The producers of Fox’s ambitious new reality series “Utopia” gave reporters a close up, inside look at the show’s grand compound in the Santa Clarita area on Thursday. The 15 participants in what the network has billed as a “social experiment” are set to move in for their year-long stay on Aug. 29.
To an impressive scale the compound has been outfitted with 129 cameras and over 10 miles of wiring…though no electricity, water or plumbing beyond that. The landscape boasts it’s own lake and barn, as well as lush landscaping offering the cast to literally build their own society.
Though the cost of creating such a space was not specified, exec producer Conrad Green assured that it is “not insignificant.”
Journos also got a peek at the site’s control room and production space. Jon Kroll, another of the show’s producers, shared that all post production work is set to be completed on-site, with staffers currently rehearsing the dance of filming, logging and preparing the show for its bi-weekly airings.
“Utopia” will open with a three-night premiere on Sept. 7, Sept. 9 and Sept. 12. It will then air regularly on Tuesdays, with six special Friday airings lined up as well. The program is a gamble for Fox, especially as it is taking up so many hours on the schedule in the days leading up to the formal launch of the 2014-15 season. The hope is that the show will be on the schedule for a full year.
The team at “Utopia” is also set to livestream content 24-7, with degrees of subscription for viewers. The online stream will begin the afternoon the cast moves onto the property, ahead of its fall premiere. The series is based on a Dutch format, produced by John de Mol’s Talpa TV.
The 129 cameras will capture the society’s story for a year – or however long the show runs – and follow how they develop and integrate into the outside world, with the caveat that they cannot leave the property.