Gary Susman
March 17, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

There’s no brotherly love lost between the city of Philadelphia and the producers of MTV’s ”The Real World.” Just three weeks before Bunim-Murray Productions was to start filming the show’s 15th season there, the producers are leaving town, issuing a statement saying: ”After considerable evaluation, we are disappointed to announce that Bunim-Murray has decided not to shoot ‘The Real World’ in Philadelphia. The reason speaks for itself.” That reason, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that the ”Real World” team didn’t show any love to the Brotherhood of Teamsters, or to any other labor unions.

The trouble began when Bunim-Murray hired a nonunion contractor to renovate the house in the historic Old City area where the seven castmates were to live. Picketers have been protesting outside the house for nearly three weeks. Bunim-Murray had shot all the previous seasons of ”Real World” without union workers, even in such labor strongholds as New York, Boston, and Chicago. But in Philadelphia, unions are accustomed to getting work on TV and film productions, including CBS shows ”Cold Case” and ”Hack” and such M. Night Shyamalan films as the upcoming ”The Village.” ”Every other production company comes in, sits down and bargains,” local Teamsters vice president Tony Frasco told the Inquirer. ”The unions are not out to gouge anybody, but this is a union town.” Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, said: ”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?”

This season of ”Real World” had already been jinxed in pre-production, with producers tossing the initial septet of housemates and picking a fresh cast. There’s no word on what city the show will move to, or whether the season will still be ready to air in September, as scheduled.

You May Like