The show followed the lives of eight young Canadians who lived together into a Toronto loft for a one-year period, while at the same time producing and hosting their own television programs for Life Network or other cable TV networks, and for the website U8TV.com. The loft, located in Toronto's Entertainment District near the intersection of Peter and Richmond streets, had 21 cameras filming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in all rooms of the house including the bathrooms — although the bathroom camera was only broadcast if Lofters went in there to talk.
The show was unique in that it was not only a fly-on-the-wall-style reality show similar to MTV's The Real World but was also a nightly series of talk shows and documentaries that were created and hosted by the cast members themselves. Some of the online shows or TV shows produced by the Lofters included Fuel, So Gay TV, Male Box, Spin the Bottle, Love Shack, Money Shot and House Party. The shows had regular weekly time slots and were hosted regularly by one or two Lofters, and usually centred on themes of interest to young people.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved a licence for a U8TV Category 2 digital television channel in 2000, although the channel was never ultimately launched.
The Lofters in season one were:
Tre Smith was a last minute replacement when original lofter Marc left the show over the phone in the first episode. Cast members Kalen and Valery both left the show early, before completing their full year in the loft. Other notable events of season one were: Arisa meeting a half-sister she never knew, gay issues being addressed by lofter Mathieu (including grilling the health minister on the issue of blood donation by gay men), an episode in which the lofters view and discuss the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and a number of angry spats between lofters Jennifer and David.
Season two had extensive auditions and various combinations of possible Lofters were sent into the house for trial runs to see which candidates had the right chemistry. The auditions were shown early on in season two. The Lofters who began season two were:
In the second season, the show moved towards more of a Big Brother-style format when a new twist was added to the show. Every ten weeks, the producers would select two Lofters whose hosting skills were sub-par or who didn't share enough of their lives, and nominate them for eviction. Fans of the show could then go to U8TV.com and vote for the Lofter they wanted to evict. The first (and only) occurrence of the twist saw Jason Ruta and Annie Guillo nominated for eviction. Fans voted Ruta off the show, and he was replaced by Stephen MacDonald.
Season one lofter Kalen reappeared on several occasions during season two, as he was dating season two Lofter Annie.
The show also began exercising a degree of self-censorship in the second year. During the first season, Internet viewers were able to view the residents having sex, showering, etc. During the second year, the show instituted a policy that whenever possible the cameras would be turned off during such private moments.
Mid-way through the second season, however, the show was cancelled. Although the show's ratings on television were strong, the costs to broadcast over the internet were far too high for the show to survive.
Season one's Tre (Trevor) Smith is now an animal control officer with the City of Toronto. In August 2007, he made national headlines when he smashed open the window of a locked car to rescue a dog who was dying from heat exhaustion. Smith then handcuffed the dog's owner to the car, and the owner was subsequently beaten by enraged onlookers. Smith became a hero to animal rights activists across Canada, despite it resulting in him being disciplined by his employer. A little known fact is that Smith was a child actor in the mid 1980's on the CBC Television show Spirit Bay.