FOX kicked off the 2014-15 season with an ambitious plan — to air their new Utupia reality show for 52 straight weeks. Will it run for years or be cancelled quickly? A stroke of genius or a big ratings flop?
Utopia follows a group of regular people who are relocated to a remote area and given limited resources. They must figure out how to survive and create their own society. Those who are dispensable can be voted out and replaced with newcomers, as decided by the home viewers.
The series launched on September 7th with a two-hour installment. It drew a 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 4.63 million viewers. That was an okay start but FOX execs were surely expecting much better — especially considering it followed a highly-rated football game.
On Tuesday, the series plunged 55% in the demo and 46% in viewership to a 0.9 rating and 2.48 million. The Friday premiere drew just a 0.7 rating and 1.99 million. This past Tuesday’s episode did a bit better but the numbers were still very poor.
Utopia is already doing terribly in the ratings and the numbers are sure to get much worse with stiffer competition on the other networks.
Unless the ratings turn around, there’s no question that FOX will cancel Utopia — the only real question is “when?”. I suspect execs are hoping to keep the show going until their baseball coverage starts in October before they cancel it.
However, if the ratings keep going downward — and it looks like a sure bet that they will — they may have no choice but to pull it even sooner.
Fox Television Group co-CEO Dana Walden says that, despite the soft launch, network execs are “pretty happy and relaxed to embrace the risk.” They plan to be “patient” with the new show.
It will be interesting to see how long before their patience run out for Utopia.
But, what do you think? Are you enjoying Utopia? Do you think it should be cancelled? How much time should they give it? Do you think this could be the first cancellation of the new season?