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4th February 2024

A sudden shift in TV obsession: The Traitors surge, Love Island fades

What’s behind drop in Love Island viewership and soaring ascent of The Traitors?
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A sudden shift in TV obsession: The Traitors surge, Love Island fades
Credit: The Traitors @ BBC

As Love Island: All-Stars dazzles our screens with its irresistible drama and The Traitors season two wraps up, the fight for popularity between the two shows has become a captivating spectacle. Whilst Love Island: All-Stars undeniably holds its ground as a popular series, its viewership pales in comparison to the staggering phenomenon that is The Traitors. The allure of love is potent, but the gripping narrative of betrayal seems to have claimed the throne of viewers’ hearts.

Spoilers ahead for The Traitors Season Two.

On 17 January, 3,992,300 viewers watched on to see Diane’s fate on The Traitors as she became the latest victim to be claimed by Traitors Paul, Harry and Miles. Meanwhile, Love Island: All Stars achieved a comparatively average viewership, drawing in just 715,700 viewers, that same night.

Even if we backtrack to the first episodes of both shows this season, the numbers unmistakably show that The Traitors is killing it in the popularity game. The debut of Love Island: All Stars on ITV1 and ITV2 pulled in around 1.9 million viewers. Now, over to The Traitors season two. It went big with a peak of 3.1 million viewers, not even counting the people catching it on iPlayer.

But, what’s behind the slump in Love Island viewership, and are we witnessing a surge in popularity for reality TV shows that feature more relatable individuals?

Former Love Island star Abigail Louise Rawlings told The Guardian: “There have been too many series too close together […] and it’s such a commitment watching the summer series. It really takes over your life. Love Island hasn’t got the same hype as it used to, I think.”

Rawlings she might have a point. Every year, Love Island hits our screens with the same old challenges, becoming a bit too predictable over time. The introduction of the All Stars series has me questioning whether it’s just another calculated move by the contestants, driven by the desire for a few more minutes in the spotlight.

Love Island has also faced growing criticism for promoting unrealistic beauty standards. A survey of 909 individuals aged 16-24 revealed that a staggering 85% believe Love Island contributes to the creation of unrealistic standards for body image. Given the backlash against Love Island‘s promotion of unrealistic beauty standards, it’s hardly a shocker that audiences are gravitating towards The Traitors. The show features a diverse cast spanning various backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities, all employed in typical jobs. A refreshing departure from the usual reality TV lineup of young influencers and models.

The Traitors reached new heights of popularity in its recent season, fueled by unforgettable moments like Diane’s confession about Ross being her son, Paul’s banishment, the iconic expression on Miles’ face walking into breakfast, and the wink from Ross directly to the camera. These unforgettable scenes had viewers buzzing with excitement, which Love Island cannot compete with.

In the clash of reality TV titans, The Traitors seems to have emerged victorious, showing that authenticity and unpredictability have become the new reigning champions. While Love Island typically captures the attention of younger viewers, The Traitors has managed to captivate audiences across generations, earning its stripes as one of the most compelling reality TV series in the UK right now, full of betrayal and revelation.

Watch seasons 1 and 2 of The Traitors on BBC iPlayer. 

Watch all seasons of Love Island and Love Island: All-Stars on ITVX


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