MTV is going back in time.
Cabler has quietly moved into production on “That ’70s House,” a 10-episode reality series that takes a group of unsuspecting young people who think they’re going to live it up in a “Real World”-style skein and sticks them in a home straight out of the ’70s.
Aaron Lee created the concept for the retro “Big Brother” skein, being produced by Super Delicious Prods. (MTV’s “The Assistant”). Music net is targeting a summer primetime launch.
Elimination-style show situates 12 housemates in a ’70s-era home and forces them to adapt to the decade — no Internet, cable TV, cell phones or other modern luxuries. Sample challenges include contestants battling it out in a roller boogie disco.
“Their goal is to remain entrenched in the ’70s,” said Super Delicious principal and exec producer Cara Tapper. Company execs Adam Cohen and Joanna Vernetti also exec produce.
Show puts a twist on “Frontier House,” a PBS series that sent three families to the Wild West to live as settlers did in the 1880s.
In ” ’70s House,” participants are sent to a Pasadena home outfitted with paraphernalia from the decade. Contestants will have to walk, talk and dress as if they belong in the era. First episode will feature the housemates getting acquainted with ’70s-appropriate lingo.
“They all got an education during the first week of production,” Tapper said. “Words like ‘whack’ and ‘foshizzle’ need to be replaced with ‘groovy’ and ‘dynamite.’ ”
MTV Networks entertainment president Brian Graden said while MTV is committed to “never getting old,” he thinks ” ’70s House” will be a “potent and funny demonstration of how generational pop culture is.” He added teens who sampled the pilot thought it was hysterical.
“It tested through the roof,” Graden said. “The kids in the show don’t know how to use a rotary phone and had no idea how to do fondue. I think our young audience will be fascinated by a time when there was no such thing as a Diet Coke.”
“The ’70s are a million years ago for kids born in the ’80s,” Tapper said. “We’ve completely trapped them in a world with nothing they’re used to. There’s no Starbucks or energy drinks here. They’re limited to ’70s clothes and ’70s shows — shown, of course, on a small screen with rabbit ears.”
Bil Dwyer and Natasha Leggero host the WMA-packaged skein. Execs in charge of production for MTV are Jessica Samet, Lois Curren and Mikey Ireland.
Super Delicious is busy on another project for MTV and is awaiting a pickup decision on a top-secret reality pilot at NBC.
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)