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‘Traitors’ Host Alan Cumming on the Cheekiest Character of His Career — Himself — and Why He Doesn’t Watch ‘Real Housewives’

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Michael Schneider Variety Editor at Large Alan Cumming isn’t much of a reality TV fan — so as host of Peacock’s “The Traitors,” he enjoys being a bit blind to the baggage that many of the contestants carry to the Scottish Highlands. “When I go to do ‘The Traitors, I have a crash course in reality TV stars, and random people,” he tells Variety‘s Awards Circuit Podcast. “I don’t know who many of the people are.

Because I juust don’t watch those shows. And actually I quite like it, just to meet the people on those their own terms — rather than that with all the history they bring.” Cumming much prefers watching them plot and scheme inside the game of “The Traitors,” vs whatever it is they do on the “Real Housewives” and its ilk. “I think that the culture of these shows is very much about creating drama,” he says. “The structures are the same, these kind of rich, affluent women, who all kind of gather and do various things.

But ultimately, their petty beefs and infighting become the focus. And there’s lots of white wine being thrown at each other. “One of the reasons I don’t watch those shows is I don’t really like the notion that we celebrate rich people behaving badly,” he adds. “That kind of behavior isn’t very nice.

And it’s not my favorite thing at all. So actually, I think coming on ‘The Traitors’ is a leveling thing. You’re playing a game, and there’s enough drama just because of the game.

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