Arab reality TV show The Real World pioneers a new way of looking at differences

Broadcast

This is the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped to find out what happens when Sunnis and Shias, Christians and Jews, boys and girls, 20-somethings from across the Arab world, stop hating each other and learn how to get along.

That might be the opening for an Arab version of "The Real World." The MTV show, which debuted in 1992, was considered a groundbreaking social experiment. Its creators bet that if young people from vastly different backgrounds lived together, they would eventually - through fits and fights and hugs - find common ground. And by watching, the show's audience might, too.

While reality programming now dominates Western entertainment, "The Real World" remains a pioneering blueprint for a burgeoning reality show market in the Middle East and North Africa.

Thanks to the region's proliferation of satellite television and its embrace of social media, more and more reality shows are appearing on air.