In news that will surely come as a crushing blow to people who placed their hopes for the continued survival of the species on a group of publicity-hungry reality show contestants, Fox has canceled Utopia. The news is not terribly surprising, given previous reports of Fox’s less-than-favorable treatment of the show. But this announcement confirms that the network has truly abandoned all hope that people can overcome their differences and save the human race—primarily by paying $5 month to watch online footage of strangers argue over whether to make bathing mandatory.
The ambitious reality series launched to great fanfare and a rumored cost of $50 million, but immediately foundered in the ratings. The scheduled twice-a-week airing was quickly axed, with the show languishing solely on Friday nights for the past month. Variety reports that Fox is shutting down the live stream, and suggests the failure stems from Utopia’s being a big time commitment from viewers who have an ever-expanding list of choices for viewing. It also mentions the show was “out of step with contemporary tastes,” which is a nice way of saying that people don’t always enjoy watching a terrible show. Despite changes introduced to goose the drama, including periodic eliminations voted on by live stream subscribers, the show returned to its time slot with a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demo.
As of the cancellation announcement, the live feed offered no indication that the contestants were aware that the plug had been pulled on the experiment. Presumably the contestants will respond by repurposing their lives into an episode of Doomsday Preppers, which now takes the baton as the last refuge of humankind’s hope. Fox will replace Utopia on Fridays with MasterChef Junior.