Fox Abandons Much-Hyped Social Experiment: What Went Wrong?

Nov 3, 2014  •  Post A Comment

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.



  1. Watch as much as you can of the first episode. That will tell you all you need to know as to why this turd lasted two months longer than it should have.

  2. This “reality” show had nowhere to go. Okay, there wasn’t a prize or game to play. I got that. But they absolutely weren’t creating a new government or a utopia of any kind. How could they? It was a piece of land in California right? How are they immune to the US laws? How are they allowed to start a colony and build a new system from scratch when they are in a place that they aren’t legally allowed to do that? I mean what was supposed to happen if they show kept going and growing? Where they going to lead an army revolt against the USA? I just didn’t get it. Plus whenever I tuned in to give it a chance, it just seemed like it was people yelling at each other. I think the producers missed the whole concept that was being marketed. Why put all these crazy people together to build a better society? That was never going to happen with these people. The producers were just looking for people who would fight with each other and hoped it would be interesting. The “mission” was never followed. If it was really going to be a reality show about people creating a better government/society…get people who actually wanted to do that. People that have studied society. People who actually had good ideas and executed them. And actually put them on a piece of land that was actually given to them for this purpose and was actually outside the boundaries of any country. This show was doomed from the start. It lasted 2 weeks longer than I expected.

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