The Real World is a reality television program on MTV originally produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray. First broadcast in 1992, the show, which was inspired by the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family, is the longest-running program in MTV history and one of the longest-running reality series in history, credited with launching the modern reality TV genre.
The series was hailed in its early years for depicting issues of contemporary young-adulthood relevant to its core audience, such as sex, prejudice, religion, abortion, illness, sexuality, AIDS, death, politics and substance abuse, but later garnered a reputation as a showcase for immature and irresponsible behavior.
Following Bunim’s death from breast cancer in 2004, Bunim/Murray Productions continues to produce the program. The 28th and most recent season, set in Portland, Oregon, premiered on March 27, 2013, and ended its first run on June 12, 2013. An upcoming 29th season, set in San Francisco, California, is currently in production, and is expected to air in 2014.
The series has generated two notable spin-offs, both broadcast by MTV: Road Rules, which lasted for 14 seasons, and the reality game show The Challenge, which has run for over 20 seasons since 1998. The Challenge is mostly cast-contestant dependent on both The Real World and Road Rules, as it combines contestants from various seasons of both shows. Coordinating the series with its spin-off, MTV alternates between airing seasons of The Real World and The Challenge and ends out seasons of both shows by showing previews for the upcoming season of the other.