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Ritzy Newport neighbors protesting MTV's plans to film 'Real World/Road Rules Challenge' in Newport mansion


By Reality TV World staff, 06/11/2003 

Well, perhaps we spoke too soon when we compared the enthusiastic reaction that Newport, Rhode Island mayor Richard C. Sardella expressed upon discovering that MTV and Bunim/Mrray Productions planned to film the latest edition of their "The Real World/Road Rules Challenge" series in Newport with the lawsuit that local Chicago residents filed after discovering the Bumin/Murray planned to film their new sundicated "Starting Over" series in their ritzy Gold coast neighborhood. Apparently the location might be different, but the reaction of the local snobby would-be neighbors remains the same, as the Providence Journal is reporting that Newport neighbors are now mounting opposition to MTV's plans to film one of its popular reality programs at a Bellevue Avenue mansion later this month.

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As we reported this weekend, producers hoped to begin filming the series in a couple of weeks and were awaiting the City Council's approval of a special-use permit that the mayor planned to introduce at this month's council meeting. But now Turner Scott, lawyer for the Bellevue-Ochre Point Neighborhood Association, says he and residents will oppose MTV's plans at the the City Council meeting. "They are steadfastly against anything like that occurring in a residential district," Scott said.

Scott said he can't imagine why Newport would want to be associated with the show, which, like The Real World, would bring a large group of young people living together under one roof. "It's a party house," he said. He then continues to state that "I don't think that's the image Newport needs to portray and I especially don't think it's the image Newport needs to portray on Bellevue Avenue," Scott said. "Look at who the neighbors are: Salve Regina University, the Preservation Society of Newport County and the people who pay a great deal of money in taxes for the cache of living in Newport," he said. "This is not reality. This is not Bellevue Avenue."

Well, we wouldn't want to harm the "cache" of the area would we folks? After all, Salva Regina University and it's beautiful beachfront campus and 2000+ student campus are right next door. How can 28 mostly 20-something contestants possibly hope to fit in with the neighborhood? And why would a city that depends on tourism for a huge part of it's livelihood (although likely not the livelihood of the multi-millionaires living in the mansion estates on Bellevue Avenue) possibly want to get some free publicity that would (of all things) encourage tourism? Just because the Preservation Society runs expensive paid tours to many of those same local area mansions doesn't mean it's OK for MTV to visit for a month. Interesting (as Scott calls it) "residential district" they have there.

Mayor Sardella, apparently undeterred by the protest and hoping to pump up to $4,000,000 into the city's economy, still planned on proposing an ordinance establishing a permit for filming this evening. Although even if it passes, Scott questions whether MTV's proposal would violate an ordinance prohibiting more than five unrelated people from occupying a residential property. Wow, we wonder how many other rentals homes likely violate that ordinance during the summer season?

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