Welp. So much for FOX’s “social experiment” Utopia. The network pulled the plug on the reality series, which cast a group of people to build a new society on an old studio lot north of Los Angeles. Friday’s episode was the show’s last. The live feeds have already been shut off.
Here’s the message the network left on Utopia’s live feeds website:
It’s the final day of a brave new world. Thanks so much for joining us.
Thank you for your support since the start of Utopia. We greatly appreciate it. However, the Utopia project — including the internet streams — will no longer continue, effective immediately. Last Friday’s Halloween episode will be the last to air.
Should you have any questions about your Premium Passport subscription, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the pioneers, the crew and Fox, thank you for joining us on this great adventure.
Producer, Jon Kroll, tweeted that the producers are working to help the staff find new employment.
We are currently working with our 300 staff to help them move on to new employment. I will get back to you soon. but streams are done.
— Jon Kroll (@hippykid) November 2, 2014
Glancing at the Utopia feeds, it looks like the group was getting ready to vote on some new prospects. Not that folks weren’t considering a cancellation possible, but the abrupt Sunday night end to the series must have been a surprise to all that were involved.
The series was originally scheduled to air on Tuesdays and Fridays for the first six weeks and then stay on Tuesday. But after low ratings, the series cut back to once a week a few weeks earlier than planned and moved to Fridays.
This past Friday, which turned out to be the series finale, tied a series low ratings of 0.5 in the 18-49 demo and 1.56 million viewers, which it previously hit in September.
Fox’s new head of reality programming, Simon Andreae, was bully on Utopia, expecting it to do great things for FOX, which has been struggling in the ratings.
When the series debuted to less than stellar ratings, Fox Television Group co-chairman and co-CEO Dana Walden, told The Wrap that they were willing to give Utopia time to find an audience.
“No one thought we were going to launch a huge ratings juggernaut, but with patience it will grow and we’re going to have patience,” she said at the time.
Unfortunately, Utopia’s time is up.