MTV ‘Cribs’, once king of real estate television, returns to the air

In 2001, MTV aired a shockingly hilarious and raw episode of its Celebrity Home Tour show Cribs. In the episode, rapper Redman is shown waking up on a mattress with no sheets before showing the camera what he calls “Exhibit A” – apparently a pile of trash on the floor under a window covered in something that looks like looks broken -hand office blinds.

The rest of the segment follows suit: Redman wanders his humble townhouse in Staten Island and reveals a tangle of video game cables, his cousin sleeping on the floor, and a kitchen that could be found in a cheap Airbnb today. All of the space exists somewhere on the spectrum between less fraternity house and landing pad for a recent middle-aged divorce. Finally, the segment ends with one of the most entertaining moments in MTV history, when Redman reveals that his doorbell, although it doesn’t have a button, still works by rubbing two exposed wires together.

Redman himself is now out of the public eye, but he was a rising star in the early 2000s. The segment is thus a harrowing but delightful case study of what was done Cribs So successful: “Real estate pornography” (as this type of content is now called) contained some real surprises before social media and online video.

The question now is whether MTV can recapture that magic in a world that has radically evolved over the years.

This month brought the youth-oriented network Cribs back with the first new episode airing on August 11th. In a statement on the relaunch, the company called the original show a “pop culture phenomenon that revolutionized the celebrity home touring genre,” and revealed that the first episodes would feature the homes of Olympian Ryan Lochte, comedian Kathy Griffin and housewife guru Martha Stewart.

In conversation with the Wall Street Journal, Show creator and MTV manager Nina Diaz added that Cribs “was the blueprint for those real estate shows and for celebrity, for the genre. ”MTV is now betting that this product will still be in demand.

“People just long” [seeing] how others live and how the other half live, ”added Diaz.

But harnessing that demand may be easier said than done.

Cribs first debuted in 2000, and the basic concept wasn’t revolutionary. MTV essentially updated Lifestyles of the rich and famous – which ran from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s – with faster cuts and cooler music, and dropped the British host.

In the much smaller media landscape of the early 2000s, the format hit a thread. In five years, MTV had produced a staggering 13 seasons and screened the homes of nearly 200 celebrities. According to diary, the show peaked during its fourth season in 2002, when episodes averaged 1.6 million views.

For the most part – regardless of the Redman segment – these episodes highlighted the opulent surroundings of stars like Mariah Carey and Snoop Dogg. Actor Jason Schwartzman once had a memorable period playing as King Louis XVI. led through the Palace of Versailles.

Along with a little later shows like Pimp my car, Cribs The early 2000s captured an early millennial ethos – it was part of a transition period for MTV from the days of music videos and Beavis and Butthead to wall-to-wall reality shows like My super sweet 16. And it came when MTV was arguably the brightest star in the pantheon of American youth culture.

In the years that followed, however, everything has changed. YouTube was launched in 2005 while Zillow launched in 2006. Together, these two websites alone made video and real estate content available to everyone. Later, in 2010, Instagram officially launched the age of influencers – many of them explicitly focus on disciplines like interior design and luxury lifestyle.

More recently, Tik Tok has become the landing spot for real estate influencer content, to the point that a 2009 rapper Ludacris song reappears thanks to a verse that wonders, “What on earth is in this one Space / what you? Got into this room? “The song is often paired with a video of someone scrolling on Zillow – the idea is that everyone is curious about each other’s house and that thanks to the internet, it is now possible to satisfy that curiosity.

What does that mean for the relaunch of Cribs?

For starters, this suggests that the show is competing in a media environment where literally everyone is a potential subject CribStyle content as well as a producer of that content. In fact, real estate events are often dominated by video content production conversations, and well-known agents are effectively media CEOs. The super agent Aaron Kirman from Los Angeles, for example, has more than 73,000 followers on Tik Tok. Montreal-based broker Tatiana Londono has nearly 2 million.

That said, MTV was able to count its competitors on one hand in 2000. Today the competition is almost infinite.

MTV of course still has access to the rich and famous, but there, too, it faces tough competition. In the past few years Architecture overview has had a lot to do with celebrity home tours on YouTube, and today the magazine has around 4.6 million subscribers to its channel. That’s about half of what MTV has, which is remarkable for a print publication that focuses solely on residential and real estate.

Even more remarkable Architecture overviewHome Tours regularly garner millions of views, and the videos are so popular that they are the subject of a Saturday night live Parody. (The parody was a boon, but hits a little softer than the Redman episode of Cribs.)

On the flip side, not a single MTV YouTube video cracked 200,000 views in the past month. The vast majority were in the low five-digit range. And when that reporter approached his Generation Z brother about MTV, the response indicated that MTV has lost its privileged place in the minds of today’s youth.

A conversation this reporter had with a younger sibling this week. Photo credit: Jim Dalrymple II

Over the years, Cribs has seen a number of different revivals, including a version on Snapchat that began in 2017.

But thanks to both rock star content creators like Londono and Kirman and well-known competitors like Architecture overview, this latest release is sure to face an uphill battle for the hearts and minds of America’s luxury real estate junkies.

That’s probably not a bad thing – more content can’t hurt viewers – but it also begs the question of what kind of real estate video can even exist today. Cribs was best at taking advantage of the unexpected, from a broken doorbell in Staten Island in one episode to a hilarious tour of the literal Palace of Versailles in another.

Years after Redman’s home tour on Cribs, cultural publication Thrill both the rapper and the. caught up Cribs Producers to find out if the Bonkers episode was actually real. It turned out that it was.

“We didn’t coat the joint,” Diaz recalled the episode. “Every time people opened the door and welcomed us that way. It was a surprise, and [Redman] showed us around – there were dishes in the sink, pizza boxes everywhere, a piggy bank, his bedroom is a mess. “

It’s a refreshing anecdote from a bygone era. And it begs a question: today, in an era of endless curation, everyone can joint not be encased?

Email to Jim Dalrymple II

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