Producers pull the plug on filming 'Real World/Road Rules Challenge' in Rhode Island... again
By Reality TV World staff, 06/30/2003
The Newport Daily News is reporting that Bunim/Murray Productions has abandoned its second attempt to use a Rhode Island estate for taping of its "Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet" show.
Middletown Town Council President William J. Flynn announced Friday afternoon that the production company had withdrawn its amusement license request for the Middletown estate it was hoping to film in, ending a week of controversy about the project. Flynn said MTV withdrew its application because of mounting costs, a need to begin filming and the uncertain legal status of the project The withdrawal came after Newport County Superior Court Judge Patricia A. Hurst had issued a temporary restraining order banning the show from using the proposed 11-room Middletown estate for filming or any work related to its production. Hurst said the commercial enterprise would present a "nuisance" to the quiet, exclusive neighborhood. The show, featuring 28 former cast members from MTV's "Real World" and "Road Rules" programs, was slated for taping from July 1 to 28.
The restraining order would have lasted until at least July 8, when a full hearing was scheduled to be held in Newport County Superior Court. But since that would have caused significant delays to the production schedule with no guarantee of a favorable ruling coming out of the hearing, Bunim/Murray withdrew its amusement license request, canceling the need for a hearing.
After Friday afternoon's brief council meeting, Flynn and several other local leaders said the entire situation was "unfortunate." Flynn said a $100,000 contribution to a local bird sanctuary and the expected local taxes dollars for the town would be missed. "I'm sorry to see them go," Flynn said. "What I don't think people understand is that was actually going to put food on a lot of people's tables." Julie Pizzi, the show's co-producer who had been championing the attempt to bring the program to her home state, said she would not comment on the matter. An MTV spokeswoman based in New York City said the program was "disappointed" about not coming to the area and was looking at other out-of-state alternatives as sites to film.