening ep, which hit 2.9M, given that the pubcaster has thrown its marketing might behind the series.
Last year’s first ep was helped by a healthy lead-in from an England World Cup football match. In a rare feat for a multi-episode entertainment show, the series grew audience through the run, both on iPlayer and on linear. The final was watched by 3.3M in what was an incredibly dramatic conclusion.
The BBC’s Survivor reboot opened with 2.5M in October 2023, roughly level with ITV’s relaunched Big Brother.
The Traitors couldn’t come close to matching the most-watched show on British TV yesterday, which was the 6pm news.
Unexpectedly when the BBC was plotting scheduling, The Traitors may have lost some viewers to a highly-anticipated final of the World Darts Championship, as the 16-year-old who has captured the nation in recent weeks, Luke Littler, lost to Luke Humphries, watched by a 1.2M average and peaking with 2.1M towards the close.
The Traitors was also behind the third episode of ITV continuing drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, which was watched by 3.5M.