Last September 2014, FOX launched an ambitious television program with a $50 million budget. Called “Utopia,” the show featured a diverse group of people residing in a studio-built ranch. They were to set up their own community, and FOX was banking on this project to go on for one whole year. The only problem was, the show never picked up with ratings. So now, after two months, the network has decided its cast can go back home because “Utopia” has been canceled. Read on for the details.
According to Entertainment Weekly, FOX has pulled “Utopia” off its Friday night schedule effective immediately, and “Masterchef Junior” will be airing in its place. The live feeds, which was an integral feature of the series, was already shut down following the announcement of the cancellation. During its eight-week run, the show only averaged 1.6 million viewers with a very low demo rating at 0.7 (among the 18-49 viewers).
“Utopia” was a concept hatched by the creator of “Big Brother,” John De Mol, which brought 15 different people in a remote location in California so that they could create an ideal society. According to Latino Post, the cast of the series had no knowledge that the show was not performing well on television. They were prepared to be away from their regular lives to do the reality TV experiment for one year. It has been reported that the cast will be undergoing counseling before they go back to their normal lives.
Producers first attempted to save “Utopia” when it was evident that it wasn’t doing well in the ratings. FOX actually did changes to its timeslot, originally airing it two nights a week, on a Tuesday and Friday night. Sometime later, “Utopia” was set to air only on Fridays.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Simon Andreae, the head of FOX’s reality TV programming, admitted that the concept of “Utopia” was a hard-sell.
"We have nothing to show. We have no scripts; we don't really have guardrails for content. We're placing 150 cameras on a compound, and people are just living it out,” said Andreae toe THR. Unfortunately for FOX, “people living it out” didn’t make for compelling television.
There you have it for the reality TV series “Utopia,” which was canceled on FOX. This show should not to be confused with the conspiracy drama series “Utopia,” which HBO is adapting from UK for 2015.
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