Many years ago, The Challenge was based around two shows: Real World and Road Rules. Though often forgotten by MTV, there are ways for fans to access Road Rules. With one exception: Maximum Velocity Tour. This is the one season that has been missing from the archives and has less information floating around the internet than other seasons.
In my opinion, this is Road Rule’s equivalent Inferno 3. It was a transitional season, but unlike The Challenge it ultimately led to the end of the show. This is the last season of Road Rules before the show introduced the twist of voting off, there’s a reason Road Rules would become more competitive after this season.
To begin, we will need to travel back to 2000. This is the year competition reality shows would begin to go mainstream. Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour aired in the summer of 2000. During that same summer we would see the debut on Big Brother and Survivor in the US. These are two shows have have connected with millions of fans and have even become part of the Challenge franchise. By 2000, MTV had also filmed two real Challenge seasons and The Real World was entering a time of peak viewership. Sadly, the identity of Road Rules was beginning to change as new competition would force the show to tweak its format.
When compared to prior seasons, RR9 would be highly competitive. Fewer missions were completed for the sake of the experience. Rather, we’d see Roadies compete against other teams of competitors. They’d face: The Real World: New Orleans cast, a local fraternity, a group of MTV.com fan, and the band O-Town, just to name a few. Not every mission would be a face off, because the cast did travel to South Africa to immerse themselves into a South African tribe. This episode would get the show nominated for an Emmy, but it wasn’t enough to save the show.
Due to the competitive nature of the series, something new happened on Road Rules Maximum Velocity Tour. The cast lost missions. Other seasons would see the cast struggle, but most missions were based around satisfactory competition. This cast faced other teams, meaning they could become definitive losers. On this season the “handsome reward” was based around a point system. Losing simply meant less money and hurt pride, but didn’t have a huge consequence. This would change in later seasons. Road Rules 10-13 would introduce the concept of replacing cast members. After a second mission was lost, one cast member would need to go home and would subsequently get replaced. While this meant there was more incentive to win, RR9 simply did not have that sense of urgency.
Another issue with this season was the chemistry of the cast. To put it simply, there was very little. The guys were immature and disliked the girls. The girls were kind of stubborn and sassy and didn’t want to work with the boys. There was the alleged hook up with Latterian and Kathryn, but this ultimately divided the cast more.
All of this meant Road Rules was changing, but we can’t ignore the bigger elephant in the room: The Challenge. Competitive reality shows are really trendy in the early 2000’s, but Road Rules want’s going to be able to compete with other trends without overhauling its entire identity. On the other hand, The Challenge could easily create a unique and competitive format that enticed viewers to watch. While Road Rules struggled to survive, The Challenge was becoming a surprise hit for MTV.
Maximum Velocity Tour was the season that proved Road Rules wasn’t going to survive in the changing reality climate. The Real World was a huge hit in the docs-reality genre. The Challenge was the new show on MTV that enticed the competitive reality fans. Road Rules was the mid point toward the two. Maximum Velocity Tour shifted toward the competitive side of the spectrum, and without a strong cast it couldn’t successfully make that transition.
Due to the failure of RR9 and the success of The Challenge, RR10 would include the opportunity to vote off cast members. This seemed like an exciting change at first, but must like the twists on The Real World, it was a flash of success that wouldn’t last. After a couple of seasons with vote offs, Road Rules ran out of options. Any further change would just make the show another Challenge and Road Rules was put on hiatus. We’d later see Road Rules: Viewer’s Revenge. That season really was more of a Challenge, but that’s a story for another day.
Ultimately, Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour was the beginning of the end. It messed with the original formate due to the changing climate of reality TV. As a result, Road Rules is no more and The Challenge is one of the biggest shows on MTV.