MTV’s “The Real World” could be headed back to Chicago, more than 10 years after the reality series filmed in Wicker Park.
Assuming the production receives city approval, the show would be based at 1100 W. Randolph St. in the West Loop, according to Rich Moskal, head of the Chicago Film Office, who also confirms that a representative of Bunim-Murray (the company that produces the show) is scheduled to appear at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting next Friday to request the necessary permits.
Producers were in town as recently as March for a casting call for the show’s 30th season.
When “The Real World” filmed in Chicago previously, the 11th season took place over the course of the latter half of 2001 in a converted loft space located 1934 W. North Ave.
That season depicted its cast members learning of the 9/11 attacks. It was also a notably rocky production due to protests from those in the neighborhood who felt the show was disruptive to local businesses. The show was not particularly invested in capturing a true sense of the city and only exacerbated gentrification issues in Wicker Park.
If the “The Real World” producers receive necessary permits, filming would likely begin in July and take place over a 12-week period.
The economic impact of a reality show, it is worth noting, is significantly less than that of a one-hour drama such as “Chicago Fire.” In general, the crew for a one-hour drama (which could number up to 200) is 80 percent local; a reality series (which usually numbers around 20) might only be 20 percent.
When contacted by the Tribune, MTV said it is "still in the process of scouting cities for the next season of 'The Real World' and no decision has been made yet."
On the plus side, unlike scripted television shows, reality shows do not require street closures or parking restrictions since most of the filming takes place indoors.
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