When we learned that FOX has recently started a production on a reality TV series called Utopia at Sable Ranch, one of our local movie ranches, we were curious.
The show follows a cast of 15 men and women who live on the Utopia compound which is completely isolated from the outside world. The set up involves 129 hidden and unhidden cameras that live-stream round-the-clock for the planned 52 weeks. These live video feeds are open to subscribed viewers in real-time and are edited for a weekly TV broadcast.
These 15 men and women are supposed to live together in a completely self-sustained way and create a “utopia”. But of course, to make it good TV, there must be drama, and it looks like there’s a lot of it. And here’s where we had an idea.
For those online subscribers who are watching the live-streaming of the show, what if we can let them actually remotely control “things” on the compound via the Internet in real-time. The purpose of these things would be to “elevate the drama” on the compound. They could be things that somehow interfere with their self-sustaining way. They could be things that entice them back into the real world. Or they could be things that simply scare them silly. With web-connected robotics, possibilities are limitless.
The show’s live-streaming format is perfectly suited for these IoT (Internet of Things) enhancements because they “connect” the online viewers with the actual physical things on the compound. Beyond simply watching the show, now the online viewers can actually participate and interact with it, adding unpredictability and spontaneity which are gems in reality TVs. And this interactive streaming initiative would be a very strong selling point for future show subscribers.
FOX has an opportunity to turn the Utopia series into a first-ever truly interactive reality TV show where the cast and the viewers get to drive the narrative together in completely different yet interconnected ways.