Challenge fans are usually split into two camps: those who hate Battle of the Seasons and those who thought it was a breath of fresh air. In fact, many of the people who didn’t enjoy watching Seasons think it was an interesting concept and would like to see the micro-team format return. This season was unique as the only time we ever saw teams of four enter as part of the format.
Production assembled eight teams of four people with a seemingly rigid casting structure. This meant there was a lot of work behind the scenes to get the cast together, and a lot of interest that never led to an appearance.
Of course, we saw six Real World seasons come together and get a team created: St. Thomas, San Diego 2011, New Orleans 2010, Cancun, Brooklyn, and Austin. Most of these seasons were more recent, and there are some cast members who were on board to be replacements. People like LaToya, Swift, Emilee, and Nehemiah were all believed to have been willing to compete.
Then we get into the sloppiness: the teams who never saw the light of the camera.
It’s a well known fact that Real World Sydney assembled a team with Isaac, Ashli, Kellyanne, and Dunbar. They were sent home prior to the first challenge for unknown reasons. Isaac has discussed this, and said he was told he had a heart condition so his team was booted. The only possible replacement, Cohutta, couldn’t be flown in because he had family matters preventing him from competing. After getting kicked off, despite an alleged heart issue, he was able to stay in Turkey for a vacation. Worried, he asked for the results of his medical exam, but production couldn’t give it to him. He went to the doctor after returning to the States and was told his heart was fine.
Keep in mind, this comes from Isaac’s recollection. He doesn’t think it was some type of ploy to get rid of a strong team because his team filmed an intro scene. This meant they had to get paid, so MTV give the four competitors some type of compensation for their brief time filming, even though the footage never saw the light of day.
It’s a fact that Sydney made it as far as Turkey. Beyond that, there are a lot of rumors regarding the season. For starters, production allegedly wanted to create a season of all rookies. After the success of Battle of the Exes, they knew they had at least two more seasons to film. Battle of the Seasons was their experiment and their attempt to create new names in the Challenge franchise. Season 24 would be their safe season where they’d bring in big names, but they could afford some risks on Season 23.
Quickly, they realized they couldn’t get all rookies. Some seasons simply didn’t have enough rookies, and many of the people who had never competed simply were not interested. Production also tried to get interest from seasons but couldn’t assemble a full team. Such examples include: Denver, Hollywood, and D.C. In these examples, the girls weren’t really interested in competing. Apparently no girl from Denver or Hollywood agreed. For DC, Emily and Callie allegedly agreed but Callie had to drop due to her pregnancy. Apparently Ty, Josh, and Mike all agreed from that season.
There’s also the Las Vegas fiasco. Production wanted two teams, one from the original Vegas and the other from 2011’s season. Allegedly, the issues came from 2011’s season. Rumors stated Leroy and Cooke were supposed to round out the team but Cooke had a hard time getting the time off to compete and her teammates weren’t super welcoming. Apparently Arissa and Frank also agreed, but it’s unclear how far they ever made it in the casting process.
The original San Diego season was contacted, and there are rumors Brad, Cameran, Randy, and Robin agreed. It seems unlikely this team would have ever come to fruition. Cameran was pursing other reality TV endeavors around this time and Brad was starting a family and staying away from MTV.
Since filming wrapped, more rumors have come to light. On his podcast, Derrick has mentioned the long-rumored Road Rules team. He seems to indicate it would have included himself, Katie, and Darrell. Rachel was also being asked, and there were rumors Susie and Shane were in the mix. Any way you cast this team, it seems way overpowered compared to other teams on Battle of the Seasons. Katie would be the weakest link, but based on her later seasons, she would have likely been just fine with those partners.
Recently, Tyler mentioned that there was a Key West team that would have competed. It would have been himself, Janelle, Johnny, and Paula. This team didn’t make the final cut, but all members seemed to be on board. Janelle said it would be her last run with MTV, but she never even got to make her final appearance.
The final blunder in casting is the Fresh Meat team. It was a complete mess, featuring Camila who never even appeared on Fresh Meat. This team imploded on itself from day one and quickly left the season. It’s known the Carley was going to be on this team but was replaced by Cara Maria. To be honest, production should have been able to assemble a team just from Fresh Meat 2 rather than the disaster we saw.
There are probably a lot more people contacted for this season we don’t know about. It was a fun concept, and at this point in time we’ll never get another season-themed show. Partially because there’s no Real World, but also because it was such a disaster to film this season in the first place. On top of that, ratings weren’t super strong. As time progresses, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more casting rumors from this era of The Challenge. However, I can’t think of another Real World season that could have been represented. The final product we saw was an interesting concoction, but there are so many more elements that could have impacted the season. To this day, this Battle of the Seasons remains a marvelous attempt at a seasons with lukewarm results.