VH1 has announced that it has picked up The Surreal Life, formerly of The WB network, for a third edition to be broadcast later this summer.
Despite the fact the that recently completed second edition of the series broke ratings records at The WB, the network was apparently not comfortable with the reality series' lack of a gameplay element, and as a result passed on its option for a third installment of the popular D-list celebrity series -- creating an opportunity for VH1, which has recently repositioned itself as more of a general pop culture channel, to jump in and acquire the series.
“We’ve been fans of The Surreal Life since the first episode and couldn’t be more thrilled that the series is coming to VH1,” said Brian Graden, President, Entertainment, MTV/VH1. “The Surreal Life has already proven to have all the unique elements of a winning pop culture experiment - great storytelling with iconic personalities and lots of surprises. The series fits perfectly into the VH1 line-up.”
“Cris and I are ecstatic about our new home at VH1. Our show is a reality sitcom that celebrates celebrity and Brian Graden has expressed his desire to back our creative vision.” stated series producer Mark Cronin in a VH1-issued statement.
In interview with Daily Variety. Cronin, who produces the series along with Cris Abrego, elaborated further on his "creative differences" comment. "The WB has been great to us, but the truth is they were always concerned that the show didn't have a winner or something that built to a final moment," Cronin told the paper. "The truth is the show is a little bit more like The Osbournes -- we cast as if it were a sitcom so the characters bond. Making it more of a competition doesn't work in that respect."
Incorporating many of the same elements as the long-running The Real World series that's been so popular on VH1's MTV sister network, The Surreal Life simply chronicles the lives and adventures of six unlikely D-list celebrities, who live together in a Hollywood mansion for an extended period and perform numerous outrageous producer-arranged activities. The first season of The Surreal Life featured such incredible pairings as Gabrielle Carteris, M.C. Hammer, Vince Neil, Corey Feldman, Emmanuel Lewis, Jeri Manthey and Brande Roderick; while the second season featured Traci Bingham, Ron Jeremy, Tammy Faye Baker, Trishelle Cannatella, Erik Estrada and Vanilla Ice. Casting for the third season is underway.
As a result of the show's new VH1 home, Cronin said the third season of Surreal Life (which is still being cast) will revolve around a music-centric house and feature musicians from genres ranging from rap to heavy metal to country. Additionally, rather than just being just six episodes in length like the first two editions, VH1's new edition will be ten episodes long.