FOX only announced reducing the number of Utopia episodes last month, and has now decided to cancel the ailing show. Poor ratings have been blamed, and it seems like reality TV shows may be on the way out.
The whole TV show was more of an experiment. A group of strangers were placed into an isolated camp for a year, and the show would document activities. It was like Big Brother, but for longer and with a little more freedom. It only premiered two months ago, and within a month the network had decided it was not doing well enough.
FOX decided to switch the night the show would air. It was originally on Tuesday nights, but moved to Friday nights. This is a night with usual low ratings as people decide to go out of the house since it is the start of the weekend. Shows that have poor ratings can usually survive for longer, but the network decided that the ratings were too low to sustain. There was 1.5 million viewers tuning in, with 0.5 million of them adults between 18 and 49.
This is not the first program that the network has cancelled during the series. It cancelled I Wanna Marry Harry last year, along with Riot. Now that FOX has cancelled Utopia, it will replace it with repeats of MasterChef Junior. This is the program that took the Tuesday night opening, and the repeats will start immediately.
Other networks have made decisions to cancel reality TV shows, showing a possible end to them. Duets was cancelled by ABC, along with Rising Star. CBS also cancelled The Job, while FOX decided that the second season of The X Factor would be the last. The network has not managed to repeat the excellent ratings that 2011’s The Voice gained.
There are many reasons for reality TV shows to fail. One of those is that there is already too many of them. People want to see something different, rather than copycat TV shows. Others blame the change of executives in the networks, meaning that there is a shakeup to the programs.
FOX CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden wanted to see Utopia succeed. They believed that the show had something different, and would allow to bring in different viewpoints. That was why they decided to switch nights rather than cancel the show completely. There was an element of patience being used to see if it would succeed. However, it turned out that it was sucking out money, rather than bring it in. It is the lowest rated new show on the network, and FOX is already struggling in last place with the four major broadcasters. Gotham has been the only positive new show.
The decision to air Utopia in the first place was a major gamble for the network. It makes sense that the CEOs wanted to see if it would perform well enough on a Friday night. There was an interesting concept, but it seems that it was too little too late. FOX had to make the decision to cancel Utopia immediately.
By Alexandria Ingham