Insiders say this could be the last season for MTV's flagship reality show
MTV will launch “Real World’s” 29th run next year.
The latest San Fran iteration of “Real World” will be a make-or-break season for the series however, according to sources. The unscripted series, which debuted on MTV in 1992 and has been produced by Bunim-Murray Prods., has seen a slump in ratings in recent years, at times struggling to crack the one million viewer mark in its live broadcasts. Show has also drawn criticism over increased violence in the house and lack of intervention from the producing team.
MTV’s young demographics likely consume “Real World” via streaming platforms, VOD or DVR more and more with each season, but the live viewership numbers of this summer’s “Portland” season still mark a halving of the show’s ratings since its 2011 season set in Las Vegas.
Execs at the net have admitted that “Real World’s” performance has been softer than they’d like in recent years, and that the show is in need of a fresh spin. Insiders say the 2014 season may have format tweaks, though the net was unable to confirm that speculation.
Should “Real World’s” return to San Francisco fail to increase viewership and mark the venerable format’s final run on the net, MTV still has eggs elsewhere in the franchise basket, with “Real World’s” competition spinoff “The Challenge” currently drawing around 50% more total viewers than “Real World’s” most recent season, which came to a close earlier this summer. And with a steady lineup of recognizable and, at times, iconic contestants for “The Challenge,” the spinoff should have no problem thriving even after “Real World’s” sunset.
(“The Challenge,” like “Real World,” hails from Bunim-Murray Prods.)
Nevertheless, exec producer Jon Murray is “excited” by the series’ return to San Fran.
“San Francisco is the location of one of our most memorable seasons of ‘The Real World,’” Murray said. “The city has always been a great place for young people to explore who they are and what they want to do with their lives.”
Noted cast members from “Real World’s” San Fran-based third season include brash reality TV personality Puck, and the late Pedro Zamora, a noted HIV and AIDS activist who had a commitment ceremony with his partner, Sean Sasser, during the production of the show.