The Real World “could go on forever,” creator says; Hollywood house is “a fantasy”

The Real World Hollywood will debut early next year, and as the 20th season of an aging series that’s been eclipsed in drama and buzz by shows like The Hills, some speculated it could be the last. But the man who co-created the show 15 years ago says the opposite: “I think it could go on forever,” Jon Murray said. That’s because producers “change the cast every year and the city” and “MTV has a new group of viewers” who also change over time.

He was interviewed as part of USA TODAY’s comprehensive report on the ways the show influenced reality television, and while none of it’s particularly revelatory, surprising, or new, it’s a good wrap-of the impact MTV’s reality series has had ever since it debuted in 1992.

Murray praises some of the shows that borrowed from his series’ innovations. “There’s a lot of really good stuff on the air, from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to the dance competitions to American Idol,” he said, and USA TODAY notes that he’s a fan of Mark Burnett’s series and Project Runway.

But MTV’s Brian Graden reminds us of the impact Murray’s show had, saying it’s “quite simply the undisputed granddaddy of modern, commercial reality television” and other shows were “all, on some level, were inspired by the original Real World. … For MTV, it was an instant smash beyond any expected scale. Real World has established an ethos of long-form television that informed the next 15 years of MTV programming,” he said.

USA TODAY toured the new house, which is located at Sunset and Gower, and reveals that it has self-referential design, which makes sense since the new season will feature actual media whores. “An aquarium with fish swimming around a HOLLYWOOD sign is surrounded by 19 video screens documenting each season of the show,” and “has its share of Hollywood fun and folly: an outdoor pool, bar and exercise area, a faux Jaws set in the living room and a huge neon hotel sign.” That design, Murray says intriguingly, is intentional, because the house “has to be a fantasy for the audience.”

How TV started getting real [USA TODAY]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.