Big Brother creator John de Mol’s newest televised social experiment Utopia, premiering on Fox with a three-night event starting Sept. 7, features 15 total strangers who are taken to a remote location (read: the middle of nowhere, U.S.A.) and challenged to create their own ideal community. Based on a wildly popular Dutch show of the same name that debuted earlier this year, the contestants will be followed 24/7 by more than 100 robotic cameras as they try to build their utopia with little to no resources (no bathrooms, no beds, for starters). As on Big Brother, there will be eliminations, but there won’t be any challenges or competitions or a prize (however, in a unique twist, contestants deemed nonessential can be nominated for elimination by the Utopia community and audience online, and be replaced by newcomers). Casting was ”99 percent of the challenge,” says executive producer de Mol. ”This was an extra difficult casting process because you needed the right characters, but also the right skills. You want the group of people to have a fair chance to survive—you need someone in the 15 who knows about construction, about electricity, about water pipes; there has to be at least one medical person in case someone gets hurt. You need one person in the 15 who knows how to deal with it.” More than 5,000 hopefuls applied—here’s who made the cut.
Vitals: 38, single
Habitat of Origin: San Diego, Calif.
Occupation: Raw vegan chef, detox expert
Skill set: Juicing EVERYTHING
Vitals: 45, single
Habitat of Origin: Griffin, Ga.
Occupation: Real estate entrepreneur, survivalist prepper
Skill set: Has been ready for Utopia for 10 years
Nickname: ”5th Avenue”
Vitals: 31, single
Habitat of Origin: Queens, N.Y.
Skill set: Sales; hustling, amateur barbering, smooth-talking
Vitals: 38, engaged
Habitat of Origin: South Amboy, N.J.
Occupation: Security programmer
Skill set: Hunting, fishing, handling guns, getting combative
Vitals: 26, single
Habitat of Origin: Oxford, Miss.
Occupation: Private chef
Skill set: Cooking, foraging, personal training
Vitals: 30, single
Habitat of Origin: Seattle, Wash.
Occupation: Behavioral specialist
Skill set: Patience, organizing/planning, singing
Vitals: 20, single
Habitat of Origin: Westminster, Calif.
Occupation: Veterinary technician/student
Skill set: Farming, raising livestock, horseback riding, canning fruits and vegetables, building huts
Vitals: 25, single
Habitat of Origin: Cary, N.C.
Occupation: Glass blower; chili farmer
Skill set: Skateboarding, surfing, shredding, guitar-playing
Vitals: 26, polyamorous relationship
Habitat of Origin: Los Angeles, Calif.
Occupation: Model, motion-capture artist
Skill set: Cheese-making, social mediating
Vitals: 45, married with two kids
Habitat of Origin: Church Hill, Tenn.
Occupation: Pastor, high school coach
Skill set: Building, hunting, fishing
Vitals: 36, father
Habitat of Origin: Salt Lake City, Utah
Occupation: General contractor
Skill set: Building, cooking, sewing, fishing, hunting
Vitals: 25, single
Habitat of Origin: Detroit, Mich.
Skill set: Hunting, fishing, gathering
Vitals: 33, single
Habitat of Origin: New York, N.Y.
Skill set: Litigation, wise-cracking
Vitals: 29, single
Habitat of Origin: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Occupation: Medical and Holistic doctor, life coach, herbalist
Skill set: Non-traditional medicine, yoga instruction, gardening
Vitals: 41, married, father
Habitat of Origin: Cecilia, Ky.
Occupation: Handyman, farmer, moonshiner, home builder, natural medicine man
Skill set: See Occupation. The guy can do it all.