Company playing the ‘Game’

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MTV’s reality-based soap opera/docu “The Real World” is returning for a second season–this time from new digs in southern California, with a new seven-member cast of twentysomethings willing to bare their lives before the cameras.

The cable channel will start shooting 22 half-hour episodes in January once it has selected the new group of 18- to 25-year-olds who will live together in Venice for five months under the constant scrutiny of the lens. New episodes will air in June 1993.

MTV is recruiting “performers” the same way it did last go-round: From the hundreds of young people responding to on-air promos on MTV and from newspaper ads in selected cities.

MTV is looking for non-actors who are comfortable in front of a camera and are “in transition in their lives,” said Lauren Corrao, exec in charge of production.

But, unlike last season, in which all the performers were artists, MTV hopes to find a few cast members employed in less glamorous walks of life, such as a mechanic or a fireman, said Corrao.

“The Real World” emerged as one of MTV’s most talked-about series. The young cast was thrown together in an artificial situation– recruited by MTV to live in a loft picked out and furnished by the cabler–but they appeared as themselves, without a script.

Off-center camera angles and a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack identified it as an MTV production.

Corrao said MTV decided to switch the location from New York’s hip SoHo to the beach in Southern California to give the series a new perspective.

Though most of last season’s performers hailed from the East Coast, this time MTV is recruiting in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Wichita, Nashville, San Francisco , Atlanta and San Diego. MTV is spending slightly more than the estimated $ 107, 000-per-episode production budget of last season; it also has expanded the episodes from 13 to 22, Corrao said.

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