Friday, December 8, 2023

Lips are sealed on Three’s most anticipated reality series of the year

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Chateau Tongariro, Shavaughn Ruakere and Teuila Blakely. Photos / Christine Cornege, Michael Craig and Matt Klitscher

Could the iconic Chateau Tongariro feature in the most anticipated reality series of the year?

Lips are sealed on new whodunnit reality series The Traitors NZ, where contestants work with and against each other using lies, deception, treachery and betrayal in a nail-biting elimination game.

Described by industry insiders as ” the sophisticated and intelligent Treasure Island”, the show, produced by South Pacific Pictures and currently filming, is shrouded in secrecy.

It’s based on the Dutch series De Verraders, which was grounded in Mafia, a social deduction game created by Dimitry Davidoff in 1986.


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The American version of the show, which premiered this year, hosted by Scottish actor star Alan Cumming, featured a smattering of celebrities and everyday folk playing the game at a Scottish castle.

Spy has heard the Kiwi version will be more like the UK version, which was hosted by media personality Claudia Winkleman and has had audiences addicted to its whodunnit nature.

Insiders have let slip that NZ’s show features an even split between famous names and members of the public who come from an array of professions, including a policeman.

The celebrity cast is said to include an actor or two, a comedian, a singer, a sportsperson and an influencer.


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Insiders say the host is cheeky and the clues given so far have us leaning towards a female.

Actors Teuila Blakely and Shavaughn Ruakere could keep contestants on their toes and carry a show with witty one-liners.

Blakely was the voice of Three for many years and Ruakere did a good turn at hosting the TVNZ+ FBOY Island NZ last year.

Antonia Prebble is filming an undisclosed series for Three, but insiders have ruled out that she is the host.

As far as male contenders go, we think Joel Tobeck could give Cumming a run for his money.

The One Lane Bridge actor once had a turn as The Rocky Horror Show’s Frank ‘N’ Furter and showed he not only has cheek but can camp things up.

As for the venue — a stunning mountain lodge that will stand in for a Scottish castle — our sleuthing produced an array of options. Chateau Tongariro sadly closed its doors to the public for good early last month so it fits the bill perfectly and the attention on national TV could stop it turning into a ghost hotel.

When SPP managing director Andrew Szusterman worked at Three he was famous for bringing the channel’s most memorable reality show moments of the decade. From what Spy has heard, The Traitors NZ intends to deliver a new reality format to audiences in spades.

Glen Kyne, head of networks, Discovery ANZ, has described the show as chaos, mayhem and fun, and says it will be will be his favourite to be rolled out in NZ this year.

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