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The Real World and MTV Return to San Diego for Season 26

Revisit to region brings up past controversy


Location of San Diego house for Real World 2011
Google Maps

With the San Diego weather, the beaches and bikinis, it seems a given that they’d return.You really can’t fault the film crew for wanting to return. I don’t say that because police blotter is fodder for ratings - the show gets enough attention with their antics that they’d prefer police weren’t involved.

It’ll be The Real World’s 26th season, and it was their 14th season when they were last in America’s Finest City. And, the third city they’ve been to in California (they were in Los Angeles in 1993 and San Francisco in 1994). The show previously had two cities which had return visits for different seasons – those were New Orleans and Las Vegas. San Diego is the third on that short list.

I remember being downtown when MTV’s The Real World cast happened to be walking by with their film crew. A few days later, police raided the Real World house. On November 14, 2003, some of the cast members had gone to a club in the Gaslamp Quarter, where they met an unnamed 22-year-old woman. She had been drinking, and that was, as she told police, the only thing she remembered after waking up in the guest bathroom of the Real World house. Fingers pointed to an acquaintance of Real World cast member Randy Barr, referred to as 'Justin' in the complaint. According to Jamie Chung (Real World cast), MTV staff said that the young woman was found naked on the bathroom floor. Reports came out that MTV show producers and lawyers weren’t letting police properly investigate and search the bedrooms, or review footage that they shot. That footage didn’t include the alleged rape, as it occurred in the bathroom – one of the few places in the house MTV doesn’t allow filming. San Diego Police made no arrests, and the San Diego County District Attorney's office closed the case after concluding that there was not enough evidence to warrant charges.

That incident wasn’t the first with the Real World cast in San Diego. They previously had an issue when cast member Robin Hibbard got arrested for a bar fight with a Marine. This led from her having a cool room on the waterfront (the former Blue Crab Restaurant, located at 4922 North Harbor Drive) – to her having a room at Las Colinas jail.

The cast members of the show are always given a job. The first crew worked at a yacht company at the Embarcadero near the Broadway Pier on Harbor Drive. They did a lot of drinking at Grand and Garnet in Pacific Beach, most often at the PB Bar and Grill (860 Garnet Avenue). They also did their share of partying in the Gaslamp. I’m guessing cast members of Real World don’t have to wait in the long line at On Broadway – the spot where in the previous San Diego season, the girls hooked up with some shady guys.

Downtown is also where cast member Brad Fiorenza spent the night in a drunk tank, and had to walk from the San Diego County Jail (1173 Front Street; hopefully you aren’t interested), all the way back to his house barefoot, about at least five miles. He didn’t have any money for a cab, and the rules state the camera crew can’t intervene.

The house they lived at had a sand volleyball court, as well as a basketball court. The new San Diego house – 5212 Chelsea Street – has a tennis court on the roof, the prerequisite pool, sauna, and spa, as well as eight bedrooms. And yes, it’s on the beach. (see picture)

No word on who the current cast members will be, but there is one update you may not have heard from the last San Diego cast. Frankie Abernathy, who was from Kansas City and had left the house early after being homesick, and not getting along with a few members of the cast. It probably didn’t help filming on boats in San Diego, since she had a phobia of boats. Abernathy lost her battle with cystic fibrosis in 2007.