HBO Max Orders Spanish Version Of ‘The Traitors’; Remake Of Dutch Adventure Format Marks First Commission Since European Originals Halt

Earlier this month, it emerged HBO Max was halting development of original shows across several parts of Europe. Spain was one of two territories shielded from the strategic change and today the streamer revealed it is adapting Dutch psychological adventure format The Traitors for the Iberian country.

Banijay Iberia’s Gestmusic will produce the local version of the IDTV-created RTL show, with the Spanish series, Traitors España, running to eight episodes following the deal with All3Media’s international sales arm. The adaptation has wrapped filming in an atmospheric castle in Spain, featuring 18 celebrity contestants and hosted by actor and director Sergio Peris-Mencheta.

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The commission is notable for HBO Max as it retreats from original production in Central Europe, where HBO is well established and in some cases propped up local production communities for 15 years, and the Nordics. Plans for originals out of The Netherlands and Turkey were also halted after less than a year. Spain and France were let off the hook, with HBO Max parent Warner Bros. Discovery wielding the axe elsewhere as it seeks to find $3B worth of savings in two years.

Deadline understands European redundancies will likely follow, but sources have indicated the nature of these probably won’t be known until September, with Europe’s TV sector traditionally winding down over the summer months.

An intense psychological game in which players must decide who they can trust, The Traitors has already been commissioned in the UK, the U.S., Norway, France, Belgium and Australia. The American version is in production at Peacock, as Deadline revealed in April, with Alan Cumming presenting, while BBC One made a two-season order towards the end of last year. Claudia Winkleman is attached to host. Both are produced by All3’s Studio Lambert.

The format sees celebrities tasked with completing a series of challenges with the objective of earning a cash prize. But the catch is three of them are chosen to be traitors, and they must devise a plan to steal the prize instead of sharing it among the rest.

IDTV’s CEO Marc Pos and Creative Director Jasper Hoogendoorn created the format, which was then further developed with the RTL Creative Unit. Launched in March 2021 as De Verraders on RTL4, it took a 43% share among adults 25-54 and 50% share among adults 16-24. A second series was ordered after two episodes of the first series aired. The second series followed in April and a third is on the way.

Annelies Sitvast, Head of Unscripted Production, HBO Max EMEA, said: “We are delighted to bring The Traitors to HBO Max, this intriguing format is guaranteed to offer a nail-biting battle between good and evil where no one knows who to trust, and we can’t wait to see everyone’s game plans unfold. The psychological battle between contestants, the incredible settings and some amazing participants is a recipe for success.”

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