John De Mol
Fox hopes to break network TV's recent reality TV drought with Utopia, a new show from Big Brother creator John de Mol.
Like Big Brother, Utopia follows the interaction between strangers as they're thrust together — this time to form a new society. The show premiered earlier this month in Holland, where it was SBS 6's top-rated unscripted series premiere in six years. Utopia continued as the No. 1 series in its Monday through Friday time period for 10 consecutive nights.
Utopia immediately became a hot commodity in the U.S., where Fox just won the bidding rights. Utopia will become the first major new reality show on Fox under the oversight of the network's new head of alternative series, Simon Andreae.
"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," Andreae says. "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."
De Mol's Talpa Media is behind Utopia, which follows 15 contestants as the create an ideal community. The inhabitants leave their lives behind to move into an empty structure, along with limited amenities. Players are eliminated by others, as well as by viewers. An online 24-hour video stream will also be available, much like the one for Big Brother.
"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," says 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?'"
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