MTV to launch "Occupy Wall Street" reality TV show

Make way for The Real World, Zuccotti Park. MTV television will premiere "True Life: I’m Occupying Wall Street" on Saturday, Nov. 5, according to NYT media writer Brian Stelter.

Word spread of TV pilot plans after this casting call appeared on Craigslist. Perhaps the "Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street" tumblog gave execs ideas? A photo from that site is above.

A Boing Boing commenter points us to a standard-issue Real World talent contract, a good reminder that whatever ends up in the show may or may not be "Real" at all.


    1. I don’t agree. In any given crowd above a certain size, there are always a few people with fringe beliefs and/or very poor people skills. A significantly biased Producer can easily highlight those people to discredit the entire crowd. 

      Not saying that MTV would necessarily do that, but just pointing out that “could only help” is a bit naive. 

    2. The problem is that people who want to be on TV are the ones who will be on such a show. It would naturally be biased towards showing people who have less substance and more attention-whoring. Anyone worth watching in the Occupy Movement is actually doing something other than trying to be a reality TV star.

      1. Exactly. i’d be concerned if i had watched MTV at any point in the past 20 years.

        Okay, Rob and Big, but aside from that… MTV is no Rolling Stone.

  1. They need a casting call?  Aren’t there already people down there?

    Oh, wait, I think I see what’s going on.  Maybe Jersey Shore: Zucotti Park was a no go?  Is that it?

  2. this is how the Conspiracy does it: your deepest dream of freedom is just a lifestyle event, to be turned into a spectacle and sold back to you. they will try to neuter your dreams of freedom by fitting them into their capitalist media structure. coming up: anticapitalist protests brought to you by citibank!

     this is what they did with the hippies. turn it into a fashion movement. soon kids in peoria will be buying occupy wall street t-shirts made in china for urban outfitters.

    1. soon kids in peoria will be buying occupy wall street t-shirts made in china for urban outfitters.

      Oh, the horror…

      As soon as I saw this, I knew people would be nipping at the bit to say how this would “finally” be the downfall of the OWS movement.  Pretty much any excuse seems to be a good excuse for the naysayers.

      In reality, this is just another good sign that the movement is spreading.  Is this Viacom attempting to co-opt OWS?  Sure, why not?

      But, keep in mind they also own The Daily Show with Jon Stewart who has a fairly left-leaning voice within their corporatist structure.

      What I’d like to see happen is for people at OWS to surround the “real world” with their own cameras and show how the producers coach and alter reality.  This just might be a great experiment to show how corporatists skew reality to manufacture consent and/or derision.

      Will this show deride OWS and “make it look bad”… who gives a shit?  That’s what the mainstream media did from the very beginning with all their muscle when they were’t busy outright ignoring the movement in the first place.

      And, we did it without them – and we’ll do it again.

      We will not only survive this MTV excursion into our realm, we will utilize it.

      anticapitalist protests brought to you by citibank!

      The fact that you label these protests as purely “anticapitalist” says much more about you than it does the protests.

  3. True Life is an episodic show. Every episode is about two or three people in their teens or twenties with some kind of interesting experience, often quite serious, like “True Life: My Parent is in Prison” or “True Life: I’m Addicted to Crystal Meth” etc.  In my opinion it is an excellent series, it is not the stereotype of “MTV reality” that people might be thinking who aren’t familiar with it. It is night and day compared to Jersey Shore or Real World.

  4. Well what a bunch of Negative Nancies!

    Anyone with a brain and a modicum of talent can apply and spread the OWS message to the MTV audience. At least anyone with a brain smart enough to pretend s/he doesn’t have one for the cameras.

    Occupy the casting call!

    1. Anyone with a brain and a modicum of talent can apply and spread the OWS message to the MTV audience.

      The problem is that anyone with a brain and a modicum of talent probably has better aspirations in life than becoming a reality TV star on a has-been cable channel that used to show music videos.

  5. An intelligent and nuanced discussion about the protests does not make good television, so I fully expect MTV to fuck it up.

  6. I am not really having a problem bailing myself out as a graduate. I work at a pretty solid job and make my loan payments every month.
    I guess I should have just partied every night and took a bs major then I could have just complained to the Government to bail me out.
    Too bad I am not an idiot. Darn

      1.  I bet she’s cuter than you.

        Probably true, though she looks like she could be Eddie Izzard’s daughter.

    1. “I am not really having a problem bailing myself out as a graduate. I
      work at a pretty solid job and make my loan payments every month.
      I guess I should have just partied every night and took a bs major then I
      could have just complained to the Government to bail me out.
      Too bad I am not an idiot. Darn”

      You make a lot of assumptions about these people.  You couldn’t possibly know what their situations are, or that anything you just said about yourself has any relevance or comparability to their current economic and political standing.  You may have been too hasty with that last statement.

  7. Wow, I was really worried that the movement would be marginalized – thank goodness we have hot chicks and MTV to keep the momentum up!

  8. These signs asking for student loan forgiveness really bother me too.  I agree, the cost of education *can* be astronomical, and a lot of that is driven by government loans being given relatively freely.  My issue comes with the idea of entering into a loan contract knowingly and deciding that you shouldn’t be obligated to repay it, because you didn’t get the big fat paycheck right out of school that you thought you would (because They told you you were going to).  Work through school, wait on your American Dream for a bit, don’t buy a house right away and add to your debt pile, take the work you can get, and get out of the hole before you move on. A degree (or two) doesn’t mean you’re above a job where you actually have to work.  For my -entirely anecdotal- evidence, I went to a highly-ranked (against private schools, as well) public (!) university, got my undergrad and Master’s degrees, worked all through it, paid what I could as I could while in school, and made paying the rest off a priority once I graduated. I finished paying back my student loans after a year and a half out of school (last summer), I’ve avoided credit debt living below my means to  get it all done, and now I’m ready to get my shiz together and pursue other things.  If we’re going to ask Wall Street to be made accountable (and we should), we should be willing to be accountable for our obligations, as well.

    My rant may be unorganized, and so, my apologies, but…it is a rant.

    1. You’re making quite a few assumptions here. Chiefly about people “knowingly” entering a contract. Student loans don’t typically operate that way. Usually  you apply for financial aid from your college and in the process sign something called a permisiary note. This gives your school permission to take out loans in your name without any involvement from you. You’re then issued a financial aid package that mixes loans, government grants, and scholarships from the college itself. You can contest the package and angle for a better one, but this typically leads to more rather than fewer loans. In most cases you don’t (or cannot) even see the terms of the loans you’ve been issued until after you graduate, and each semesters loan is a separate loan often from a different institution. The terms are often preditory, and the only method for clearing things up has traditionally been consolidation. Consolidation has become largely impossible for recent graduates as credit has become increasingly hard to come by since 2008.

      Like wise its rather hard to “do the work you can” when there is no work for you to do. The unemployment situation has disproportionately effected the young and recently graduated. Like wise these problems have been effecting the young and recently graduated for a bit longer than most other groups. I’ve been struggling to find and maintain employment since before I graduated in 2006. So nearly 6 years of no progress and no savings. The students loans, I did not want and attempted to avoid (but could not do with out) are a large contributor to that. I’ve managed to stay current, but its difficult when even the “good” jobs I’ve gotten pay so little.

      1. I am not making assumptions.  I just got though this system recently and mentioned that my experience is anecdotal. 
        Applying for government student loans through FAFSA, you still apply for financial aid, and you are given the opportunity to accept or reject different components of that aid, be they grants, loans, subsidized loans, from the school, from the government, and the like. They are mixed only to the extent that you decide to mix them, and they are still their own discrete entities. You absolutely are given the opportunity to be aware of the terms under which you are accepting them, as well as the possibility of rates changing upon finishing school. I do not disagree that they are predatory to a degree, but so many students accept them without screening the terms, and I feel the onus is on them to educate themselves. Any credible school will have advisers that can help wade through the intricacies of the process, if you choose to utilize them.  I consolidated my last few loans just last year (again, anecdotal), with little to no issue before paying them off as a whole.”Working where you can” includes taking those jobs that don’t apply to your degree (during school included). I have had so many classmates upset about the fact that they weren’t able to find work applicable to their degree right out of school; there is work to be had, and if you’re over-qualified to work retail or food service (which I did prior to finding the job I’m at now), so be it.  I still lived below my means and made progress, and would be now if I hadn’t been in the right place at the right time.  There were so many deferment options given to me with my gov’t loans that I could have avoided making any payments for the year+ that it took for me to find degree-applicable work.  

        I am not saying it is easy, I am not saying that creditors aren’t trying to get you in a deeper hole than you ought to be, I’m saying that *if* you decide to take on loans of any kind, you should be prepared to pay them back.  

        The issue that I have isn’t that it’s hard to find work; it is, but that doesn’t mean you should expect your obligations that you entered into to be wiped clean by the government. 

        1. That’s all rather sort of like saying that if one goes to a loanshark, then one knowingly asks for whatever indecent-criminal behavior the loanshark does toward one. The for-profit college loan industry doesn’t have a lot of competition in the US. Screening the process or having it interpreted for you doesn’t change one iota of the enormously unfair advantages that the lendors enjoy in the transaction. So because of this, no, I don’t feel any moral obligation to repay those loans, nor am I persuaded by any Horatio Algeresque stories of people who have repaid theirs. I’ll simply repay them because the banks and gvt. can leverage massive power in ruining my life if I don’t. That’s coercive at best, and I think this is why many folks feel little or no moral obligations to repay.

          Turned another way, when will Goldman Sachs et al. repay the tax money they took from me, largely by Presidential fiat? They’re not going to, so why are you getting all contractual-legalistic when talking about the little guy’s responsibility to the 1%? Turn your critiques the other way, and perhaps we can have a more thoughtful conversation about the responsibilities owed by all parties in this sad affair.

  9. Do we really need to invoke organized corporate scheming to poison OWS when this seems more like simple opportunistic parasitism? Either way the body is damaged, but…

  10. As mentioned above True Life is a documentary series with a one topic per episode format. Its actually the most highly respected (and perhaps at this point only respected) show MTV has ever done. Even the fluffy or lascivious topics they cover tend to honestly, interestingly, and respectfully covered. So I think there’s little reason to worry that MTV will be bastardizing or co-opting the Occupy protests. Most likely they’ll pick 3 people with competing view points and cover their background and involvement. Well likely see a hardline radical, and “average” American, and a “level headed” but highly political organizer. That’s how they tend to break things down.

    Its also unlikely that they’ll use anything close to that Real World contract. Its one episode not a series and its being produced by a completely different production company than RW. If memory serves True Life used a standard release form of the type used by almost every documentary and news crew in the past. Its likely they still use such a form, and will do so here.

  11. I wonder what percent of ‘the 99%’ are like me, a guy who worked all he could in college to take out the fewest loans possible, paid those loans and their exorbitant interest on time, then spent a good deal of my adult working life NOT getting into debt, NOT running up credit cards or buying a house that I couldn’t afford, always driving a used car, SAVING money for retirement, etc.  In short, one of the people who did the right financial things but is paying mightily and who will (along with my children) still have to pay for the rest of the louts who bought into the debt-ridden BS ‘American Dream” and expect a bailout.  Why should I continue to pay either directly or though the sorry economic climate I live in for the rest of you? (wealthy bankers included).

     I have not missed a mortgage payment in 15 years in spite of illness and layoffs, yet I cannot qualify for a gov’t or bank based mortgage reduction, I am told my payment record and credit is TOO GOOD to get any help.  And for some perspective, I am not a wealthy man, for my wife and 2 kids my income this year will be just above the federal poverty guidelines.  If I could afford health insurance (I don’t have it) it would be 15k/year.  I am one of the 99%, but I don’t feel like helping the rest of you any more…   where is my student loans forgiveness, my mortgage reduction, my bailout?  I guess I will continue to help myself, and I think a lot of the OWS people should consider doing the same.

    1. If I could afford health insurance (I don’t have it) it would be 15k/year.  I am one of the 99%, but I don’t feel like helping the rest of you any more…

      I could say the same about you, because as someone who does have medical insurance I’ll be one of the folks helping to pay your bills if you end up in the E.R. with a serious condition your borderline-poverty family can’t afford to pay for. If I was feeling especially accusatory I could point out that you could have spent the last 15 years paying for medical insurance instead of buying a home, as I have been. But at the end of the day it’s hard for me to get mad at the choices you made because any hard-working middle class person shouldn’t have to choose between having a home and having medical insurance. Nor should they have to spend decades paying off student debt. If these problems are commonplace, then there’s something wrong with our current system.

      The 99% have a choice: we can spend all our energy attacking each other or we can try to make some meaningful changes to the power structure that affects us all. I vote for the latter.

    2. So I guess that if you become ill or disabled and start missing mortgage payments or defaulting on other obligations, you won’t mind if the rest of us just shove you off the back of the boat and watch you sink.

      1. No, he’s not suggesting that we toss all the weak overboard. You response is a bit smart-assy, try and hear what he’s saying.
        There are people I think we should help in this country. But we do have to set priorities, as government is pretty inefficient and we don’t have infinite resources.On any prioritized list of people who should get government support, white college educated Americans in their mid-twenties should be pretty close to the bottom.If you want to help out society, the first thing you can do is not be a drag on it. In other words, pull your own weight. If for some (real) reason you cannot, that’s a different story. 

        1. I don’t think the response to that was smart-assy at all.  DJBudSonic’s original comment was bitter and short sighted.  Essentially it drew the line at “I’m a beacon of responsibility, and I haven’t received any help.  Therefore, you shouldn’t either.  Suck it up and put up with it, because that’s what I decided to do.”

          I don’t doubt his story, and he probably is very responsible with his payments.  But the attitude toward others in his statement is not helpful.  To anyone.  Not to himself, his family, or his community.  If he feels that he’s lived in shit, and thinks that means others deserve to live in shit… how is that constructive?  How does that lead to anything better?  Instead it sounds like someone who wants to drag others down to his level.

          1. Did we read the same post?
             He’s saying that he hates the corporate influence that screws up government, and therefore he supports the OWS movement. He also says that he’s making the sacrifices necessary to pay his debts. This constitutes “living in shit”? Seriously?

        2. The US government does have seemingly infinite resources when pursuing ruinously expensive foreign wars, bailing out Wall Street, etc.: then, the Masters of the Universe Politickall and Economickall simply open up their Bag of Holding, and value pours forth in a seemingly limitless spate. When it comes to social justice and human rights issues, then the US government is just too darn broke to care.

          Haven’t economists put to bed the idea that economies are real, that all the money actually represents tangible goods? Money doesn’t represent those things: and for the past few hundred years, economies have become increasingly virtual. So if your argument is that our government and society can pay billions to the military and 1%, but zero to the rest of the 99%, then that’s an outright lie. Money does grow on trees: value is what we as a society choose to create and call valuable. Little to none of it is ultimately real, and being asked to pretend that it is is incredibly sickening.

        3. You response is a bit smart-assy, try and hear what he’s saying.

          I heard exactly what he’s saying.  He’s saying that because fortune has never burdened him with circumstances that he can’t survive, that makes him better than people who aren’t so lucky.  People get cancer.  Life savings get wiped out by crooked companies going belly-up.  Shit happens.  The everybody but me is having trouble because they’re lazy and I’m a thrifty hard-worker meme is a steaming pile of self-congratulatory inaccuracy.

          And I’d also like to point out that I had to bust open my IRA to pay for food, rent and health care, I don’t have an item of clothing (other than my gift BB hoodie) that’s under five years old, and I ate oatmeal two meals a day for several years so that I could pull myself out of debt. That makes me MORE sympathetic to other people’s financial woes, not less.

          1. Sigh. Read the post again. He sounded pretty level headed, except on the subject of corporate influence in politics. You seem to be the one projecting here.  Isn’t it possible that he was implying that those who can should pay off their debts, even if it’s hard? Why do you feel the need to put words in his mouth?

          2. I re-read it several times, and my interpretation is obviously different than yours. He can clarify it if he wants.

          3. I do believe that anyone that truly pulled themselves out debt, is sympathetic to another’s financial woes. I also believe the majority of those who are not sympathetic, did NOT pull themselves out without help from an external source. 

            I believe this because I find it hard to fathom that we would not identify with a pain or struggle, seen in another, that we ourselves have experienced. It just goes against a basic of human nature seen in just about every social norm the world over. 

            That’s not to say that you cant disagree with the idea of forgiving student debt. Its to say that a person who has experienced it first hand would not belittle another for it.

  12. This is total corporate BULLSHIT.  The decisions at MTV are made by the 1 percent!  Hopefully the protesters will not cooperate with these tools…

  13. I’ll watch MTV again when they have Music Videos again.

    Apart from that, I think that anything that they do is pretty much corporatist bullshit.

    If I was OccupyWallStreet I’d fire up the law suits to stop them for coming near the OWS name and/or the Occupy <anything> with a fuckin’ barge pole.

  14. Disclaimer: I have worked at a job paying taxes since I was 15, I am a college graduate, I do have health insurance, I do have a job that pays more than the poverty level. I have 2 kids and am married.

    That being said, I don’t buy the student loan bailout. I’m still working on paying off my student loans. They have reasonble rates and forgiving deferments for them. My wife was injured in a car accident and out of work for 8 mos, we were able to get a deferment on our student loans during that time. However that does not make me against Occupy Wall St. I have actually tried to assist the local Occupy movement as much as I can. I don’t think it boils down to bullshit like loan bailouts or Socialism or any of the other “fringe” ideas that come up around it. The main crux of the movement is to get the big money out of government, give the working people their say again. It’s not fair to ANYONE that mutlinational multibillion dollar corporations get more say in the government than I do. It’s not fair that banks lend money to people that can’t really afford it and then gambled that money away on derivatives that broke the economies back (of course you shouldn’t get a loan if you can’t afford it, but someone dangles the American dream under your nose….) It’s not fair that decent healthcare is not affordable, and it is not I pay around $600 dollars a month for Health, Dental, and Vision for my family and all we ever do is go to the DR. once a year, get our teeth cleaned every 6mos and get our vision checked.. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that the Occupy movement is about anything other than what I have noted above. Wealth redistribution, anticapitalism, debt forgiveness sure there are people on the fringe talking about those things, there are always people on the fringe.. If you can’t see that our country is FUCKED up from corporate and political greed then you need to turn off the TV and start thinking for yourself. Oh yea.Fuck you MTV 

  15. eesh. If student loan repayment seriously sucked, to the point where the basic necessities of food, shelter, and medicine were sacrificed, why would you wish that experience on others? Because you suffered, everyone else need also suffer? What a rough way to validate your toil. That’s just an incredibly unsympathetic way to be.

  16. How long is this going to go on.  Don’t get me wrong — taking to the streets is great, now is the time to work on replacing the corrupt leaders. invites voters to pledge to elect only those who serve our interests and not those of the corporations.  Not only that, but there’s a web platform for candidates to get elected without corporate money.  Check it out.

  17. Whoops. I’m an idiot. I though he was responding to Jason King’s post. It would help if I actually, like, read the “in reply to” part. My apologies. I officially declare myself Forbidden To Post Until I Learn To Pay Attention. Seriously, I’m sorry. Carry on.

  18. No one promised you a job after college. No one promised you a good economy. No one promised you some shady mo-fos in the financial world wouldn’t play fast and loose and screw the pooch. You were promised an education and, presumably, you got one. Many people are paying off, and have paid off, student loans. If yours is forgiven, does everyone else get a rebate? And how far back does that rebate extend? That said, and in light of this crappy unemployment figure, some kind of reduction in the rate or extension of payment schedule should be made available. That seems fair. The public already ponies up for free primary and secondary education. It shouldn’t have to cover your decision to go to college. You know, whomever you are.

    1. There are several ways one could interpret the phrase “Bail out Students.” Your proposal is one of them.

      I also think we can all agree that it’s a good thing if most college graduates are able to pay off their loans in a timely matter. For a variety of reasons (including skyrocketing tuition) this is a much more difficult task today than it was a generation ago.

      1. According to CNBC “Sallie Mae sold more than $3 billion worth of student loan-backed securities in the first half of this year” Wonder if those could be resold on the secondary market in hopes that a hedge fund…oh, nevermind.

    2. “No one promised you a job after college”

      Maybe not in exactly those words, but this is what most students entering college believe – that you’re guaranteed to not have to work a minimum wage job anymore once you have a degree. It’s not like teachers and parents try to dispel this rumor – they encourage students to go to college so they can make something of themselves.

      I don’t support forgiving student loans (some leniency as you suggest is definitely in order, however), but you can’t seriously argue that students should have known better than to go to college. That’s ridiculous.

      When I entered college (in 2004), the economy was doing pretty well and all indications were that no one my age – especially those of us who went to elite private universities – would have trouble getting a job out of college. I went to grad school instead, however, and watched the economy crash in 2008 – thankful that I was in grad school instead of looking for a job. Most of my friends who didn’t go to grad school had a lot of trouble finding a job, some not getting anything for years after graduation. Several still don’t have jobs – including me, now.

      After finishing grad school the economy still sucked, and I’m sitting around unable to get even minimum-wage work with a science BS and MS. Turns out that if I had gotten a job before the economy crashed instead of going to grad school, I’d probably be in a much better position. But this is totally backwards, and frankly it’s bullshit.

      It’s not our fault, but we’re being punished for it while those whose fault it is got multimillion dollar bonuses. We will never recover – a setback like this means I will never advance as far in my career as I would have in a good economy, I will never make as much money as I would have, etc. My entire life has been screwed over for bullshit reasons beyond my control.

      Is it too much to ask for at least a token effort at setting things right for people like me?

      1. 1. The line: “…shouldn’t have to cover your decision to go to college” wasn’t meant to be read as you did. I meant that while primary and secondary education are mandatory and free, college isn’t. Didn’t mean ‘you should have known better.’ My bad.

        2. You’re pretty young to think your entire life is screwed. Things have fallen short of expectations, but the economy will recover – that is a certainty – and you’ll be served well by your education. Likely in a way you never anticipated.

      2. We will never recover – a setback like this means I will never advance as far in my career as I would have in a good economy, I will never make as much money as I would have, etc. My entire life has been screwed over for bullshit reasons beyond my control.

        Is it too much to ask for at least a token effort at setting things right for people like me?

        Well, keep in mind, Chris, that “people like you” aren’t the only victims of this.  There’s no shortage of people who worked their asses off, saved for decades, and now as they approach retirement age are finding their nest eggs vanished and pensions robbed as a direct result of the same economic malfeasance that screwed your generation’s job market.

        Some of those older folks might think that you guys at least have your youth and your health, and you’re apt to land on your feet sooner or later.  An entire generation of young, energetic, well-educated but underemployed people could really roll up their sleeves and make some serious shit happen.  It’s happening right now.

        I guess my point is that it’s a bit counterproductive to whine “What happened to my glittering opportunities?”  A variant of that “looking out for #1” mindset led us to this miserable pass in the first place.  I’m sure that you, yourself, aren’t a self-absorbed whiner, nor are most of the people involved in the OWS movement.  But the last thing you want to do is allow that misperception to take hold.

  19. Fellow Citizen as we move into the rough and tumble of the campaign year ahead, politicians need to drop what we have lived by over the last 50 yrs and look at solutions creatively, without boundaries. Please take a min out of your Facebook, Twitter or Blog time and Post a Gripe or Solution real-time at

  20. True Life and Real World are worlds apart. True Life is a set of totally kick ass documentary film episodes, focused mostly on issues that are relevant to teens and 20-somethings – tattoos, cosmetic surgery, LBGT life, binge drinking, etc. It totally rocks, a remarkably responsible program for the otherwise “teen mom network”.

  21. All I  have to say is most students were expecting to find work getting out of college that did better then minimum wage.

    1. Please! Occupiers, start singing and playing guitar. If there’s music involved, MTV will run like the wind.

      I think you’ve found their one weakness that can be exploited. Especially if the music is good, then it’s guaranteed to send MTV packing post-haste.


  22. I have to say that most of you people that jump straight to pointing out student loan bailouts as a sign of entitlement culture, are missing the fucking joke. 

    Sure there are some that would love their student loans bailed out, who wouldn’t. The majority of these signs do NOT however mean that this is what they are protesting for. These signs are meant as satire. They point to the unjust nature of who our Government finds more important. 

    I’m getting so damn tired of hearing these lame “bootstrap” stories whenever I see a post about OWS. IF you managed to really do it all on your own, then good on you. Just don’t for a moment let you ego get in the way and allow yourself to think you are better then those that are still struggling. The only thing that is better is your luck, its that simple.

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