Fox Cancels 'Utopia'

Fox has canceled unscripted series Utopia. The show will be replaced in the Friday-night schedule by reruns of MasterChef Junior, effective immediately.

A so-called “social experiment” featuring strangers from different walks of life tasked with building their own society, Utopia was a major part of Fox’s fall-season strategy. The network gave the show a heavily hyped three-night event premiere the week of Sept. 8, then settled it into a two-night-a-week schedule with episodes airing on Thursdays and Fridays.

But viewers never took to the series, and the network cut its schedule presence to Fridays-only after the first four Tuesday-night episodes averaged a meager 0.9 Nielsen rating among adults 18-49 in live-plus-dame day numbers. The most recent episode drew a 0.5 on Friday—only one tenth of a point better than the CW’s Whose Line is it Anyway earned in the timeslot and well below the numbers for its other head-to-head competition, CBS’ The Amazing Race (1.1), ABC’s Last Man Standing (1.2) and NBC’s Dateline (1.3).

Utopia was produced by Big Brother creator John de Mol and his company Talpa Media. It was the first new unscripted series picked up by Fox under executive VP of alternative entertainment Simon Andeae, who joined the network in October, 2013.

The show’s online component, a 24-7 live camera feed featuring the contestants, is slated to be discontinued Sunday evening.