Host Michelle Buteau on The Circle

Here’s How Long Contestants Remain Isolated on ‘The Circle’

The Circle recently returned to Netflix with season 6, which is quickly heading towards its finale. As viewers watch the newest season, they are bound to have questions about how the unique reality show works, including how long contestants are on The Circle.

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The series is a reality game show that explores the impact of social media, including encouraging contestants to “catfish” one another. Essentially, each season, 11–13 players live for a short time in an apartment building where they are forbidden from seeing each other or anyone from the outside world. The only way they are permitted to communicate with each other is through a custom social media platform on which they can share photos, bio, and texts. The fun part is that every player can portray themselves however they wish on the platform, even if it’s not truthful.

Some users do choose to go by their true identities. However, others may create entirely new identities or modify their image and bios a bit. For example, contestants may portray themselves as different gender online, while some may use pictures they found online instead of their own. Players mingle and scroll online for a few days before periodically being asked to rate all their fellow contestants. The players who are the lowest rated face elimination until the group gets small enough to choose a winner based on who has the most favorable rating. It is only once a player is eliminated that the remaining contestants will learn for sure if their online persona was real or a catfish.

How long are contestants on The Circle?

Given that contestants on The Circle are completely isolated for the duration of the show, viewers may be curious and concerned about how long the show lasts. After all, poor working conditions on the sets of reality dating and competition shows have led to a flurry of lawsuits recently. Contestants on other Netflix reality shows, including Love is Blind and Squid Game: The Challenge, have sued the streamer for forcing them to shoot in dangerous conditions and for making their living situations comparable to false imprisonment. However, it seems contestants at least went into The Circle aware of the isolation.

Executive producer Tim Harcourt revealed that contestants who remain on the show from day one will ultimately spend 15 days on The Circle. Contestants aren’t told the length of time, though, to make it more of a mental game. Meanwhile, Harcourt has confirmed that contestants are nearly in solitary confinement for the entirety of the 15-day shoot. However, contestants are permitted to bring books, games, or other items to set (including, occasionally, a pet), as only electronics are off-limits. Every contestant also has a personal producer and camera operator, who are present partially to provide contestants with some human contact over the 15 days. There is also a therapist on set, and contestants can leave their rooms on occasion to utilize an outdoor hot tub or enjoy a smoke.

Ultimately, contestants do have pretty nice accommodations, but should be aware ahead of the show they’ll be in a fairly restrictive and isolated environment for up to 15 days.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.