'The Traitors' creator says the show got rejected '40 or 50 times' — but he kept pitching until someone said yes

Marc Pos Traitors creator
Marc Pos created "The Traitors."Sander Koning/AFP/Getty Images
  • The second season of "The Traitors" UK comes to its deceitful and dramatic conclusion on Friday.

  • Marc Pos said it took him five years to get the show made in the Netherlands.

  • Pos says "The Traitors" captures the zeitgeist because it's about about "human behavior."

Millions of viewers watched the gripping season two finale of "The Traitors" UK on Friday.

The second run of the gloriously deceitful, meme-producing reality show has proven even more successful than the first, drawing audiences of more than six million viewers for some episodes, per the BBC.

Season one is available on Peacock, with the latest season set to be available to stream in the coming weeks.

A second season of the US version, hosted by Alan Cumming, began this month and has also proved popular with viewers.

The Traitors US season two premiere
Alan Cumming hosts the US version of The Traitors.Peacock/Getty Images

Meanwhile, "The Traitors Australia" has earned a cult-like following for its lower-budget but seriously entertaining take on the format.

There are also versions in countries including Belgium, Norway, New Zealand and the Netherlands, which is where the show first aired.

"The Traitors" format was dreamt up by Marc Pos back in 2014. However, it took him a long time to get the show picked up by a network despite being having directed the first season of "Big Brother" in the Netherlands, where that format also originated.

"I pitched it for five years, and nobody wanted to buy it. I probably pitched it 40 or 50 times to broadcasters – some of them said to me, "Oh no, not 'The Traitors' again," Pos told GQ.

After years of tests and pilots, in November 2020 he was finally given the green light to start making the show on RTL 4, the most-watched station in the Netherlands.

"When we aired it at the beginning of 2021, it was immediately a success," Pos said. "I think by episode three there was already some interest from big countries like the UK and US."

For the uninitiated, the show brings 22 strangers together in a Scottish castle, in the case of the UK and US editions. The mission for the "faithfuls" is identifying an undisclosed number of traitors in their midst while completing challenges to put money in the prize pot.

Most nights the traitors strike, murdering one of the group. The remaining faithful must then argue it out around the "round table" to decide who should be banished. Cue suspicion, backstabbing, and high tension.

Eleven countries have bought the format, Pos told Variety, with another nine coming this year.

The BBC and Peacock have both renewed the show for a third season.

Claudia Winkleman hosts the UK version of "The Traitors"
Claudia Winkleman hosts the UK version of "The Traitors."Ian West/PA/Getty Images

Pos puts the show's success down to audience fascination with social behavior and the importance of trust, or lack of it, in social media and the news.

"I think the concept captures the zeitgeist of our society today," he told Variety. "What can we trust? And who can we trust? I think it's a good thing that this show took so long to get made because it's arrived at the right time."

Even though the audience know what's going on, he says the audience can relate to these universal feelings.

"People at TV channels kept telling me that if I know who the traitors are, there's no point. But as it turns out, if you produce a show in a good manner, then it becomes a success everywhere."

Pos told GQ: "It's about human behavior. We're all part of the human race. And deep in our minds, we react the same in these kinds of situations."

The original version was cast with Dutch celebrities, but Pos said the BBC's decision to use ordinary people was a masterstroke. "Normal people, you don't know them, but people are surprising," he told GQ. "It's been a success in so many countries, but the UK blows the roof off."

Read the original article on Business Insider