FOX Greenlights Reality Series 'Utopia'

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

January 23rd, 2014

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via press release:

FOX CHALLENGES PARTICIPANTS TO CREATE A PERFECT “UTOPIA,”

IN BOLD NEW UNSCRIPTED SOCIAL EXPERIMENT

 

Ambitious Project Created and Executive-Produced by John de Mol

To Air on FOX and Online

 

Can a perfect world be created? From unscripted mastermind John de Mol, and based on the hit Dutch television series of the same name, UTOPIA is a bold new unscripted series that moves a group of everyday people to an isolated, undeveloped location – for an entire year – and challenges them to create their own civilization.

 

“UTOPIA will be the largest, most ambitious social experiment on television, and I’m thrilled that Talpa Media USA has chosen FOX as its U.S. broadcast partner,” said Simon Andreae, Executive Vice President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “The series offers people from all walks of life the chance to start all over again and re-write the rules of civilization as we know it. It addresses fascinating and fundamental questions about human law, morality and social structures, wrapped in an irresistible and truly forward-thinking television format.”

 

“FOX’s speed and passion for the project, combined with its pioneering reputation in the unscripted field, make it the perfect home for this unique proposition,” said de Mol. “The key questions UTOPIA asks are ‘Are people able to create an ideal society from scratch? And will it be ultimate happiness or complete chaos?’ What makes this even more interesting to watch, both on television and online, is the question that viewers undoubtedly will ask themselves, ‘What would I do?’”

 

With no existing power structures and limited amenities, these “pioneers” must draw on their own ideals and everything they know about societies around the world, to create a new one…will it be better? Will they rewrite the rules they have always lived by?  Will they falter or prosper?

 

As the Utopians build the new society, every decision counts. Each must try to become indispensable to the group or risk being exiled to their regular lives and replaced by potential newcomers who have been vying to join.

 

With cameras following the pioneers 24/7, viewers can watch their society unfold, both weekly on FOX and also online. As they observe the inhabitants living together, and building their new existence, viewers themselves will have the chance to become a valuable and powerful asset to the community, and ultimately to question whether Utopia remains an elusive but alluring fantasy, or whether the pioneers have truly realized their dream.

 

“Utopia,” which debuted in The Netherlands earlier this month on SBS6 network, became an instant sensation. Ranking as the network’s highest-rated unscripted premiere in six years, “Utopia” continued its winning streak as the No. 1 series in its time period (Monday-Friday) for 10 consecutive nights.

 

UTOPIA is a presentation of Talpa Media USA. The show is created by John de Mol (“Big Brother,” “Deal Or No Deal,” “Fear Factor,” “The Voice”), who will also executive-produce.

 

About Talpa Holding (www.talpa.tv)

Talpa, based in Laren, the Netherlands, is the holding firm that incorporates John de Mol’s media activities. The company focuses on several parts of the international media industry. Over the past few years, Talpa Holding has established itself as a full-service development, production and distribution company primarily for television programs. Talpa Content is the group’s own creative development unit for television formats and multimedia concepts. Genres include reality, infotainment, entertainment, game shows, fiction and comedy. The portfolio also includes the occasional feature film. Talpa Productions is the group’s in-house TV production unit. Talpa International is dedicated to the worldwide licensing of Talpa Content’s formats and finished series. Talpa Media also has its own music division: Talpa Music (www.talpamusic.nl). Talpa Media Group is a shareholder in SBS Nederland (www.sbs.nl), which operates three TV stations, SBS6, NET5 and Veronica. Radio stations Radio 538 and Slam FM (www.radio538.nl) are also fully owned by Talpa. Next to this, Talpa holds a minority share in radio corporation 100% NL, which operates a station under the same name and one called Radio 10. In 2010, Talpa acquired a stake in successful Russian producer Mir Reality. In 2012, the company set up Talpa Media USA, its own production company in Los Angeles. Talpa also has 50-50 joint ventures with local production companies in key international television markets. The goal is to jointly produce programs in those markets based on Talpa formats and commissioned by local broadcasters. Examples of such partners are Shine France in Francophone European markets, Shine Australia in Australia and New Zealand, Nordisk Film TV for Scandinavia and Finland, Axel Springer’s Schwartzkopff TV in Germany, and SPT Arabia for Northern Africa and the Middle East.

 
  • David Howell

    I heard last week, when it started in the Netherlands, that a US network was looking at picking it up, and immediately assumed either event television NBC or reality king FOX.

    The question is how they schedule it – my Dutch contact who told me about the show has no idea, and he’s seen the format in action. I’m guessing a single weekly slot, perhaps Wednesday 8/7c, but we’ll doubtless find out. And with the year-round scheduling requirement, could this be – whisper it quietly – an Idol replacement?

  • brian

    @David, it won’t replace Idol. But X Factor, on the other hand, might not get to rearrange the deck chairs again.

  • Connman

    DOA, IMHO!

  • AO

    It intrigues me, hopefully it will be less scripted and more reality.

  • Fashe

    This is just Big Brother without a house. Will flop.

  • P3TE

    Utopia on Channel 4 was amazing, but this sounds pretty boring and stupid..

  • Samunto

    The scheduling will be interesting to see given that it’s for a whole year. X factor replacement it is and probably more hours in summer and less in-season. Indeed ambitious.

    @p3te
    the C4 is different thing all together. This is a reality show like BB while C4’s Utopia was a scripted 6 episode series. Bad comparison.

  • Anti-Reality

    Ahhhhh! More reality TV!

    The networks wonder why ratings are going down. This is the reason.

    If they would take the time to develop decent dramas and comedies instead of editing hundred of hours of footage into these fake reality shows, maybe people would come back to network TV.

  • Fluxcrave

    @Anti-Reality, yes…. If they could do HBO kind of shows maybe their ratings will go up !

  • THE OLD MAN

    The reality king FOX refuses to be dethroned!

  • xwiseguyx

    Perhaps but I’m bored with the HBO quirky dark crap…. If this show is more original than the synopsis suggests, I would tune in.. But being on FOX, I tend to think of their other experiment – Paradise that was supposed to go year round.. and flopped. If the show casts a bunch of attractive young brats, like on Big Brother, it shall pass quickly.

  • Tv Sucks

    @Anti-Reality
    Yes, let’s just forget that AI is the highest rated show on Fox (or that The Voice is the highest rated network show outside of TBBT).

  • Anti-Reality

    My logic, right or wrong is this.
    Reality shows (and I include sports in this definition) may draw viewers, but those viewers do not remain around to watch non-reality shows. Viewers of non-reality shows get annoyed when more time is give to reality shows and refuse to invest in new shows. This lead to the continuing drop in rating every season. Yes a reality show may have a 5.0 rating, but if everything else is in the 1’s, who cares. The network would be better served if more shows were in the 2’s and 3’s, even if that means losing the 5.0 show.

    Look at the ongoing debate on this site around the FOX post-superbowl shows. They may get great ratings on that day, but people do not come back to the next episode.

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