Patty Brard's latest column in Weekend Magazine deals with "Utopia", a reality program conceived by Endemol founder John de Mol. The show premiered on SBS 6 on January 6th and attracted 1.567.000 viewers (market share: 21.9%), according to Stichting KijkOnderzoek (Dutch audience measurement company). Since then, it has drawn an average audience of 1.269.000 viewers (market share: 19.8%).
"Utopia" centres on 15 people living on a piece of land near Laren and attempting to build up a new community. They have been provided with a shed, two cows, some chickens, water and electricity connections, a telephone and a safe with €10,000.
The 15 participants include seven women and eight men. They include a builder, a nurse and a security guard as well as a wrestler and a tramp. Every month one resident will be voted out and replaced by two more candidates, one of whom will be invited to stay after a trial period.
The group are under the watchful eye of 98 cameras. As well as the daily show, viewers can follow events live via the internet and take part in voting who should leave the site.
John de Mol, who is reportedly in dispute with SBS's principle shareholder over the channel’s performance, told the AD in early January that he hoped the new show would generate 1.5 million viewers. Of them, 800,000 should become regulars, De Mol said.
The difference with other Big Brother-style shows is that the group will be left to get on with their new lives for a year, without interaction with the outside world.
'This means as producers we have no way of steering events,’ De Mol told the Volkskrant. ‘It is a social experiment and all we can do is record it.’
Patty praises De Mol's vision in her column. She also spoke her mind about the reality program on social networks.
To read the column, click here
Source: Weekend, SBS 6, Stichting KijkOnderzoek, Dutchnews.nl, Patty Brard's Facebook and Twitter accounts...