If you watched the War of the Worlds 2 Reunion you may have noticed something: the hosts suck. Justina Valentina was OK. She has a strong personality, but she clearly knew what was going on. She was on Champs vs. Stars and has some investment in The Challenge, so I support her inclusion on The Reunion. Then, there was Nick “Swaggy P” Young. Why was he there? What purpose did he serve?
This is not confirmed, but from my analysis of casting, ratings, and reunion shows over the past few years it’s clear MTV has a direction for The Challenge. They want the show to become a pseudo-sport, kind of like WWE wrestling. Jordan and Tori touched upon this when discussing Ninja’s performance. Tori mentioned that Jordan referred to The Challenge as the “fifth major sport.” This is the direction MTV want to take the show.
Look at the past reunions and their hosts:
- War of the Worlds 2: Nick Young (NBA) and Justina Valentine (Champs vs. Stars/ Comedian)
- War of the Worlds: Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (WWE/ The Challenge) and Lolo Jones (Champs vs. Pros/ Olympian)
- Final Reckoning: Dolph Ziggler (WWE)
- Vendettas: The Miz
- Dirty Thirty: The Miz
- Invasion of the Champions: The Miz
Prior to this, the hosts were mostly comedians and MTV personalities, with Nessa hosting Rivals 3 and Bloodlines. The only exceptions being Jonny Mosely and The Miz who had hosted prior reunions, but they already had Challenge involvement. The inclusion of athletes signifies the emphasis on the competitive nature of the show, but it doesn’t necessarily provide entertaining personalities.
Nick Young being a prime example, though he did appear on other MTV shows in the past. He was on Wild n’ Out and co-hosted Catfish. By all accounts, he was much more invested and charismatic on these shows.
From a ratings standpoint, The Challenge does fairly well with the 12-34 demographic. While most reality shows have a much stronger hold on the female population, The Challenge pulls decent ratings with young men. There are still more female viewers, but compared to other reality shows it generally pulls in a male/female ration that’s closer to equal. Many nights The Challenge will be overshadowed by sports, which have male-dominated ratings, so having athletes represent The Challenge may make it a more appealing show to viewers who gravitate toward competitive programming.
When you compare more recent seasons to seasons like Bloodlines/Rivals 3/Invasion, the ratings are increasing. MTV is doing something right, and I believe competition has been increased over the past couple of years. We often see fans discussing how much more challenges recent seasons have become. MTV has created a pseudo sport with The Challenge, and it wants to have athletics represent the program. In this regards, having Swaggy P or Lolo Jones host the show makes some sense.
In the end, we really just want a decent host. The Miz is the best of both worlds: he understands The Challenge and he is an athlete. What we really need is The Miz and Coral to host a reunion together. Let’s speak this into reality.