Four Big Brother 20 cast members entered Total Madness. We’re now down to nine people and three of them are from BB20.
For a rookie cast, this is pretty remarkable. It’s been a while since we’ve had such a big group of rookies coming from one show, but it was quite common when The Real World was feeding into The Challenge.
On The Inferno 4 Real World Paris cast members entered, one made the final. On Battle of the Sexes 2 five RW: San Diego cast members and five Road Rules X-treme cast members appear, zero made the final. On Fresh Meat four RW: Austin cast members appeared, one made the final. On The Duel four RW: Key West cast members appeared, one made the final. On The Inferno 3 four RW: Denver cast members appeared, zero made the final. On The Island, four RW: Sydney cast members appeared, zero made the final.
Since this stretch, only a handful of seasons have featured four+ rookies from the same show of origin. We saw four people from Real World: San Diego win Battle of the Seasons, but unlike the BB20 cast on Total Madness, they had to work together. They had to remain a single unit, so it’s not like we could have had Zach win alongside Sarah that season. A couple of times we’ve see big groups of rookies come from newer shows, but often they were working together and codependent.
The Red Skull twist likely played some role in their success, as veterans had to send themselves into elimination to get their skull. This leaves fewer spots for rookies to get tossed into elimination because there’s no better options. Still, the BB20 alumni all won eliminations and they were against competitors who are good, if not great.
These competitors are good, and this says more about the direction of The Challenge than anything else.
As far as modern casting goes, I like having Big Brother players in the mix. For the most part, they’re ordinary people and we know their background if you watch Big Brother. Still, the Big Brother roster is bigger than a Real World roster of seven or eight roommates. The Challenge is going to try to recruit the cream of the crop, they want to people who are physical and strategic threats.
Now, MTV is focusing on competition more than anything else. It seems like this should be obvious, but do you really can’t get that with a small Real World cast.
The funny thing about their success: they weren’t even a solid appliance. Kaycee obviously strayed from Bayleigh. Bayleigh was obviously working with Swaggy, but the duo isolated themselves from everyone else. Fessy joined TYB, though maintained some loyalty to his BB castmates.
Ultimately, the success of BB20 comes from the fact that production picked a strong group from the potential BB20 competitors. They wanted to beef up the competition, and these people were solid in the game. They also benefitted from the formatting of Total Madness, but no one from this cast was devoid of potential.
Perhaps the Total Madness bunker is more similar to a Big Brother house than a Challenge house, so the BB20 kids might have had an advantage in that regard. Still, they brought a good level of competition and I anticipate future prospects will be the cream of the crop from their respective shows.