By Carole GUIRADO
Fourteen personalities, living together for almost a week, must flush out three “traitors” hidden in the group while avoiding elimination: with “Les Traitors”, a new game broadcast on Wednesday, M6 is betting on a psychological concept that has already seduced internationally. How do you react when you live behind closed doors with people you can’t count on? This is the experience that fourteen celebrities have agreed to live for six days in a castle in Auvergne, under the guidance of the animator and illusionist Eric Antoine.
The poster, heterogeneous, targets all types of audiences: it mixes Olympic champions (David Douillet, Camille Lacourt) and TV game shows (Clémence Castel, Paul El Kharrat), it complicates the equation with duos with strong emotional ties. (Vanessa Douillet, wife of former judoka, YouTuber Natoo with her best friend, stylist Melococo). To these are added the actors Martin Lamotte and Bruno Sanches, the novelist Bernard Werber, the humorist Alex Ramirès, the singer and actress Elsa Esnoult and the ex-Miss France Delphine Wespiser.
All compete for an association of their choice with the aim of winning the reward for the ultimate finalist, 50 silver bars. But for that, they will have to eliminate each other while playing in two different categories: the “loyal” and the “traitor”. At the start of the game, three of them are secretly designated “traitors”. These will have to blend in with the majority of “loyal” who will have the common task of flushing them out. Initially, “we all wanted to be traitors, we had the impression that we were going to be more in the game, to be the predator, but in reality it is not that at all”, explains former minister David Douillet, during a meeting. ‘a press conference. “You want to be the hunter but you realize that you are the hunted”, he summarizes.
“Six intense days” according to the candidates, who off camera were instructed not to mention the game. Vanessa Doillet. The candidates are subjected to a chronological mechanism intended to increase the pressure: after physical or psychological tests, they meet at the end of the day around a round table where each one designates a candidate whom they suspect of being a traitor. .
Whoever has collected the most votes against him must then leave the game. Later in the evening, the traitors in turn choose another participant to eliminate, and it is only at breakfast that the rest of the group discovers his departure. “Emotionally, it never stops,” says Delphine Wespirer. And even after the end of filming, “it’s quite disturbing, I thought about it a very long time later, it made me think about myself, my relationship to others”, adds Clémence Castel.
How far can you lie, deny yourself or put your feelings aside to win? How not to be hurt by betrayal or elimination? “It made group psychotherapy for everyone”, says the novelist Bernard Werber smiling. A psychological drain accentuated by the fatigue of a filming with a wide hourly amplitude (8H-3H in the morning), adds the master of ceremonies, Eric Antoine.
In the end, “you lose control even if you know it’s a game, it’s not one anymore, it’s going into a spin”. Behind this concept, the Dutch television producer Marc Pos, who after having taken almost six years to sell his idea, saw it achieve a hit with audiences as soon as it was launched in the Netherlands in March 2021, attracting on average more two million viewers per episode. Since then, the program has already been sold in 14 countries, including the United Kingdom (BBC) and the United States (NBCUniversal for the Peacock platform).