The Challenge: USA 2 has just finished filming, but CBS is already promoting the show. The network teased the show last week (before the final was over), and today its premiere date was announced. Tune in on Thursday, August 10, at 10 p.m., following the premiere of Big Brother 25.
So, the show keeps a similar time slot to last year — immediately after Big Brother. This is good because Big Brother is a popular show on the network. However, an August start date is uncharacteristically late for Big Brother, but it kinda makes sense this year.
However, if you’re a Challenge fan, this season’s airtime will get messy. Here’s the schedule:
- August 10: Premier night, 10 p.m.
- August 13-August 27: The show will also air on Sunday night at 9 p.m. This means there are two episodes a week, but only for the first three weeks.
- On August 31, the show only airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. for the remainder of the season.
This is a confusing schedule, and it’ll be hard to keep track of for Challenge fans… unless you’re a Big Brother viewer. That show airs three times a week, and all Challenge: USA 2 episodes will follow an episode of Big Brother, whether they air on Thursday or Sunday.
But, because of this schedule, the season will finish airing in about 2 months. If it has 11 episodes (like season 1) its finale is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28. If it has 12 episodes, its finale is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5.
So, what’s going on here? Well, there’s one good thing for the sake of Challenge ratings. Following Big Brother always means the show will have carry-over viewers. It’s clear CBS is banking on the fact that Challenge: USA viewers will have significant overlap with Big Brother’s fan base. This is an investment in The Challenge because there is value in holding the timeslot after a popular show.
Also, it’s clear the writers’ strike is going to impact CBS’ fall lineup. Likely, the network is allowing Big Brother to run later into the fall because there won’t be many scripted shows ready to air in September. While Big Brother consistently delivers good ratings for a summer show, the network also knows the summer brings in fewer viewers. So, they’d rather delay Big Brother and have it air in the fall when more viewers will be able to watch because they don’t have better content to fill the timeslots.
In fact, it wasn’t certain if The Challenge: USA 2 would even air on CBS, but given the circumstances, it fits perfectly into the schedule. So, this might give the show a second chance at becoming a smash hit.