Politics can be boring. Vice, which has some experience in making boring topics fun, is in the very early stages of developing a reality show that will have people of all political stripes living in a group house in Washington, D.C.
“VICE Studios is casting for an experimental unscripted series that will bring together 18-45 year-olds from all walks of life and political extremes to live in close quarters in Washington, D.C.,” according to a casting form.
“If you are passionate about your political beliefs and will go to any length (including appearing on ‘reality TV’) to get your voice heard, we want to hear from you. Whether you have dreams of becoming a politician, or you think all politicians are crooks; whether you think it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six, or think that Obama really should have taken everyone’s guns away; or if you quite simply want to change the world and are bold enough to put your beliefs up against your political opposite in the most public setting imaginable, then we want to hear from you.”
A Vice spokesperson cautioned that it’s still extremely early in the process, so it’s possible the concept will never become even a pilot. But, if shot, the show will be filmed next spring in D.C., according to a listing on the casting website Backstage.
The show concept sounds a bit like a politics-themed version of The Real World, and the 23rd season of The Real World, shot in D.C. in 2009, might provide something of a template. Because D.C. so infrequently serves as a setting for TV shows, The Real World taping become something of a low-key fascination around town, with cast “spottings” popping up on local blogs. (This reporter participated in the fandom.)
In the form, prospective castmembers for the Vice Studios project are asked about their political leanings, about one change they’d make to improve the American political system, and about their personality traits. They’re also asked: “Why on earth would you want to go on a reality TV show in which you know you’re going to be forced to be around and react to people who are your ideological opposite?”
Vice of course has covered politics and political culture in various forms. The millennial-targeted network recently drew plaudits for an episode of its nightly HBO show, Vice News Tonight, that delved deeply into the mid-August conflagration in Charlottesville that left one person dead. The video has been viewed nearly 6 million times on YouTube.