Eden never really caught on in America. Maybe that’s why the show was canceled well before the full year-long run was complete. Still, you’d think someone would have told the castaways the show left stranded in the Scottish Highlands for 7 long months.
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Last March, Channel 4 sent 23 contestants to a desolate area in the Scottish Highlands. They were supposed to live there for a year, cut off from society in every way. No phone, no lights, no motorcar, not a single luxury.
Yet it wasn’t a survival-of-the-fittest situation. They were given food and materials that would help the group get by, and the goal was to see what kind of society they could create.
The elevator pitch for Eden was simple: “What if we could start again?” There were four cameramen embedded in the group, and several other cameras mounted in the area to record the day-to-day life.
This March, when the year was up, the crew was picked up. Only then were they told that the show they’d been working for had hit a rough spot and gone silent. There had been four episodes back in July and August, but then nothing since. The other scheduled broadcasts never happened according to a report by the NY Times.
— Eden (@Eden_C4) October 7, 2016
And nothing has been seen on social media, either. One tweet on August 6th marked the end of that effort, too.
Channel 4 had cut back on coverage because of declining viewership. The show opened with an estimated 1.7 million viewers. By the fourth and final episode, the numbers had dropped to 800,000.
— Eden (@Eden_C4) September 23, 2016
One of the contestants did leave early. Tara Zieleman didn’t mesh with the group and checked out early.
“Eden was definitely an experiment and it hasn’t gone well,” a informant told The Sun. “The Scottish Highlands are not glamorous and it’s a big ask to get people to give up a whole year of their lives. There have been exits after Tara and that has been another setback.”
“It was originally planned for there to be regular shows but that’s now changed to wait until it has finished in the late spring and then the episodes will be put together once they have gone through the footage.”
All of this must seem confusing to those returning home. And the viewers who were engaged by the first episodes keep seeing this statement on Eden‘s Facebook page.
“Eden was intended to stop after the first batch, and we are coming back with new episodes later this year.”
To add to the confusion, Channel 4’s official statement is this: “Filmed every day for an entire year Eden will return to our screens soon to tell the full story of life in the community and how they have fared.”
Those familiar with the way television works will recognize the implication. Channel 4 pulled the plug after four episodes because the viewers weren’t watching. Now, they’ll look at the footage of the full year and see if there’s anything they can salvage.