The Traitors season 2 is a US smash hit, and it could become Peacock's most successful show ever

Alan Cumming sits next to a stash of gold coins in The Traitors US season 2 on Peacock
The Traitors season 2 could be the biggest reality TV hit in Peacock's history. (Image credit: Peacock/NBCUniversal)

After dominating the UK TV scene in January, season 2 of The Traitors is proving just as successful – if not more so – in the US.

The reality TV sensation, which sees 22 contestants – dubbed the Faithful – compete for a cash prize by attempting to weed out the Traitors in their ranks, has been a huge hit in multiple territories. Indeed, season 2 of the UK edition drew in 6.5 million people as its game of deceit, misdirects, and backstabbing played out across its 12 episodes. That audience figure only accounts for those who tuned in up to episode six, too, so that total should increase once the BBC publishes its viewership data for episodes seven through 12.

Now, the US edition of The Traitors, which is currently streaming on Peacock, is attempting to one-up its UK cousin – and all signs point towards it doing so. According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), the unscripted series is set to make its first-ever appearance on the Nielsen streaming charts with a reported total of 384 million minutes viewed during its first week (January 15 through 21). 

However, because it requires time to compile the necessary data, Nielsen defers its internal viewing figures by a month, so we won't know how popular The Traitors season 2 really is until mid-February. Still, the signs are certainly very positive, with Peacock claiming a 75% increase in viewers between seasons 1 and 2, which would make The Traitors its most popular reality series ever.

Guilty of having a TV hit on your hands

Host Alan Cumming welcomes season 2's contestants to The Traitors mansion in the US editiom

"Behold, the success of The Traitors!" (Image credit: Peacock/NBC Universal)

If the show's viewing figures prove to be *ahem* true, it would be another big moment for Peacock.

Despite its extensive back catalog of top-tier movies and slowly growing selection of superb shows, the NBCUniversal-owned platform is far from the world's best streaming service. Indeed, it lags well behind Netflix in the userbase stakes, with its 31 million subscribers (per THR) a far cry from the streaming giant's 260 million haul.

Disney Plus, Prime Video, Max, and pretty much every other streamer can boast higher subscriber counts, too. And, with Comcast (NBCUniversal's parent company) posting losses of $825 million in Q4 2023, it's no surprise there have been murmurs that Peacock might be the first streamer to be shuttered if Comcast decides it needs to cut costs.

A press photograph of The Traitors mansion in season 2 of the Peacock reality series

The Traitors US could persuade more people to stick with Peacock over its rivals. (Image credit: Peacock/NBCUniversal)

The Traitors, though, provides another spark of hope that Peacock can finally emerge from the shadows of its streaming rivals and take a stab at truly competing in the industry. As I mentioned, it's slowly producing some terrific TV Originals that deserve more eyes, including Poker Face, Twisted Metal, and its Ted prequel series. That trio sit alongside some heavy hitters of yesteryear, too, such as 30 Rock, The Office US, and Brooklyn Nine Nine.

On the movie front, Peacock is also starting to pack a punch. The Super Mario Bros. Movie landed on the service in December 2023, and it'll be joined by a number of the best Christopher Nolan movies (including Oppenheimer) in early February. That contingent will sit side-by-side with plenty of beloved films – first-party Universal flicks and licensed movies – including the Harry Potter films, the Fast & Furious franchise, and the Shrek movies.

The Traitors' likely massive success, then, has the potential to give Peacock a sizeable boost in its attempt to escape its 'streaming minnow' label, and showcase its veritable bounty of content to a wider audience. I've seen first-hand how a single show can catapult a streamer into the public's consciousness – Stranger Things on Netflix and The Boys on Prime Video, for example – and The Traitors has the ability to do likewise for Peacock. Time will tell if it does, but the signs are promising.

The Traitors US seasons 1 and 2 are available on Peacock now. The Traitors UK's two seasons can be seen on BBC iPlayer, while both seasons of The Traitors Australia are on Network 10.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

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