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SilverStormm

Utopia in the Media

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Really this is one of the stupidest projects ever to make it to network TV.  John de Mol's record (Big Brother, Fear Factor, Deal or No Deal, The Voice) probably blinded and deluded a lot of FOX execs, but even still... it's not like Endemol hasn't had a lot of stinkers too.

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An interesting tidbit extracted from the Wired article:

 

Utopia, like utopias, was never meant to work. (first line of the article)

 

and

 

Kroll’s contribution to the show is manifold. The veteran reality and documentary producer has worked on both sci-fi and social reality projects, but he also is the only showrunner to have some experience in utopia-making. From age eight to 18, Kroll and his family lived on a commune (turned tourist farm) in northern California called Oz, an insular environment in which he witnessed firsthand why paradises like Thomas More’s are nowhere near as feasible as, say, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian Brave New World.

Edited by DeLurker
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An interesting tidbit extracted from the Wired article:

 

Utopia, like utopias, was never meant to work. (first line of the article)

 

and

 

Kroll’s contribution to the show is manifold. The veteran reality and documentary producer has worked on both sci-fi and social reality projects, but he also is the only showrunner to have some experience in utopia-making. From age eight to 18, Kroll and his family lived on a commune (turned tourist farm) in northern California called Oz, an insular environment in which he witnessed firsthand why paradises like Thomas More’s are nowhere near as feasible as, say, Aldous Huxley’s dystopian Brave New World.

 

I wish these online writers would be more clear in what they write.  Thomas More's wasn't some real experiment.   It was an early version of a social reform style novel with Utopia serving as a fictional contrast to point out the failings and hypocrisy in the real society of his day.  He knew such a society could never really exist thus the title "Utopia" in the first place which literally means "nowhere."  To have that term applied to failed social experiments down the years grates on me.  One of many pet peeves I have.

 

But the main thing here is that his fictional Utopia had plenty of laws and a ruling king and standing army etc and wasn't some "do your own thing" commune like country.  It did hold material goods of little value and somewhat in common as a result but the idea was that the Utopians thought the accumulation of material "stuff" was a silly concept for human beings to have.  Thus the poke at his own society's greed.  But you can't have even a fictional Utopia without laws and rulers and such.  Much less a real one.

 

Sorry for the rant but Thomas More is one of the people I admire most in history and I hate when junky stuff like this show steals the name of his most famous book as well as how the term has been twisted into something it was never intended to be by modern society in general.  (Rant, grumble, mumble. grrr).

Edited by green
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Not to mention, Thomas More would be the most likely to last all twelve months in the televised "Utopia" show.  You know why?  Because he was a man for all seasons.

 

Thank you, I'll be here all week!  Be sure to tip your veal, and remember to try your waitress! :)

Edited by hincandenza
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Not to mention, Thomas More would be the most likely to last all twelves months in the televised "Utopia" show.  You know why?  Because he was a man for all seasons.

 

Thank you, I'll be here all week!  Be sure to tip your veal, and remember to try your waitress! :)

 

LOL, good one!! 

 

Afraid I'll have to tip you with some hemp bracelets and/or hip bracers instead.  See Red, he will fix you up.

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A thought on "Utopia."  Does mean (in Greek) "No place."

 

I think that a lot of us hear it as "Eutopia."  Good place.

 

Maybe even my personal hero, Henry David Thoreau, who subtitled Walden, "Utopia for One."  And I begin to suspect that that's about the practical upper limit.

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This morning news our local affiliate featured Utopia. There was an interview with the Narrator in his full Pringles regalia.

 

This was said:

"Viewers wonder about reality shows; how much of it is "real"?" (Narrator makes air quotes with his hands). "Well this show is REAL!"

"These people are not coached! There is no contact with the productions staff!"

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This morning news our local affiliate featured Utopia. There was an interview with the Narrator in his full Pringles regalia.

 

This was said:

"Viewers wonder about reality shows; how much of it is "real"?" (Narrator makes air quotes with his hands). "Well this show is REAL!"

"These people are not coached! There is no contact with the productions staff!"

 

 

Makes me wonder if Poor Man's Leon Redbone/Pringles guy has watched the Live Feeds, because it seems to be nothing but production manipulation.

 

Spoilered for your protection:

 

Aaron says he was told can't do some things because it won't fit his narrative.  They can't get rid of the cows because they are an integral part of the "pioneers" story told on the TV episodes. Production decides to switch gov't styles so that Bella is in power for this weekend's 'Utopia Experience' so that things are calmer (even though it was Bri's turn, as determined by drawing lots at the barn meeting).  Red constantly complains to production and threatens to leave unless he gets what he wants.  Production allowed incoming phone calls to the Utopia phone that revealed even more about Kristen/Aaron stealing money -- it takes very little effort to screen calls or go through an operator -- but they didn't even bother.

ETA:  Production just told them that they would have to redo this morning's confrontation with Bri about her being lazy with the animals and sleeping in.  So, no, that's not production interference at all </sarcasm>

 

I guess when he says that there is no "contact" with production staff he means that

none of the pioneers is banging anyone on the production staff anymore (Bri has admitted on the live feeds to banging a PA named Ryan in sequester).

Edited by ottoDbusdriver
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Bri's now getting it on with members of the production staff? She never fails to amaze. That girl sure is one class act.

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^ Excellent summary re-cap in the spoiler area.  Thanks, ottoDbusdriver.  (One of my most favorites characters on The Simpsons).

 

You would think the more they lie about non-interference the more they dig a deeper and deeper hole for themselves.  Yeah this guy probably signed a contract that said he had to lie for him or else but still pretty silly in the age of social media with them promoting live feed viewing besides.  Live feed viewing comments go into social media cauldron and come out in all sorts of traditional media afterwards besides.  Just makes them look like fools.

 

Interesting, I never thought of him as Pringles guy.  I think of him as looking like a kinky, online predator who is into steam punk on the side.  Kinky Predator Steam Punk Guy for short.  But at least I'm glad he didn't throw in an evil clown look on top of it all.  He has that going for him anyway.

Edited by green
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Bri's now getting it on with members of the production staff? She never fails to amaze.

One of the many reasons this show should be called Ewww-topia.

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One of the many reasons this show should be called Ewww-topia.

I sort of feel like the dark underbelly of this would make a much more interesting show than arguing about fluoride in the water.

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Makes me wonder if Poor Man's Leon Redbone/Pringles guy has watched the Live Feeds, because it seems to be nothing but production manipulation.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me unintentionally!

In this mornings interview Narrator said "There are no do-overs, nothing is re-shot or staged."

I realized as I watch that this sudden promotional bag of hot gas must mean they are tanking? (which we already knew). Or else why bother?

If it's because of complaints, they seem to forget that there is actual evidence of what's going on in the feeds. Survivor castmates may say things, but you have to take their word for it and that's a dubious proposition...but damn! Viewers know what they saw on this one.

Edited by kikismom
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Ratings are in for Fridays 9pm airing -- rating is down nearly 30%, share is down 33%, and total viewers dropped by 25%, coming in 4th to a new episode of Dateline and re-runs of Shark Tank and Hawaii Five-0.  Utopia had 9% of the total audience for its time slot.   Ouch !!

 

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/09/20/tv-ratings-friday-utopia-hits-low-big-brother-down-dateline-beats-2020/305160/

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Does anyone know how their live feeds are doing?  I mean, obviously they have a method of tracking it.  But have any numbers been released on how many views they get, etc?

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The funny part is this show isn't even up against any of the other networks fall programming yet, which will roll out during the next few weeks. I give it two to three weeks tops before FOX pulls the plug--at least on the TV broadcast.

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Looks like the National Geographic channel was doing a mini-marathon rerunning all of the aired episodes tonight. Don't know if that's going to be a regular thing or not. NG must be seriously hard up for shows.

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Does anyone know how their live feeds are doing?

 

 

when I watched their live feed on youtube Saturday afternoon while the guests were there,  it was indicating 95 people were watching it at that time.

Edited by clod
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Does anyone know how their live feeds are doing?  I mean, obviously they have a method of tracking it.  But have any numbers been released on how many views they get, etc?

 

No data, and I don't think we'll ever get that- it's probably embarrassing.  I was on the YouTube live feed earlier- lasted 5 minutes with that interminable boredom, don't know how our recappers do it!- and it said there were 44 people watching.  And it's far easier to click a YT link than to go through whatever "passport" process the Utopia site requires, so...

 

Meanwhile, ~40-50K people at a time are watching a goldfish play Pokemon via Twitch, and that's nothing compared to the big online viewership for channels on Twitch and similar sites.  Old TV like FOX is out of its element when it comes to the online world.

 

Ratings are in for Fridays 9pm airing -- rating is down nearly 30%, share is down 33%, and total viewers dropped by 25%, coming in 4th to a new episode of Dateline and re-runs of Shark Tank and Hawaii Five-0.  Utopia had 9% of the total audience for its time slot.   Ouch !!

 

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/09/20/tv-ratings-friday-utopia-hits-low-big-brother-down-dateline-beats-2020/305160/

 

Ah, how I laughed a mighty laugh!  Those numbers are hilariously bad!

 

Wait, not hilarious- tragic.  Because FOX throughout its history has screwed with, then abruptly canceled, some of the best scripted shows to ever come on television- which all had far better ratings than "Utopia".  I know it's hard to compare ratings from even 5-10 years ago to today... but these ratings are a death knell.  Look at the highest rated cancellations of 2013-2014; their numbers in most cases dwarf what Utopia is getting. 

 

There's no way to salvage this shit show without a miracle revamp, and it's dead in the water.  Buuuuut...

 

The funny part is this show isn't even up against any of the other networks fall programming yet, which will roll out during the next few weeks. I give it two to three weeks tops before FOX pulls the plug--at least on the TV broadcast.

 

Sadly, I think we're "stuck" with this nonsense for a month or so longer,  Here's why I think that:

 

1) It's not FOX's money

John de Mol- not FOX- spent that $50M and undertook the risk.  FOX pays his production company (Talpa I think?) some agreed upon amount for the rights to broadcast the show, and then defines their profits from the difference between ad revenue and costs.  No network is going to air a show that loses money- that has such poor ratings that it costs them more to pay the broadcast rights than they collect from ad revenue- which is where this show is heading.  Buuuut...

 

2) The money is already spent!

Talpa is out the $50M, which was spent in them betting on building a franchise show with low overhead in subsequent seasons that would run for years and spread to other countries- that's been de Mol's formula for years, so that even shows with middling ratings can be cash cows. 

 

Whether the show runs the whole 12 months or is dropped tomorrow, it probably costs about the same to the production company- the only thing they might recoup by shutting down now is whatever staff salaries they'd have paid out for the next 11 months, which I bet are a modest percentage of the total upfront costs. Soooo...

 

3) Talpa has an incentive to do anything to try to keep Utopia on the air

John de Mol is a billionaire, and $50M is a drop in the bucket.  And it's true in TV/movies as it is in Silicon Valley, not everything works out.  The only people who will suffer are lowly staffers who thought they had a job for the next year.   Even as we watch Utopia crash and burn, de Mol will not have trouble finding a network for his next TV experiment here in the US.

 

The only option left for Talpa is to try to stay on the air and hope the show starts to attract a small but steady niche audience where the financials work out.  It's in their interest to work with FOX to keep the show on the air a little longer by reducing the broadcast cost to the network in the interim.  If that bet pays off and the show inexplicably gains a foothold, the $50M will be offset by years of steady "Utopia" money, just like with "Big Brother" et al. 

 

4) FOX and its affiliates can't have dead air

FOX has to broadcast something, and I wouldn't be surprised if at this point, Utopia becomes- or already is- one of their cheapest products for the reasons I mention above.  That's why reality TV is so prevalent after all: the costs are so low compared to a scripted drama with actor and production costs that increase as the show continues and becomes popular.  People like Bryan Cranston or Andrew Lincoln or Jon Hamm on marquee AMC shows will earn more and more money as the show goes on, but the prize pool for the fame whores on reality TV is a steady and predictable $100k, $500K, $1M or whatever, no matter how long it runs.

 

A network doesn't cancel a show unless there's something else lined up to replace it.  Now, the poor performance of Utopia means some other shows are surely being greenlit or unshelved already in preparation to eventually fill that Tuesday and Friday hole.  But they probably won't do that yet since they haven't even seen how their other new/returning shows are going to perform.  Plus...

 

5) FOX will want to save face

No network likes to make news with the first big cancellation of the new TV season.  Given the show is a sunk cost, and de Mol/Talpa will want to give it as long a chance to find its legs as possible, FOX doesn't have an incentive to axe the show immediately; they'll keep it around, some other network shows will flame out first, and then FOX will dump it quietly and be a page 9 blurb in "Variety".

 

My bet is this thing runs until the beginning of November, when the Sweeps period kicks in, by which time the network will see which new and returning shows are breakout hits or steadily continuing their audience shared.  They'll shuffle the schedule so their best-performing shows get more attention, axe the rest- including "Utopia"- and replace them with the B-squad new shows, and hope for a surprise performer...

 

 

... like say, a unique space western about a ragtag group of smugglers, outlaws, prodigies, courtesans, and doctors traveling on a quirky little spaceship on the outskirts of a galactic federation. :) :| :( :'(

 

What? too soon?

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... like say, a unique space western about a ragtag group of smugglers, outlaws, prodigies, courtesans, and doctors traveling on a quirky little spaceship on the outskirts of a galactic federation. :) :| :( :'(

 

 

I will never forgive FOX for cancelling that.  Not ever.

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Wait, not hilarious- tragic.  Because FOX throughout its history has screwed with, then abruptly canceled, some of the best scripted shows to ever come on television- which all had far better ratings than "Utopia"

 

As hincandenza points out, the big challenge is not "how bad are the ratings", but "what is the cost/benefit?"  This show costs almost nothing at this point, but it also generates almost nothing.  A replacement will have to have ratings high enough to justify the extra cost.  The lower the ratings get, the easier that is to happen, but it also would take awareness that you're also costing OTHER shows viewers, especially at premiere season. 

 

Hopefully for other Fox shows, they figure this out soon.

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A replacement will have to have ratings high enough to justify the extra cost.  The lower the ratings get, the easier that is to happen, but it also would take awareness that you're also costing OTHER shows viewers, especially at premiere season.

 

Hopefully for other Fox shows, they figure this out soon.

 

It's Friday night, Fox will probably just re-run one of their other shows from earlier in the week -- they do this all the time.  That's even cheaper than producing content that is this bad.

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Does Fox still broadcast the World Series? What about the games for the AL and NL Pennants? If the show's not cancelled before these (and that's a big if), I predict a lot of preemptions for the pioneers and their train wreck, followed by a quiet cancellation.

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What kills me is they gave no promotion to Enlisted and crap airing time and then canceled it.

It surprised me by being a good, funny and we'll cast show - things I never expect from FOX.

But they seem to promote the hell out of this and find time to air eps a couple times a week.

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What kills me is they gave no promotion to Enlisted and crap airing time and then canceled it.

 

 

That's how FOX often treats shows that are well-cast and well-written.  It's an odd promotional tactic, I admit.

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Since Utopia is a lead-in show twice a week it certainly could be cancelled sooner than later if it remains the drek of humanity show that it currently is with very little humanity even watching it. It effects the ratings for the whole Fox schedule those nights.  And networks always have a reserve of standby material cause shows get cancelled all the time. 

 

Also this show is becoming the laughing stock of the early fall season which means Fox has already lost face.  Add in the fact that sponsors will bail on advertising on a show that no one watches thus no revenue for Fox which is their whole point in broadcasting anything from their pov.  Writing is on the wall.

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Also add in that from what I recall advertisers are promised a certain minimal ratings (ie a certain number of people would essentially be watching their ads) and Fox has to pay a penalty if that isn't the case, so it is costing Fox money.

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Ooh good point, Matt! I figured it would be "safe" until the start of sweeps (since ad rates are locked in, but once the sweeps start and the Nielsens are recalculating the ad rates for the next 3 months, they don't want this ratings poison anywhere near that). That way they could let the other new shows premiere first, see what else is/isn't working, before dropping the axe en masse and reworking the fall schedule.

But yeah, if the ratings are so bad they get a penalty- or can't even sell ads- and the trend shows no signs of reversing then they pretty much have to axe it. Death pool, anyone?

Here's hoping the ratings for Tuesday set a new record low. I still haven't watched Friday's show, and am tempted to take it off my DVR along with the scheduled recording, just in case that helps. :)

Hate the show, and actually watching it is a grind. But I love dishing smacktalk about this through the feeds thread, you all are great and funny people, so it's still an amusing distraction until its much deserved cancellation.

Edited by hincandenza
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Here's hoping the ratings for Tuesday set a new record low. I still haven't watched Friday's show, and am tempted to take it off my DVR along with the scheduled recording, just in case that helps. :)

It's going to be hard to dive under what Rake did. They had to air all 13 of that. It was in the contract. This seems less likely to have to go there, but maybe. It's probably better than what Glee is doing. They seem like they want to be the worst ever because they don't care anymore.

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Utopia Tuesday night ratings are down compared to last Tuesday, continuing to hemorrhage viewers against new content on ABC/CBS/NBC -- ratings dropped 20% from 1.0 to 0.8, share remained at 3, total viewers dropped around 24% from 2.5 million to 1.9 million.

 

 

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/09/24/tv-ratings-tuesday-the-voice-rises-new-girl-the-mindy-project-sink-s-h-i-e-l-d-returns-down-ncis-new-orleans-debuts-ok-forever-flat-with-premiere/306630/

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Utopia Tuesday night ratings are down compared to last Tuesday, continuing to hemorrhage viewers against new content on ABC/CBS/NBC -- ratings dropped 20% from 1.0 to 0.8, share remained at 3, total viewers dropped around 24% from 2.5 million to 1.9 million.

 

 

I can't wait until they are the first show ever to draw an audience in the negative numbers.  Die, show, die!

 

Wish the fanboys and fangirls would stop visiting this zoo and feeding the animals (aka alleged humans) just so that they get their 5 seconds on national TV.  I know way more than half of them are there with hopes to get "discovered" for this show or some other reality TV show. That's just sad.

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Die, show, die!

 

Glad I'm not the only one actively rooting for the show's demise. The cancellation bear can't come agrowling soon enough.

 

FOX needs to learn a hard lesson about input/output; put utter crap on the air, expect shitty ratings.

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I can't wait until they are the first show ever to draw an audience in the negative numbers.  Die, show, die!

 

Utopia is delving into 'The CW' type of ratings numbers.  To make matters worse, Utopia is ratings poison as the lead-in for New Girl/The Mindy Project at 9pm

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Utopia Tuesday night ratings are down compared to last Tuesday, continuing to hemorrhage viewers against new content on ABC/CBS/NBC -- ratings dropped 20% from 1.0 to 0.8, share remained at 3, total viewers dropped around 24% from 2.5 million to 1.9 million.

 

Tonight the bell outside the compound will be ringing.  Not for a new visitor or delivery, but the death knell of this show.  It goes against The Amazing Race and a two hour new Shark Tank.  I know what I'll be watching.

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I DVR Utopia and watch it when I have time. That is normally a few days after it has aired. There is no way I would watch it when Amazing Race is on. Heck, I DVR Amazing Race but start in at the half way mark so that I can skip the commercials. I hate commercials.

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Tonight the bell outside the compound will be ringing.  Not for a new visitor or delivery, but the death knell of this show.  It goes against The Amazing Race and a two hour new Shark Tank.  I know what I'll be watching.

 

Cancelation can't come soon enough. In spite of early cancelation, I fear the longer Dystopia is on the air the bigger some of their heads will get (at least for Bri, Mike, Aaron and Red who have made it no secret they're in search of reality TV notoriety).

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Hope The Amazing Race is the final nail in the coffin of this crap show.  I'm totally out of ever watching it on TV again.  I will NOT help enable this Craptopia to last with viewing the TV version live, taped or in my nightmares.  Maybe read some live feed stuff now and again for the snark but even what happens in those seems both  more dull and disgusting then anything else at this point.

 

BTW ProfCrash, the premiere of The Amazing Race usually runs commercial free for the first 20 minutes or so just like they do with Survivor.  It's the CBS way to "hook" the first time viewer in long enough to land them

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So, the best thing this show has done is remind me that The Amazing Race is starting tonight- thanks for the heads up! Then again, wasn't wild about some of the catty clique behavior on TAR last season, but it was still immeasurably better than this DSM Extravaganza. Dave of the winning team kinda reminds me of an older Mike.

Heck, let's be honest, I haven't watched this show in a couple of weeks, I just find the forums fascinating. I'm scared to watch: what if Comcast can track that, and it somehow contributes to the ratings? I took it off my DVR series recording list because maybe the mere act of recording it can be counted?!? I'm just doing my part to end air(wave) pollution.

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So I just got an e-mail from Project FOX. Here's the contents of the email. Looks like they're making every last ditch effort to save the show, including focus groups (a little to late if you ask me) and bribery.

 

Subject: Help Impact How FOX's Utopia is Filmed and Edited! Join Our Exclusive Community & Win!

 

An Exclusive Development Community by FOX Broadcasting

 

Do You Watch FOX's Utopia? Join Us!
We're Giving Utopia Backpacks To The First 25 Members Who Join & Participate!
We'd like to invite you to join our brand new development community, Project FOX: Utopia. By providing feedback in Project FOX: Utopia, you will have a chance to make a huge impact on FOX's newest reality experiment and win prizes along the way! Be one ofthe first 25 members to join and instantly win a Utopia backpack!
Project FOX: Utopia is an exclusive private community that was developed so that fans of Utopia have the chance to influence, contribute and collaborate on how the show is produced, edited and filmed!
Before entering the community, you'll need to qualify by taking a short survey. Click here:
http://projectfoxutopia.com/recruitment/survey/937?

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Also this show is becoming the laughing stock of the early fall season which means Fox has already lost face.  Add in the fact that sponsors will bail on advertising on a show that no one watches thus no revenue for Fox which is their whole point in broadcasting anything from their pov.  Writing is on the wall.

 OMG- why didn't I even consider this? If we email/call the SPONSORS about the animal abuse, and if they threaten to walk, the show will have no choice but to fix the situation or stop it all together.  I have not watched any of the broadcasts since the first week, does anyone know of the sponsors at all? If anyone can make a list or remember, I will compile email/phone lists and place them in the official Animal thread.  

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That's brilliant!  I'll watch on On Demand to see which commercials play (watching for the commercials?  Oh the irony!) and will try to watch next time it airs because sometimes the On Demand commercials are just the same ones over and over and over...

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