The Challenge

Why We’ll Never Be Able to Stream The Inferno 3

The Inferno 3 isn't on streaming, and I'm betting MTV didn't even want to air it to begin with.

If you go onto Paramount+, you’ll see that you can stream seasons 10-13 and 15-35. One season is missing from the sequence: The Inferno 3.

Recently, Angelcake Entertainment on YouTube shared a video analyzing the “lost” season and hypothesizing its omission from our streaming roster.

Right off the back, he rejects the theory that it’s due to licensing issues. Even if there was music in the final edit, it could be stripped and replaced. Remember, this season aired after The Duel. Production knew digital distribution was going to happen, and there was a time when this season could be purchased from iTunes and Amazon.

The video takes a deep dive into the season, and hypothesizes that the season is missing due to content that’s aged poorly, particularly in three categories:

  • Fighting
  • Bullying
  • Inappropriate sexual encounters

I’d recommend watching the video because it shows a lot of visual examples to support claims, and it makes a lot of sense. Unlike the missing episodes of The Duel 2 or The Ruins, the inappropriate content is too interwoven into this season to just chop out bits and pieces.

The show aired 15 years ago at this point. A lot of people have only seen it through bootleg repostings online, but I saw it when it originally aired, and I’ll tell you something: it was dead on arrival. This wasn’t clear to me when I watched it at first, but it’s very clear in retrospect.

I’ve written about The Inferno 3 in the past, and around 2007, MTV as a whole was on shaky grounds. Aside from The Hills, shows were watching ratings sink across the board. MTV probably thought the Inferno theme would draw in viewers because the original two installments did so well. Then, they saw the footage (as Angelcake references) and realized this wasn’t going to be the same type of show we saw in the past.

During this time period, MTV was doing a lot of experimentation with its content. The Real World Sydney also aired in 2007 and is also absent from streaming. MTV did a Real World Las Vegas: Reunited, and again, this is absent from streaming. There was also the dud known as Road Rules: Viewers Revenge which is absent from streaming with every other Road Rules season.

By the time The Inferno 3 was filmed and broadcasted, MTV was playing games with its content. They were running these weird “afternoon sneaks” where they’d air the episode in the afternoon before its official premiere at 10 pm at night. Obviously, this isn’t good for ratings. Then, they aired a few of the episodes back-to-back (like episodes 6 & 7) without warning, kind of like the random 60 minute episodes we got on Double Agents or Spies, Lies and Allies.

Beyond this, MTV put little investment in the show. Prior seasons had an online Aftershow hosted by Blair Herter, but not Inferno 3. Seasons after that had MTV Dailies or other digital extensions of the show. There was no aftershow, and the reunion was just a clip show. Promotion was minimal, and when it was over, the season was barely mentioned.

Even by MTV’s 2007 standards, The Inferno 3 wasn’t a great product. So, they just kind of cut their losses and then hoped the next season could save the show (spoiler: it did).

After watching the YouTube video, I agree with the assessment. MTV and Paramount+ want us to forget this season ever happened. Almost all of the drama was in poor taste or inappropriate. It didn’t seem like a lot of meaningful rivalries or relationships started here, and omitting it from streaming platforms barely impacts the continuity of the series.

But who knows. I could be wrong; in fact, I hope I am. I don’t think this season is that bad, and even though there’s a skeevy undertone, it’s not the worst season.

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