It’s been about a month without The Challenge, and fans are itching for a new season of the show. Anticipation can be a good thing, but it’s an unfamiliar feeling for Challenge fans. For the past few seasons we’ve had a spinoff to fill the void between seasons. Champs vs. Stars (originally Champs vs. Pros) allowed Challenge fans to get their fix while the real show was off the air.
Ratings weren’t as strong as they were for seasons like Vendettas or Final Reckoning, but the ratings weren’t awful. Plus, Champs vs. Stars 2 (the third spinoff) had more episodes than the prior seasons plus a reunion episode. Clearly MTV was investing more into the spinoff than prior seasons. What happened?
I had heard rumor of a fourth season, but it’s clear production has placed its efforts elsewhere. Champs vs. Stars alumni have found their home on other MTV shows: Cory on Teen Mom, Kailah will be on Lohan’s Beach House, and Jozea is on Ex on the Beach. MTV is now trying to spark Challenge interest by fusing contestants into other MTV shows. To be honest, this is a great effort. It will increase awareness for the current Challenge generation in other areas of the network. For a long time, The Challenge has been its own entity on MTV but it’s starting to become one of the network’s biggest draws.
In many ways, you’d think the continued success of The Challenge would warrant another spinoff season. I think the real issue lies in the format of the upcoming season. Production needed to attract reality stars from other shows to appear on season 33. This costs money and takes effort. There’s also the problem with internal casting for the spinoff. There are so few champs that casting champions can be quite challenging. The Challenge produces so few new champions that the qualifications to be a “champion” get lower each season. Plus, the stars seemed to have a problem with people quitting. We’d go half way into the season before we saw any real competition amongst the stars. This is because they’d just sacrifice themselves into elimination because they wanted to leave the show and still get a paycheck.
I don’t think the spinoff was important enough to trump other priorities in MTV’s current landscape. However, the series hasn’t officially been cancelled, to my knowledge. The good thing about a spinoff show is that it can return so long as its original show is still airing. I hope to get another season in the future, but I hope it’s not Champs vs. Stars. Let’s try something new, like Challenge champions facing winners of other reality shows. That would be fun.