Could “The Real World: Brooklyn” actually be “The Real World: Carroll Gardens”?
One week after the network’s reality show announced that it would tape its 21st season in Brooklyn this summer — an announcement that fueled speculation that its seven housemates could inhabit neighborhoods from Williamsburg to Coney Island — one Gardens property owner said he has the inside track on snatching the show’s players from hipper neighborhoods.
The owner of a gorgeous, six-story, five-unit, gut-renovated brick rowhouse on Third Place said MTV is negotiating to rent the whole building — which sits on a block that Time Out New York once called one of the 25 best in New York.
“We entered into negotiations,” the property owner said. “We finalized some negotiations at least six weeks ago. My understanding was that MTV did approve the location, but we’re still in negotiations.”
The elevator building’s apartments have new appliances, mahogany floors, a cool, hip, 1970s vibe — and five units that range from $1 million to more than $2 million.
The Third Place building owner’s claim is counter to earlier reports that MTV was eyeing other areas. The Brooklyn Paper reported exclusively last week that producers had negotiated with owners of the Bell Tel lofts on Willoughby Street in Downtown.
“Real World” Executive Producer Jim Johnston said he wants his cast and crew “to be close to Manhattan” and confirmed they were looking in Carroll Gardens, but said no lease had been signed yet.
“Real estate these days, renting, it’s all gray until you lock something in,” Johnston said.
An MTV spokeswoman said there were no updates from last week’s startling news release.
Filming could start as early as July, and MTV producers typically spend two months retrofitting the house before beginning the four-month shoot.
The show will air in early 2009 and Johnston said he picked Brooklyn for its “cachet” and “vibrancy.”
“Lately, Brooklyn has appeared to me as this vibrant, diverse place,” he said. “It’s just got a cache right now. It’s exciting.”
Producers say the current incarnation of “The Real World” would follow its inhabitants’ personal lives instead of having them work together on one project. Housemates in the Brooklyn version will also follow their own career paths in diverse industries, Johnston said.
But veteran “Real World” cast member Kevin Powell, now a Democratic congressional candidate in Fort Greene, said he hopes for a return of the show’s glory days.
“I miss the days when those shows were dealing with race and gender — I hope that’s what we’ll get this time,” said Powell. “Until they do, I’m going to be one of those people who doesn’t watch reality TV.”
MTV launched the modern reality television genre in 1992 by filming seven twentysomethings in Manhattan, and allowing viewers to watch as their personal and professional lives unfolded on screen.