Survivor, eat your heart out: Vault 12 takes the concept of a group of people trying to survive in harsh conditions, throws it 40 feet underground and locks the door for an entire year. And Jeff Probst will definitely not be there to take your torch if you don’t make it.
Creator Russ McCullough originally developed the concept as an independent film of 12 people trying to survive the end of the world but right before production, he and his investors decided it would make a better TV reality show. But being disillusioned with the “unreality” of reality TV, McCullough decided the internet would give him a lot more freedom to try to make a true reality experience.
Having secured a bunker built during the Cuban Missile Crisis and outfitting it with over a dozen cameras, the next step was to pull together 12 individuals to attempt to survive a nuclear holocaust. According to the website, applications are still being accepted to be the 12th cast member by submitting a 2 minute video giving basic information about yourself (obviously a bevy of psychological and physical tests will follow).
What’s also notable is their use of the freemium model, allowing paid subscribers additional access — Get Full Access. For a pre-launch subscription rate of $59 or a monthly rate of $9.99 viewers receive access to the entire show and some bonus features:
–Daily episode updates
–Daily cast member video blogs (otherwise known as “the confessional”)
–Cast extras including journal entries, photos and more
–Regular email updates when episodes and other content is uploaded
As the site states: “If you are not ready to register but still want to receive show updates, special offers and news from our sponsors, sign up for our free email list. You will be notified when the show goes live, when YouTube clips are posted and you’ll get the basics, but remember – to see the cast you’ll have to become paid subscriber.”
So as much as this is an experiment in just how real reality entertainment can get, it is also an experiment in how much people are willing to shell out to watch a group of people for an entire year. All I know is that if there isn’t at least one zombie attack, I for one will be sorely disappointed. Probst would approve.