Real World Ex-Plosion: Big Brother’s 10-year-old twist comes to MTV’s dying show

MTV announced this afternoon that the next season of The Real World will have 12 cast members, bringing in the ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends of the usual seven-person cast to ambush them and create crazy drunken stupid drama.

How creatively bankrupt is The Real World? It is using the 10-year-old twist from Big Brother 4, then called “ex-factor,” as a way to respond to the threat of impending cancellation for the dying franchise.

The network confirmed it will be filmed in San Franciscon and said the season will actually be called The Real World: Ex-Plosion, hyphen and all, and here is how MTV describes it:

“In what is sure to be the most intense season yet, the series returns to the iconic city of San Francisco where the show starts off with seven strangers living, partying and hooking up in a beautifully designed loft space in the Polk Gulch neighborhood. Things take a dramatic turn when the exes of the original seven roommates surprisingly take the house by storm and move right in. In the midst of new relationships that started to brew before their exes arrived, the roommates find out very quickly that things can get complicated as loyalty is tested, tempers flare and romances sizzle and fizzle.”

Executive producer and co-creator Jon Murray, who is actually one of the two people responsible for all modern reality television yet is producing this crap, said in his press release quote that this is “a fresh dynamic to the relationships in the house,” which he says “spurs drama, humor, excitement, unpredictability and many incredibly real situations that will resonate with our viewers.”

I’m not sure what viewers those are. Variety reported earlier this year that this, the 29th season, “will be a make-or-break season for the series.” It sounds broken already.

Update and correction: EW’s version of the press release does have additional details: Only five of the seven exes agreed to join the cast, so that makes the full cast 12 people, not 14 as this post initially said. It also adds that, in another first, cast members “were given smartphones for the first time,” so they could text and make calls, though their social media posts won’t go live until the show airs.

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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.