Peacock’s The Traitors made its American debut last Thursday, gathering a cast of reality TV veterans and regular non-TV people in a Scottish castle to compete for money and figure out which three people were the traitors in their midst. It's a great concept for a reality competition, with elements of The Mole and Survivor and plenty of occasions for the contestants to hurl accusations at one another, which makes it a little like the Real Housewives franchise as well.
The first season cast fan-favorites from shows like Survivor, Big Brother, The Real Housewives, and Below Deck, which really paid off. Watching Cirie Fields pull one over on her cast members as one of the Traitors was a thrill for anyone who'd seen her operate on Survivor. Peacock has not yet announced a second season of the U.S. adaptation, but in anticipation of potential new episodes, we’ve crafted a casting wish list. Here are 12 reality TV personalities who could be devious, shrewd, or just plain dramatic enough to take on The Traitors.
Starting off with an easy one: Dan is pretty widely recognized as one of the most skillful and devious people to ever play Big Brother. He won once in Season 10, and then in his return to the game in Season 14, he played one of the most ostentatiously deceptive games ever, en route to finishing second. He'd be incredible at a game like The Traitors, where turning suspicion around and making people vote against their own interests is of paramount importance.
The most recent season of Survivor came to a deflating end, mostly because we'd all gotten so invested in Jesse and Karla, who were chopped just before the finals. They were head-and-shoulders above their fellow contestants when it came to deception and bending the other players to their own chosen strategy. Jesse in particular had a knack for getting his way without the other person in the conversation thinking they'd been bulldozed. Karla, meanwhile, knew how to read people, which in many ways is the only skill that matters on The Traitors. Like Cirie and Stephenie in Season 1, you could see Jesse and Karla working together, even if one was a Traitor.
As the stars and two best players on last summer's best show, L.C. and Logan are not only eminently qualified for The Traitors, but they'd be damned entertaining while trying to sleuth out the Traitors' secret identities. Their previous reality TV appearance was already about intuition and deduction — as well as keeping their true identities a secret. Their run to the finals of Claim to Fame saw them form an effective pair, and they're both gifted at giving endearing and funny confessionals. Cast them both and make only one of them the traitor. Sparks would fly!
This one might be a controversial pick. Joi's game in Netflix's The Mole revival was a divisive one. Some saw her as a spectacularly erratic player who made incredibly bad decisions again and again. She took $25,000 out of the prize pool, and she wasn't even the Mole! Still, others look at Joi's game and see a classic wild card who might play poorly, but in a way that throws off everybody else's radar. The Traitors Season 1 had a player like that in Kate, but Joi doesn't come with the former's inherent unpleasant demeanor. Joi is fun! She may not have been the sh*thole Mole, but give her a chance to be a sh*thole Traitor.
Emphasis on the "or"! We don't need too much The Challenge energy on The Traitors. That would be like letting someone track muddy footprints all through your nice, refined house. But given that the objective of The Traitors is to help your team get to the end with a huge sum of prize money, only to then reveal that you're traitor and take all the money for yourself, well that's exactly what Johnny and Ashley did on seasons 28 and 32 of The Challenge, respectively. They know how it's done, and would do so without remorse. As for which one we'd pick, Johnny's been on 8,000 seasons of reality TV, so odds are good the audience is sick of him by now. But Ashley is by far the more volatile one. The Traitors isn't any place for fist-fights, so maybe Johnny is the safe pick. It's time for him to level up from The Challenge anyway.
Dipping into the population of reality stars who haven't been on strategy-based shows, we're leading with Bob the Drag Queen. Bob won Season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race with one of the most dominant start-to-finish performances ever. With a quick wit and jokes for days, Bob would be great at sizing up the competition. Plus, as Shangela showed on Season 31 of Dancing with the Stars, drag queens show up to compete. There's a check at the end of this show, and Bob will probably be there to collect it.
Brandi Glanville didn't last long on The Traitors this season, but that doesn't mean that Peacock shouldn't be looking for another Real Housewife to cast on Season 2. The possibilities are honestly endless. Do you go classy like Lisa Vanderpump? Faux-classy like Countess LuAnn? Nightmare-inducing like Viki Gunvalson? Currently, though, there's no better housewife bet than Potomac's Candiace Dillard. She's smart, cagey, can turn a phrase like few reality stars ("not today, neck"), and if you so much as cast a whiff of an aspersion her way, she will burn your whole Scottish castle down with words. She's the poet laureate of Bravo, and she deserves to spread her wings.
In August 2022, Christine Quinn announced she was leaving Selling Sunset, which likely meant a whole lot of viewers would also be leaving, because what's worth watching if Christine isn't there? Whether she's actually a glamorous sociopath or just plays one on TV is a matter for debate, but either way she'd be fascinating in a game where you need to read other people carefully. Does Christine know if other people actually exist? Only one way to find out.
The skill set required to win The Great British Baking Show is not the same as the skill set required to win The Traitors. There is barely any overlap between baking a delicate yet flavorful pavlova for Prue Leith and meeting in secret to decide which of your fellow cast members to "murder" at the behest of Tony winner Alan Cumming. That said, Giuseppe was such a warm and entertaining presence on GBBS — not to mention someone who found a way to win almost always — that we'd like to see him try. Not everybody in your cast needs to be some cunning pool shark. Let's see how far Giuseppe gets on charm and work ethic.
Here's where a second season of The Traitors could go from good to great. Success on the show largely comes down to seeing through other people's bullsh*t. And few people see through other people's bullsh*t like Barbara Corcoran does on Shark Tank. With a terse "I'm out," she's sized up the nonsense-peddling would-be entrepreneurs in front of her and found them lacking for 14 seasons. There is no way those skills wouldn't translate to telling Johnny Bananas he's a duplicitous liar who doesn't deserve her financial backing. And God help anyone she tries to make a deal with. Before they know it, she'll have a 65% stake in their winnings. Make it happen, Peacock.
Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.