NBC Just Canceled an Expensive Reality Show

Million Dollar Island, a Survivor-like series in development at NBC, was canceled before cameras even started rolling. The production stalled during the casting phase, Deadline reports. This is the second recent reality show canceled before its premiere, following TBS' The Big D.

Million Dollar Island was based on a Ditch series produced by John De Mol's Talpa and was being produced by his Studio Lambert, the same company behind The Circle and Undercover Boss. Talpa and Studio Lambert are taking the idea to other broadcasters. However, the reason NBC balked was reportedly its big budget.

The series would have featured an eye-popping 100 contestants working together to stay on a deserted island for up to 50 days. The winners would receive a share of the $1 million prize. At the start of the show, the contestants would each receive a $10,000 bracelet. They would gain or lose the bracelets after competing challenges. When a player leaves, the contestants would have to pick who gets their portion of the prize money. Starting a season with 100 contestants sounds like far too many, especially since Survivor's most recent season began with 18.

Vulture journalist Joe Adalian first mentioned Million Dollar Island might be canceled earlier this month. Adalian noted that casting already started. He pointed out that Studio Lambert is also producing Netflix's Squid Game-inspired reality show, which features 456 contestants fighting for $4.56 million.

NBC ordered the show in March and was excited about its prospects. "We're excited to partner with a powerhouse team to bring this fresh and bold social experiment to NBC," Jenny Groom, EVP of Alternative Programming and Development at NBC, said at the time. "This series is sure to entertain with ever-evolving alliances, trust, deceit, and the ultimate will to survive."


In June, Warner Bros. Discovery pulled the plug on The Big D, a dating show series featuring divorced couples living in a Costa Rica villa and hosted by former Bachelorette stars JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers. Unlike Million Dollar Island though, this series was completely filmed before Warner Bros. Discovery decided it would not air it. The show was canceled days before its July 7 premiere and TBS had already begun advertising it. Sources told Deadline the show was canceled as a "tax write-off." The Big D reportedly cost about $10 million to produce.