The run-up to Fox’s “Utopia” has not been perfect, but it’s getting to where the network wants it to be, executive producers Conrad Green and Simon Andreae told reporters Sunday at Fox’s Television Critics Association panel.
The reality show is late in its casting process, having whittled “potential pioneers” down from 5,000 applicants to 30 or 40 currently. Eventually, that number will hit the final 15.
At the press tour, four possible cast members spoke about their reasons to want to leave society behind for a full-year’s commitment — a requirement of the show. Two couldn’t-be-more-opposite types, long-bearded former marine and hardcore Christian, Jeremy, of Lansing, Mich., and green-haired, self-proclaimed “liberal lesbian” Emma (both pictured, above) of Providence, R.I., were the most vocal of the small group.
“Utopia” is intended to be a true “reality” TV show by the original definition of the word, Green explained. “We’re not controlling this whole process,” he said of the eventual product. “There aren’t rounds of competition — these guys write the script,” he added, referring to the potential pioneers.
Those participants will have some “reasonable shelter,” Andreae specified, along with the capacity to generate food — i.e. soil or water — and animals to use either for eating or milk. They’ll also have some money, though the financial details are still being sorted out.
While the pioneers cannot leave the compound, others can temporarily enter to do business.
Fox will shoot the contenders around the clock, live-streaming it online as well as airing multiple episodes during the week. A three-night “Utopia” premiere event will kick off the Fox fall season, starting on Sept. 9.
“I’m not placing a bet on this show not working,” Andreae concluded.