I don’t work for BMP. So what makes me qualified to give these tips for a better challenge? Well, for starters, I have seen all of the challenges. I’ve seen the good, the bad, the success, and the failures. I think there are ways to introduce changes to the challenges so that they are success.
One of the reasons that The Challenges are unique is the changing formats. We have new formats being introduced, but at the same time we have sequels to existing formats. Plus, we have (in theory) over 200 people that could appear on the challenges.
Battle of the Exes has been doing quite well, so it seems likely that there will be another challenge.
Firstly, the cast is important for a good challenge. However, they can’t rely on CT and Wes to be the stars of the show forever. While have old school favorites on the show is important, it’s equally important to have newbies on the cast, and I think we’ve been lacking the new schoolers recently. In fact, we have yet to see someone from New Orleans 2 on a challenge. There are some formats (like The Gauntlet) where the newbies fit in really well. I also understand that you don’t want to have a flock of bland rookies on the cast, but someone the rookies often carry interest over from The Real World to the challenges, and that’s important. I’d be really interested in seeing people like Scott from Brooklyn, Joey from Cancun, Ashley and Mike from DC, Jemmye, Knight, Ashlee, Ryan, McKenzie, or Preston from New Orleans, Nany and Cooke from Vegas, and anyone else that hasn’t done a lot of challenges.
Format is also really important. The past two seasons have had pairs based around certain themes (Rivals & Exes). This created an interesting dynamic, the cast should include all sorts of relationships regardless of the theme. Typically I like the themes, but there are some I’d prefer not to see again. For example, when you put a team of Champions, proven winners, versus a team of Challengers, mostly proven losers, you know which team will win. And I definitely don’t want a repeat of this:
I understand that you can’t guarantee interesting story lines, but if you have a diverse cast then they will arise. What you can guarantee is interesting challenges. Recently we’ve seen a lot of challenges where people were dangled over water and had to swim to the finish line and it’s getting repetitive. Battle of the Exes has had some good challenges, and I’d like to see this continue. Challenges, especially the early ones, should be fun to watch. As the season progresses the challenges should get more difficult. If the challenges are good, then different people will have the opportunity to do well. It’s boring when the same person always win (like on The Duel 2). On Rivals and Battle of the Exes the pairs were based on past relationships, yet very few challenges involved this element. I thought the Mental Connection challenge was going to be a Newlywed Game style challenge, not just general trivia.
Extra content online is also important. The Aftershow with Blair was perfect, and I don’t know why they got rid of that. I like The Aftershows that they have now, but they’re more of a reunion than anything else. Challenge Dailies was good too, as was the fantasy challenge. I always appreciate anything that MTV is will to give us in terms of extra content.
Finally, and here’s a big one, PROMO! Commercials are important, especially before the first episode. It’s also important to have a couple of different commercials. However, I think that the challenges almost never get repeated on MTV. I know that there are other shows on MTV, but do they really need to air 5 hours of parental control every day? I got into the challenges because it was almost impossible to watch MTV and not see Battle of the Sexes. Back in 2003 they showed constant repeats. I don’t expect us to get back to that level of repeats, but reairing episodes 4 times a week shouldn’t be that hard, and it should be during times that people might actually be watching TV (3 PM, not 3 AM).
I will say that Battle of the Exes has shown improvement from past seasons, and I think that has something to do with the increase in ratings. However, I feel that most of this is logical and I’m surprised that some of these tips have been overlooked during recent seasons.