Challenge 39

Can The Challenge Survive Without Any Veterans?

From the looks of it, many Challenge mainstays will be absent on Season 39.

The Challenge: Season 39 is expected to film in the next couple of weeks, and calls have gone out. But, your favorite competitor likely didn’t get a call.

Recently, reliable spoiler account GamerVev stated he wasn’t expecting anyone from Real World, Road Rules, or Fresh Meat on the upcoming season. Very few Are You the One? alumni are expected to appear.

Did you know: The last time we had a season without Wes, Bananas, or CT was The Gauntlet 2? These three have been staples of the show, but from the looks of it, season 39 will be the first time since 2005 that production will film without any of their three most prominent stars.

Of course, this is just “expected,” and it’s not confirmed yet. But, it makes sense. CT has a lot going on in his personal life and Wes’ wife is pregnant. Bananas is allegedly taking a break, as are people like Nany and Aneesa.

But, let’s just say these mainstays don’t show up for season 39. Can the show survive?

While The Duel 2 was quite successful once CT left. Other seasons that lost mainstays early on didn’t fare so well. Look at Battle of the Seasons 2012. That season saw ratings dip, even though it featured other fan favorites and new competitors with lots of potentials. Other seasons that favored rookies (like Bloodlines and Spies, Lies and Allies) struggled in ratings.

But, in the past, The Challenge would get renewed for multiple seasons at a time, so production would experiment a little bit. Now, it seems the show is undergoing a bit of an identity crisis.

From the looks of it, the veterans on season 39 could be people like Kyle, Jay, or Big T. There’s nothing wrong with those people — but they’ve never been the stars of the shows. Meanwhile, fan favorites like Wes and Bananas will be on The Challenge: USA 2, and people like Tony, Leroy, and Veronica will be on All Stars 4.

I have no idea why MTV would choose to experiment with the show now, but it’s unlikely to benefit the franchise’s future. Sure, some people could use a break, but to get ride of people like Bananas, CT, Wes, Jordan, Aneesa, Nany, and Kailah in one clean swoop will be a death sentence for the main series.

Maybe The Challenge wants to move away from MTV in favor of CBS and Paramount+. Truthfully, I’m not convinced that’d be the worst thing. But if season 39 doesn’t have a strong cast, The Challenge could leave MTV, and it won’t be a decision.

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