MTV Retooling 'Real World,' Planting Roommates' Exes in House

As the grandfather of reality TV approaches its 29th season, the network is retooling the format for the first time in franchise history.
"The Real World: Portland"

The Real World is switching things up for its upcoming 29th season on MTV.

The network announced Wednesday that the ratings-fatigued series will adopt a new format in its return to San Francisco, planting the ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends of the seven roommates in the house with them.

“We wanted to give our audience a fresh take on the series,” said MTV programming president Susanne Daniels. “We are excited about this season's twists and unexpected turns.”

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The move comes after declining ratings for the reality TV pioneer, while offshoots like The Challenge continue to thrive on the cable network.

"The ratings are a little soft on that show," Daniels told THR earlier in 2013. "Is it a new show, and what is that new show? What is the next evolution of Real World? That felt like breakthrough television when it started, much like Cops did. Those are the beginnings of brand new genres on TV."

Dubbed Real World: Ex-Plosion, the new season promises more complicated relationships as "loyalty is tested, tempers flare and romances sizzle and fizzle."

“We're incredibly excited to throw a new huge twist into The Real World's 29th season by introducing a fresh dynamic to the relationships in the house,” said executive producer Jonathan Murray, who created the series alongside the late Mary-Ellis Bunim. "The seven cast members have no idea that their exes will be moving in, which spurs drama, humor, excitement, unpredictability and many incredibly real situations that will resonate with our viewers."

The changes for The Real World come as the series moves back to San Francisco for the first time since 1994, when the landmark third season documented activist Pedro Zamora's struggle with AIDS.