Will no production company ever learn?
Another election cycle, another “unscripted” series about politics. This one from Vice, the irreverent media giant run by youth culture mastermind Shane Smith. The newly formed production arm of the content company, Vice Studios, is developing a series “that will bring together 18-45 year-olds from all walks of life and political extremes to live in close quarters in Washington, DC.”
But wait, hasn’t that been done already?
Around this time last year, Fullscreen Media, another “global youth media company,” launched “House Divided,” a sort of “Real World” meets “Big Brother” hybrid that pitted young people from opposites sides of the aisle against one another just in time for the 2016 election. That series aired last fall. Fullscreen, like most streaming media services, doesn’t release viewership numbers, but there has not been an announcement for “House Divided: Midterms Edition.”
Vice’s swing at-bat sounds nearly identical.
“If you are passionate about your political beliefs and will go to any length (including appearing on ‘reality TV’) to get your voice heard, we want to hear from you,” read the casting form unearthed by the Hollywood Reporter. The form goes on to ask, “Why on earth would you want to go on a reality TV show in which you know you’re going to be forced to be around and react to people who are your ideological opposite?” But seriously why?
Perhaps the cast members of “House Divided,” which aired its two-hour finale two days before the 2016 presidential election, can shed some light on that.
“It wasn’t easy — in fact, it was frustrating,” cast member and Hillary Clinton supporter Cassidy Gard told People magazine last year. “Being confined and arguing for that long messes with your head. But it was great to stand up for what I believe in.”
Certainly copy cat reality shows aren’t anything new. How many nutty families, cupcake shops and athletes’ wives are sprinkled across cable channels? But politics, especially with Washington as a backdrop, always sounds more exciting (wait, does it?) than what ends up on screen. “The Real Housewives of Washington” burned hot and burned out after one season; that rumored peek into the life of lobbyists, “Wicked Politics,” never made it past the whisper campaign; and Andy Cohen’s dream show following Michelle Obama is just that, a dream.
A spokesman from Vice told the Hollywood Reporter that its version of “Politics Gone Wild” was still in the incubation stages and that a series might never make it to the light of day (way to manage expectations). But if things go well, this latest show could be filming at a tricked out rowhouse near you as early as the spring.