Reality show contestants survived in the wilderness for a year, only to learn show was cancelled after a month.
After surviving alone in the wild for an entire year, reality TV show contestants on the show "Eden" finally emerged from the woods having fought off hunger, fatigue, and difficult social dynamics while living in a remote area of the British Isles. But, most of that won't be seen on the show, as it stopped running back in August, after only four episodes.
Here's the concept for the original premise of the show, which included 23 contestants, according to a promotional statement for the show:
With no prescribed infrastructure, the group will take in with them only what they can carry and the basics needed to kick start their experience, including the tools of their trade. What they do and how they do it is up to them. The series will follow the groups’ journey as they debate their own rules and laws, decide if they want to live together or separately, accept majority decisions or do as each of them pleases. Over 12 months, how will they work together to build their own shelter, grow their own food and raise their own livestock?
But, according to the New York Times, all but 10 of the contestants quit before the year was up, citing "concerns about health and safety, boredom and swarms of tiny biting insects called midges." The remaining 13 who stuck it out maybe got the worst deal of them all: learning you had just spent a year building a civilization while being tortured by small insects, and it didn't even make you famous.
Apparently viewership of the show dropped drastically, from 1.7 million watching the first episode, down to 800,000 on the fourth, after which the show was cut. Though that still doesn't explain why the show and network didn't alert the contestants once it was canceled, and get them out of the wilderness, where the conditions were clearly less-than-desirable.
Maybe the show didn't have the appeal of Survivor because it wasn't a competition; there were no winners and losers. "The appeal of Eden is that it was a real experiment," Channel 4, the British public service station that created the show, said in a statement. "And when filming began we had no idea what the results would be and how those taking part would react to being isolated for months in a remote part of the British Isles." So, next time you congratulate yourself for going "off the grid" for a weekend by renting out a cabin on Airbnb with four of your besties, just remember you ain't got nothing on the "Eden" contestants. And they don't have much to show for themselves either, save for a few bug bite scabs.