The Real World is now set to hit MTV this January for its 29th season, only the latest in a series run that's lasted more than two decades. But this season will change the format and up the stakes: instead of just seven strangers brought together to have their lives taped, the housemates will be forced to live with their exes.

Entertainment Weekly originally reported that the show will be known as The Real World: Ex-Plosion, the first major change in format in the iconic show's history. It also underscores a somewhat cynical outlook on MTV's part as to what its housemates will put up with and what viewers are willing to watch. After all, while the first season of the show was roundly panned by critics, it has become a cultural touchstone in its honest (if perhaps by accident) treatment of such issues as sexuality, poverty, and the AIDS epidemic. This most recent incarnation, which involved pulling five of the principal cast's exes in after a month of filming, seems more concerned with the kind of spectacle that made Jersey Shore unmissable if not wholly lovable.