Described by the network as an "ambitious social experiment," Fox has signed on to air a year-long reality television series that places participants in a remote location and tasks them with building their own civilization.
Fans of post-apocalyptic shows like "Revolution," "Jericho," or even "The Walking Dead" will certainly find the show's concept alluring. We've all likely wondered at some time or another how we might survive from scratch if the modern world was suddenly stripped away. Could we still manage to forge some kind of working 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 Fox EVP of alternative entertainment Simon Andreae. “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.”
Like the UK's "Big Brother," Fox's "Utopia" will be available both as a series on television and as a 24/7 experience online. To keep the experience as genuine as possible, the producers have promised to have very little interference with the participants during the 12-month production.
“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?’," says executive producer and creator of "The Voice" John de Mol. "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?’"
Despite the year-long commitment, de Mol tell The Hollywood Reporter that more than 5,500 people have already applied to take part. "The casting process is a little more difficult than other regular reality shows because normally you only look at characters," he said. "In this case, you also have to look at skills. In order to give them a fair chance to survive, you need skills."
Perhaps giving Fox even more impetus to get on board is the fact that "Utopia" is already a ratings hit in The Netherlands, where its first season is underway. According to Deadline, so far, the 15 participants have kept things peaceful - with an early focus on building their community and organizing decision-making. You can see a bizarre trailer for the Netherlands' series below. Casting for the U.S. counterpart is said to start happening immediately.
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