Giving up on a widely publicized and costly social experiment after it failed to attract an audience, Fox canceled the reality show “Utopia” after two months of low ratings, reports TheWrap.com.
The expensive reality show’s failure “may have been foretold even before anyone in the United States saw a second of the show,” the story says.
The network endured internal squabbles over the show, which was plagued by what the story calls “a heavy-handed execution by producers and Fox’s new alternative chief Simon Andreae.” Andreae bought the project, based on a Dutch series, just three months after he was placed in his role at Fox.
The story adds, “But as the price of the show soared to a $50 million price tag, some executives within Fox began to wonder if the series was worth it. News Corp.’s live sporting event czar David Hill, who was brought in to shore up ‘American Idol’ and ‘The X Factor’ after the network’s veteran reality head Mike Darnell’s exit last year, was particularly vocal.”
Hill noted that while the Dutch series had started strong in its own country, the ratings didn’t hold up over time. According to TheWrap, the original Dutch format saw its ratings decline 31% over its run.
The story reports: “Hill suggested that those numbers didn’t bode well for Fox’s ‘Utopia,’ which Andreae didn’t appreciate, a Fox executive told TheWrap.”
The report adds: “In the end, ‘Utopia’s’ demise does put a spotlight on Fox’s reality slate. ‘Utopia’ was a big swing at finding something that viewers would watch live and make up for the ratings fall of ‘American Idol’ over several seasons and the failure of ‘The X Factor.’”
Some executives within Fox are speculating that Andreae might be leaving the network soon, the story adds. Fox declined to comment.