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MTV Real World Philadelphia

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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MTV Real World Philadelphia Cast, 2004-2005

The Real World featured a cast of seven to eight strangers from diverse backgrounds living together for several months in a different city each season, as cameras record their lives and interpersonal relationships, including the hookups, the breakups, the confessions, the plotting, the teary phone calls, and the sightseeing, etc.

Long before GQ magazine named Philadelphia its City of the Year in 2018, MTV had recognized how cool Philly was when it was selected as the host city for The Real World in 2004-2005. 

Let's take a look back to the hipper side of Philadelphia when seven strangers above acclimated to life in Old City in the 15th season of The Real World on MTV - Music Television. From September 7, 2004 to March 8, 2005, MTV aired a total of 26 episodes that followed the cast of The Real World through Philadelphia with their Real Young, Real Fun, and Real Philly itinerary.

Filming began in April 2004, and when the season premiered in September 2004, it was watched by 3.3 million viewers. The season featured seven people who lived in the historical three-story, 15,000 square foot building, the Corn Exchange National Bank and Trust Co., that was converted in a cool house for the Real World cast.

MTV Real World House Philadelphia, Corn Exchange National Bank

At the corner of 3rd and Arch Streets, just next door to the Betsy Ross House, visitors taking The Constitutional Walking Tour can check out the former Corn Exchange National Bank and Trust Co. Today, the Real World house serves as the corporate headquarters for Linode, but you'll recognize the MTV Real World House as a unique Philly pop-culture landmark.

MTV Real World Philadelphia Cast, 2004-2005

On the 10th anniversary of the Real World Philadelphia, Billy Penn published an article entited, "Drunk fights, hostile crowds and loving the Gayborhood: Secrets of ‘The Real World: Philadelphia,’ 10 years later.

Insider Information

The Real World Philadelphia almost never happened. On March 17, 2004, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that, Philadelphia proved a little too real for The Real World. After squabbling with local unions, the producers of the MTV series yesterday gave up on Philadelphia as the site of its 15th season...MTV's selection of Philadelphia was accompanied by unbridled civic rejoicing when it was announced Feb. 26. City leaders believed that The Real World, with its huge audience of 12-to-34 -year-olds, would boost the city's cool factor and help it retain recent college graduates. But within four days, Bunim/Murray had incurred the wrath of the unions by hiring a nonunion company to renovate the former Seamen's Church Institute in Old City, where the cast was to live."

The New York Times reported, "That Philadelphia's battered image would receive a lift from ''The Real World'' is a theme that has been sounded since Feb. 26, when it was announced that MTV producers had chosen the city. The Philadelphia Inquirer made it front-page news. City officials hoped the voyeuristic coverage of seven comely strangers thrown together in a hip pad would help Philadelphia retain more of the 51,000 students who graduate each year from local colleges and universities and tend to move away in throngs. (After MTV pulled out, one protester wrote to an online petition set up by The Philadelphia Daily News, ''Way to keep the brain drain flowing out of Philadelphia'')."

In late March 2004, the City of Philadelphia and MTV agreed to terms, and The Real World: Philadelphia was on once again after some initial bumps in the road.

Today, the Real World House serves as as the cool tech headquarters of Linode.

Additional Information

MTV Real World House (Corn Exchange National Bank & Trust Co.)
249 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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