Real World

There’s a Renewed Interest in The Real World. What Does It Mean?

"New" Real World episodes just means new to Netflix and Hulu.

If you’re a Hulu subscriber, you can log on and get access to Real World: San Francisco and Real World: Skeletons. On January 20, 2023, Real World: Portland is coming to Netflix. For a franchise that hasn’t aired on MTV in about 6 years, it’s a bit odd to see two streaming services take a sudden interest.

It’s not like putting The Challenge on these platforms. Conceivably, that could be an effort to build interest in the franchise that continues to air on MTV and Paramount+.

So, is there a way to explain these additions? Not definitively, but we can speculate.

On Netflix, the interest really boils down to one person: Jordan. He’s currently on The Challenge: Ride or Dies and he’s going to be on The Challenge: Global. So, this will give viewers his back story, because we all know MTV won’t be giving up airtime that could be used for Ridiculousness to rerun Real World: Portland. And being on Netflix isn’t going to do him any favors because he did some vile things on the show.

But, he’s been a pretty big name on the franchise for a decade now. It’s understandable that production would see this as an opportunity to spark interest.

The seasons on Hulu are bigger wildcards. The San Francisco season might be the most iconic season, but it’s definitely not getting a Homecoming, so only reason to add it would be its cultural and educational impact. Meanwhile, Skeletons is a drama-fest, but there’s no real reason to add it beyond building Hulu’s content library. Maybe we’ll see Sylvia in All Stars again, but Tony’s been away from the show for over four years now. His return is unlikely, so it wouldn’t make sense to send a show to Hulu for his sake.

If we’re being optimistic, this could be an attempt to gage interest in the show. San Francisco and Skeletons are very different seasons in terms of style. One tackles social issues and is more of a documentary while the other is focused on the drama and fits a modern mold for a reality show. If the seasons get a lot of views, production could use this data to pick a direction for a revival.

The more pessimistic, and realistic, explanation: Viacom is trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of old content. If these seasons can translate into people watching The Challenge, great. And remember, all of these seasons and more are on Paramount+. Perhaps people will fall in love with The Real World and subscribe to that service.

Most likely, this means nothing. But it is clear that The Real World is never really dead and will keep creeping back into the public eye years after its last episode aired on MTV.

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