Road Rules will return to MTV this January, more than two years after it was cancelled. and aired its last episode. MTV has confirmed that, as I reported last March, the series will return with a new game that places viewers in control.
Reality television’s first competitive reality series will now air in real time, and allowing viewers will “determine through an online vote which cast member is eliminated each week,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Two episodes will air weekly, “one on-air and one on MTV’s broadband video channel Overdrive,” with voting taking place after the televised episode.
MTV’s Brian Graden said, “This is MTV’s first reality show where viewers are actually casting the show and rendering the verdict about who they liked most and least.” Executive producer Jonathan Murray put it more bluntly, saying that, at long last, those of us who bitch online will be able to control an entire series, which is of course what we wanted all along. “Viewers of reality shows have always been impassioned — just go to the message boards, and you’ll see this. … The new ‘Road Rules’ takes that passion and allows viewers to channel the outcome of the show,” he said.
While Road Rules broke new ground when it debuted 11 years ago, this isn’t exactly new now. The first season of Big Brother, for example, did essentially the same thing, airing on TV and online in real time, and giving viewers control. And we all know how that failed, mostly because American viewers make irrational decisions, voting out the people they hate even though those are the people that make reality television interesting.
The newly revived series also sound familiar because it seems to be borrowing from its own spin-off: The Hollywood Reporter says “the new cast will consist of “six of the most infamous former cast members,” and two of them “will duel” each week to see who returns to the RV. Former cast members facing off in a duel? Where have we seen that before?