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Roku Cancels ‘Survival From Above’ Before Launch

EXCLUSIVE: Roku will not proceed with its ambitious jungle reality series Survival From Above but producer Caravan Media is in advanced stage talks with a UK network over taking on the show.

Deadline understands Roku decided against moving forward with the format several weeks ago, though the ad-supported streamer, which operates in the U.S., UK, Canada and Latin America, declined to comment and so did Caravan.

Roku unveiled the lofty eight-parter in June, branding it the first survival competition series set entirely in rainforest treetops, with 10 contestants aiming to be the ‘last person hanging’ while suspended 100 feet off the ground in Guyana, South America. Caravan Co-founder and CEO Dinah Lord was executive producer alongside Rafael Montserrat and Jane McGoldrick, with Kristina Obradovic as Production Consultant and Executive Casting and Talent Producer Charles Pheby also on board.  

Caravan was well into pre-production when Roku cancelled, with casting set and several tree-top structures constructed, and the indie was therefore in position to pitch the format to other broadcasters and streamers. We understand talks with a UK network are progressing and international distributors are circling.

Given its location and precinct, the format is logistically challenging to produce but this new version will not pare back from the original vision set by All3Media-backed Caravan, Deadline understands.

For Roku, the news comes after it last month announced it would axe 200 roles in the U.S., making it one of several major media and tech groups to cut costs as the economy dives and downturns impact the streaming ad market. However, the platform is still one of streaming’s leaders, with more than 65M active accounts across connected devices and smart TVs. Insiders stressed the move to axe Survival From Above is not connected and was instead a content-driven decision. 

On the originals front, Roku has spent much of the past months trumpeting feature Weird: The Al Yankovic Story starring Daniel Radcliffe as the curly-haired parody music star. It has also made several programing moves such as picking up season two of TBS’s scrapped coming-of-age comedy series Chad for The Roku Channel and ordering The Great American Baking Show in the UK, which is shooting in The Great British Bake Off’s famous tent with original series judges Paul Hollywood and Pru Leith. This week, Roku became the English-language broadcast partner for the 71st Miss Universe competition.

Founded by Dinah Lord and Juliet Singer in 2015, Caravan has produced shows such as Nat Geo’s upcoming Hunting Alaskan Dinosaurs, Discovery+’s The Baby Killer Conspiracy, Sky Documentaries’ The Wimbledon Kidnapping, Channel 4 film The Anti-Vax Conspiracy and Netflix’s true crime doc Killer Ratings.

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