The Challenge

Which Challenge Seasons Had the Worst Casting?

Every so often we get a Challenge season that has a stellar cast. More often, we get a Challenge that has an underwhelming cast. While sometimes this can lead to a pleasantly exciting season, the initial reaction to the cast is usually an eye roll. In this list, I am going to explore some of the season that had a negative first impression.

Just to be clear, this is not a ranking of how good the season was. This is a ranking of production’s ability to get an exciting cast. The cast lists are ranked primarily based on: diversity of the cast based on initial season, inclusion of older cast members, unexpected cast members at the time of filming, inclusion of fan favorites at the time of filming, and producing a cast that will generate interesting competition.

5. Free Agents


The Good: The men generated a good amount of competition. The cast also included a few cast members who hadn’t appeared in years such as Cohutta, Isaac, Emilee, and Laurel.

The Bad: Without seeing a single mission I knew Laurel would win.

The Verdict: This was a season designed to recycle drama from Rivals 2, which was a combination of recycled drama from Battle of the Seasons and Battle of the Exes.

4. Fresh Meat 2


The Good: Landon and Jillian.

The Bad: An influx of unestablished veteran running around like that were God’s gift to The Challenge. The lack of interesting newbies (Fresh Meat ignored).

The Verdict: This whole season was built to be a competition between Wes & Kenny. Everyone else was an accessory to this storyline until the last episodes.

3. The Island


The Good: The Return of Rachel and an attempt to showcase the new veterans.

The Bad: Notoriously annoying people ran this season. When you removed competition, you see how little people like Evelyn & Bananas truly contribute to The Challenge.

The Verdict: While the attempt to produce something new did not go unnoticed, the lack of strong veterans left fans with a void.

2. The Gauntlet



The Good: The cast was a good collection of strong personalities from recent seasons.

The Bad: This cast was heavily dominated by cast members from the most recent Real World and Road Rules season from the time. Strong personalities from seasons older than 3 years were absent.

The Verdict: This season attempted to recreate drama from Battle of the Seasons. It ushered in the first Challenge whores and removed older cast members from the equation.

1. The Duel


The Good: The cast did produce decent competition, especially on the men’s side.

The bad: This cast really shifted away from alumni. 25% of the cast were “Fresh Meat,” who viewers didn’t want to see as stand-alone competitors at the time. 20% of the cast came from Key West. 95% of the cast had appeared on MTV within the past year of The Duel airing.

The Verdict: If you followed casting spoilers in 2006, you would have been thinking “WTF is MTV doing??” Staples of the show were missing, and initially there was not a lot of motive to tune in. Luckily, this era proved to be worthy of our viewership.

Which season do you think production did the worst job casting?







  1. We don’t care about The Challenge to really see who is the most athletic. It use be a way of us seeing our favorite Real World people and Road Rules people be mixed up with each other in an all star cast. Real World was always the more popular show than Road Rules. The fact that these Challenges are so popular today is really some new generation stuff for people who didn’t grow up with the more authentic seasons of Real World. The Inferno was the last good Challenge season in my opinion. I feel the challenge every season looks like the same stuff. The Real World audience were not necessarily people who were into sports. Honestly, I don’t think ratings is what keeps this show on, it’s more the social media response.

  2. Shocked Battle of the Seasons (2012) isn’t on here. We needed rookies but way too many people who were lessers on their original seasons of Real World. Also had awkward teams like Las Vegas and Fresh Meat combined seasons. Casting issues with better season would have been possible if it were 2 per season and not 4 people

    1. Here’s the thing, Battle of the Seasons did exactly what it set out to do. The season was designed to give rookies a chance and forego the traditional veterans who have been dominating the game. If they wanted people like Bananas in the game, they could have had it.

      With this said, it would have been nice to see other underrepresented seasons (DC and Hollywood), but I enjoyed the change of pace, the more leveled playing field the casting created, and the fact that there were some good surprises on the cast.

  3. Initially I was going to say the Island was the worse, I think It’s Fresh Meat 2. Even though the Island sucked as a show it definitely helped with drama for future seasons (Wes/Kenny, Ev/Bananas, etc.) Other than Cara and Laurel, Fresh Meat 2 failed at what it’s meant to do and that’s to inject more cast members for future seasons.

  4. The gauntlet 3. Half the cast of the vets were from fresh meat and key west. Not to mention the only surprise rooks were frank, Jillian, and mj.

    1. …because the casting was good, but the division of talent was flawed/unfair so the cast was still really solid as a whole. Unfortunately anyone who watched saw right from the start that some combination of vets would be winning in the end, but you just had to wait and see how it would unfold throughout the season. This is a great season where drama/storyline in the house trumped the challenges themselves.

  5. I agree with 5 through 3. Disagree with the your top two, I think the cast of Duel 2 was more disappointing than the first one. Also on Fresh Meat 2, I don’t think the original Fresh Meat people should have been used as “Alum”. Really MTV/BMP? Also I go with the addition of Are you the one people in the recent challenges? Really MTV of all the shows like Jersey Shore, Laguna Beach/The Hills, among others (Two-A-Days?) to add on they chose AYTO? Is a slap in the face of most (if not all) of us Challenge fans including me whose been a challenge fan since the Inferno. I think the only people that like the AYTO? people are people who watch that show. Also if MTV cancels Real World and renews AYTO? I’m going to be super pissed.

    1. That’s what it’s looking like. I haven’t heard any news of any filming going on for Real World 31. Usually around this time is when filming is getting going. I have heard from multiple people (inside sources, former cast members) that AYTO season 3 is already filmed/being flimed.

      1. Unfortunatly AYTO? has been renewed for a 3rd season but I did hear that if this season of The Challenge has good ratings they’ll start filming Real World 31 after and Jonathan Murray did step down from BMP to work on shows like the Real World so that gives us hope they’ll be a Season 31

      2. They are currently casting for real world 31 filming is from october to november

  6. I absolutely cannot believe The Duel is on this list, let alone number one. All the main guys are here, before they were the main guys that dominated the challenge. It was a dogfight between everybody, and this was before you could just politic your way to the top. You had to win in all aspects. And with the girls, the drama got so bad that it lead enemies Beth and Aneesa to team up, something I never would have predicted.

    The show needed new cast members, and Fresh Meat provided that. They even picked the most interesting (in my opinion) fresh meat (except for maybe Casey). I’m sorry I’m ranting but I hope this is prank!

  7. BATTLE OF THE SEASONS 2!! A bunch of NOBODYS! I hated how they treated St Thomas like Rookies when New Orleans and San Diego were all Rookies and there were still a bunch of Rookies in that Season

  8. I’m also surprised Seasons 2 wasn’t on the list considering alot of people didn’t like the fact that there were so many new faces(which I personally loved).

  9. Where is Gauntlet 2??? Derrick and the rest of the X-Treme kids made that season. Everyone else was a snooze. And the original Fresh Meat was waaaay worse than two. 4 of the “alums” were definitely fresh and to make matters even worse, they were from the same season. Too much focus on getting rid of Austin that they didn’t know what else to do.

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