MTV still looking to film 'Real World/Road Rules Challenge' in Rhode Island -- now targeting Middletown
By Reality TV World staff, 06/24/2003
Wow, if nothing else, those Bunim/Murray folks sure are persistent... if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again apparently. The Providence Journal is reporting today that after having been rebuffed by the ritzy neighbors of their proposed Newport, Rhode Island mansion, the Bunim/Murray producers now trying to get the necessary approvals to house and film the contestants on the same island as Newport, but in the neighboring town of Middletown (for non-locals, Rhode Island's Aquidneck Island is comprised of three towns, the more famous Newport as well as Middletown and Portsmouth).
According to the report, the Middletown Town Council will decide this afternoon whether to allow the show's 28 cast members will descend for a month on a $5.55 million estate overlooking the Sakonnet River. The 11-room, 5,858-square-foot estate was built in 1925 and features a long, tree-lined driveway off Indian Avenue. If approved, MTV would begin shooting on July 1 and be done by Aug. 1, according to Julie Pizzi, executive producer for All-Star Challenge Inc., a subsidiary of Bunim-Murray Productions.
Pizzi said the Indian Avenue property "is really unique" and that she wants to film in Rhode Island because "it's just so beautiful; the whole area is so pretty." But unlike the six previous seasons of the Challenge -- filmed on the move or at private resorts -- she's never had to deal with so much scrutiny. "Once again we are running into some problems because it's become so public," she said, alluding to reports of opposition from Indian Avenue residents. As for whether MTV will prevail, she said, "We're not sure yet, but it's looking like it might be a possibility." If MTV lands in Middletown, crews would follow the contestants around as they take in the area's tourist attractions and nightlife. The competitions will also be filmed away from the mansion. "We found locations all over Rhode Island," she said. According to Pitzi, the locations include sites in the nearby towns of Pawtucket, Exeter, Newport and Portsmouth.
But don't get too excited yet folks, this thing sounds far from decided -- once again potential neighbors are already voicing their complaints. Although, in a new twist that only lawyers or mercenaries could love, it's been revealed that Turner C. Scott, the local lawyer who represented the Newport neighbors objections just ten days ago, is now representing the out of state new owner of the Middletown mansion that MTV is planning on leasing! According to Scott, his client has been in contact with his new neighbors regarding plans for the house. His client, he said, "is satisfied they [MTV] will be able to conduct themselves with the appropriate decorum, and respect the privacy of his neighbors."