Episode 3 of Spies, Lies & Allies was viewed by 506,000 people. This makes it the Challenge episode with the fewest live viewers during its premier. The previous low was set by Battle of the Bloodlines Episode 1, an episode that aired nearly six years ago. Since then, MTV and television viewership has changed a lot.
On Twitter, Gamer compiled a list of the Challenge episodes with the lowest numbers of viewers:
Two of the three episodes of Spies, Lies & Allies are among the least viewed episodes of the series. While Bloodlines had a slow start, it would climb in ratings as the season progressed. Episode 9 would be viewed by 932,000 people. This increase was sparked by CT’s appearance on the show and his subsequent appearance with Zach.
While Spies, Lies & Allies is dropping in the numbers, the need to panic has not yet occurred. When Bloodlines episode 1 aired, it was the 88th highest rated cable show on its debut night. By contrast, Spies, Lies & Allies episode 3 is the fifth highest cable show of the night. Both episodes had a 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic. So a major factor of the decline in viewers is a lack of interest in cable television. Viewership was declining in 2015, and there’s very little worth watching in 2021.
As of right now, Spies, Lies & Allies is MTV’s highest rated show. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation was viewed by 502,000 on Thursday night with a 0.26 rating in the 18-49 demographic. It was the eleventh highest rated show of the evening. By MTV standards, The Challenge is still doing quite well.
While it’s fair to blame a large portion of the decline in viewership on changes in television consumption, we can’t ignore the obvious. Double Agents did much better, so why are numbers slipping now? This is where we need to focus on content. It’s no coincidence Bloodlines and Spies, Lies & Allies are two of the seasons with low numbers in the beginning. Viewers want to see their favorite competitors: this is what makes The Challenge unique. When we get big groups of rookies, people become disinterested. There’s little evolution with new competitors and newbies are disposable.
While ratings may not be as alarming as some people believe, they’re also a warning sign. Production needs to think of the reasons people are disinterested, and work to build better themes and casts. Fans are getting tired of the boring spy themes and theatric missions. We want to see fan favorite and allow rookies to develop over time. Something isn’t working, and MTV as a whole is feeling the effects. If they don’t change, The Challenge won’t be the casualty: it will be MTV as a whole.