MTV's 'Real World' Contract: You May Die, Be Humiliated And Suffer Nervous Breakdowns


Highlights (and lowlights) from the 30-page document the cast signs in order to appear in the series, include long distance phone charges, risk of losing limbs and contracting STDs.

It’s no surprise that reality stars are required to allow TV producers unrestricted, and often invasive, access to their lives. In a 30-page contract uncovered by the Village Voice, the public can now see just what MTV’s The Real World cast members sign on for. The results are not entirely unexpected, but entertaining none the less -- much like the show itself.

The lengthy document is considered a standard contract for all Real World participants and stipulates that those who sign on the dotted line “may be humiliated and explicitly portrayed ‘in a false light.’”

Housemates are also required to “grant the Producer blanket rights to your entire life story,” which they then have the right to “misrepresent.”

The entire document, which can be read in full on Village Voice, warrants close examination, but find a few of the highlights listed below.

• You may die, lose limbs, and suffer nervous breakdowns. (Stipulation 1)
• You may be humiliated and explicitly portrayed "in a false light." (12)
• Producers are under no obligation to conduct background checks on your fellow cast members. (7)
• Interacting with other cast members carries the risk of "non-consensual physical contact" and should you contract AIDS, etc. during such an interaction, MTV is not responsible. (7)
• You don't have STDs, but accept that other people on the show might. (18)
• You're not pregnant and you won't become pregnant before the show's done filming. If you do become pregnant, you'll tell the Producer immediately--and pregnancy is grounds for dismissal. (38)
• If you get kicked off the show, it will be filmed. (14)
• You can't change your physical appearance during filming, without the Producer's express permission. (26)
• You grant the Producer blanket rights to your life story. (49)
• The Producer can do pretty much anything they want with your life story, including misrepresent it. (49)
• Your email may be monitored during participation. (20b)
• You promise not to hide from MTV cameras in establishments where they can't film. (20a)
• You authorize the Producer to have total access to your school records, government forms, your credit history. (19)
• The production crew can show up at your personal house at any time to film and/or to take anything they want, as long as they return the objects once production has ended. (20a)
• Under ordinary circumstances, all of this would be considered a "serious" invasion of privacy. (11)
• For one year after the show's final episode airs, cast members are required to participate in all producer-determined press and forbidden from engaging in any media (radio, television, chat rooms, blogs) without the Producer's written permission. (9)
• The Producer holds the authorship and copyright to every photograph, email, website, sound or video recording, documented performance created in relation to the program, on every medium imaginable. (8)
• You're obligated to participate in a Reunion Special for up to five years after the show ends, you'll be paid $2500 for your involvement, and the Producer only has to give you 14 days notice. (50c)
• You're required to participate in book or home video projects for two years after the show ends, and you'll be paid $750.00 for each one. (50f)
• While you're on the show, you're responsible for all long-distance phone charges. (16a)