After 28 seasons of dependable drama, MTV producers are ramping up the tension in The Real World house. The wild card? One month into the guests’ stay, they will return from a day trip to discover their exes took up residence.
As co-creator Jonathan Murray told Entertainment Weekly, the primary goal is the shake things up — just as when the show began 21 years ago.
“When The Real World went on the air in ’92 you put seven diverse people together and you get conflict, and out of that conflict would come change, and then you have a story,” Jonathan said. “Now that it’s 21 years or so later, maybe we’re a bit of a victim of our own success. Diversity is a fact of life today. A lot of young people date people of different races, or have friends who are gay. The world has changed. We’ve had conversations [with the network] throughout 28 seasons of the show, but we’ve never made this big of a commitment to change.”
Although ratings for the show remain impressive — with an average 1.5 million tuning in last round — Jonathan admits the show lost its edge throughout 28 seasons. With this change in store for season 29, he and MTV hope to get people talking again.
“Four weeks into the show, after some [housemates] started to develop new relationships, the exes come in — thus, Ex-Plosion,” he explained, adding five of the seven house guests’ exes were willing to participate. “Then it got really complicated and really interesting. I’m still shocked we were able to pull it off.”
The twist is sure to create the desired buzz. But, as Jonathan and the MTV producers well know, that will fade after a season or two. When that happens, he promises there are other ideas in the works.
That basically means The Real World will never be the same — except for one key factor: “Of course there’s a hot tub.”