The show is produced by Talpa Germany and goes out on free-to-air station Sat.1, which has issued an apology.
The show sets out to watch 15 participants, or ‘pioneers’, as they fashion a community without any interference from the outside world. They are filmed around the clock by over 100 cameras, with viewers able to watch live streams, which is how the incident was captured.
The interference of the producer, who gave direction and suggested possible stories that they could participate in, went against the spirit and supposed set-up of the show,with viewers and German press dubbing the series ‘Faketopia’.
Using its Twitter feed, Sat.1 said: “We are as disappointed as you are. From the things that have happened in the night and we understand that the Newtopia community is very angry. We can not change [what has happened] unfortunately. We will make all things transparent in the future.”
Sat.1’s version of the show launched in February and it initially performed well for the commercial channel, but ratings have fallen away. Local press speculated the producer interference was an effort to reinvigorate the show in an effort to win back share and ratings.
Sat.1 said it is investigating, and head of entertainment, Taco Ketelaar, added that despite the incident “the programme is genuine; it is authentic”.
The production executive who spoke to the pioneers has been relieved of their duties. Talpa Germany said: “What has happened on Newtopia earlier this week was an incident due to human error.
“The producer and the transmitter of Newtopia have no secret meetings with the pioneers in the middle of the night or other times. We investigated the incident and have taken appropriate action.”