'Real World' Won't Film in Philadelphia
27 minutes ago
PHILADELPHIA - Real-world labor issues apparently were a bit too much for the makers of a popular MTV reality show.
A production company announced Tuesday that it had given up plans to shoot the 15th season of "The Real World" in Philadelphia. Bunim/Murray Productions did not give a reason for abandoning the plans just three weeks before taping was set to begin, but it had been squabbling with organized labor.
The production company had angered labor unions angry by hiring a nonunion company to renovate the former Seamen's Church Institute in Old City, where it planned to have seven strangers live together and have their lives videotaped. Members of the building trades unions picketed outside the building.
Sharon Pinkenson, who heads the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she had been aware that Bunim/Murray wanted to go nonunion, but said she advised the company that doing so would be troublesome in Philadelphia.
"I recommended that they speak with other producers of nonunion reality television" who had worked in Philadelphia, Pinkenson said. She did not know if Bunim/Murray followed her advice.
Labor leaders said other television and movie production companies had worked successfully with Philadelphia's unions, citing examples like the CBS series "Hack" and "Cold Case," and the recent M. Night Shyamalan film "The Village."
"Every other production company comes in, sits down and bargains," said Tony Frasco, vice president of Teamsters Local 107.
"We ask for fair wages and benefits, and (then they) make a fuss and take their ball and go home — what kind of real world do they represent?" said Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building Trades Council.
The company did not say Tuesday where it would film the show's next season.