Recasting The Challenge Seasons 33 to 37

8 min readFeb 4, 2022


Hey all,

u/DoubleKing13’s post on reddit the other day (about the show’s decline) had me complaining about the “random international players” production insists on casting over big names from popular, established reality show. Obviously this was most apparent last season, Spies Lies & Allies, but it originated on War of the Worlds. Which turned out to be a stellar season, of course, but when I saw the cast, I was underwhelmed. AYTO Brazil? Bachelor Canada? American Ninja Warrior? A telenovelas extra? What? Why?

So since it’s Friday, off-season, and we still haven’t gotten previews or anything for All Stars 3, Ex on the Beach 5, or Celebrity Shore — I wanted to do a thought experiment and recast the recent seasons, starting with War of the Worlds 1. This is my opinion but also informed by what is realistic, based on who was contacted and who the alternates were for these seasons.

Under each bolded season is a TL;DR, if you want to skip my reasoning for the changes. But I wanna know — what would you have done?

Season 33: New Blood

TL;DR — retitled it because there is less of an emphasis on international randoms. Kept the vet men, as is, swapped Jenna out for Tori, and cut Chase, JP, Alan, Julia, Shaleen, Zahida, & Ninja — for Jay S, Zach R, Chad J, Michele F, Nilsa P, Erica H, & Kenya S.

Veteran Men

No changes. An all-star line-up of legends, champs, and new power players. I’m not a huge fan of half of these men, but they were all relevant at the time. Would’ve liked to have Tony on, but I couldn’t swap out anyone with good conscience. So -

Wes, CT, Johnny, Hunter, Paulie, Kyle, Zach, Leroy — 1 sophomore, 1 exciting return

Veteran Women

Only swapping Jenna out for Tori. Both are popular blondes pushed by production who got screwed on Final Reckoning — but Tori was a fresher and better player than Jenna at the time, who was already on her 7th season. So -

Cara, Da’Vonne, Nany, Kam, Amanda, Ashley, Natalie N, Tori — 1 sophomore, 1 exciting return

Male Prospects

Bear, Ashley C, Josh, Turbo, Theo, Gus, Jay S, Zach R, Chad J

The big names who got cast — Bear (Big Brother winner), Ashley Cain (popular from Ex on the Beach), Josh (Big Brother winner), Turbo (two-time Survivor winner)

Theo wasn’t a big personality on Love Island, but he’s a 6’ 5” track star who showed out on The Challenge, so we’ll keep him

Gus is a drama magnet from an original MTV show, so I don’t want to lose him

But then Chase, JP, and Alan all flopped and/or were from unknown shows. I cut them and replaced them with

  • Jay Starrett (Survivor 33), who was cut last-minute
  • Zach Rance (BBUS16), who was made an alternate and then told production to lose his number
  • Chad Johnson (Ex on the Beach US 2), who was considered for the cast

Female Prospects

Morgan, Georgia, Liz, Mattie, Dee, Michele F, Nilsa P, Erica H, Kenya S

The big names who got cast — Morgan (Big Brother winner)

Georgia wasn’t a big personality on Love Island, but she showed out on The Challenge, so we’ll keep her

Now we have a throwback BB alum for the men in Zach, so I’ll keep Liz, the runner-up for BB17

Mattie is 6’ tall and confrontational from her original show, so don’t want to lose her

Dee became a Challenge legend but I don’t know her from Geordie Shore, but she can stay anyway

We didn’t need the other Nolan twin; Shaleen literally was eliminated night one on her show; Zahida clearly wasn’t athletic; and Ninja was from a competition show that didn’t involve personality (just like Nam after her), so I would cut her too. Replacements:

  • Michele Fitzgerald (Survivor 32 winner), cut last-minute
  • Nilsa Prowant (Floribama Shore), more dramatic home-grown MTV talent, and she won Fear Factor, so don’t sleep on her
  • Erica Hill (BBCan6), dramatic and competitive and much better Canadian rep than Shaleen. Considered Kaela but went with Erica because production probably blew their budget to get Bear — which explains some randoms like Shaleen and Chase.
  • Kenya Scott (Are You the One 7), cut last-minute

S34: Bloody Hell

TL;DR — kept the original name because it’s funny and all of TJ’s re-dubbing to call it “War of the Worlds 2” was noticeable.

Cut Leroy, Josh, Zach, Faith, Nany, Idris, Nicole B, Esther F, Ninja, & CT — for Nelson, Jay S, Frank S, Angela, Kailah, Ashley C, Melissa, Kaz Crossley, Erica, & Demetres Giannitsos.

US Men

Jordan, Paulie, Johnny, Wes, Nelson, Jay, Frank S — 0 rookies, 1 sophomore, 2 exciting champ returns

  • Cut Leroy for Nelson (love triangle with Angela and Kayleigh)
  • Cut Josh for Jay (in this version, Josh was purged and didn’t come back on S33)
  • Cut Zach for Frank S (he was far along in casting but declined due to pay disputes)

US Women

Cara, Ashley, Kam, Laurel, Tori, Angela, Kailah — 0 rookies, 1 sophomore, 1 exciting champ return

  • Cut Faith for Angela (love triangle with Nelson and Kayleigh)
  • Cut Nany for Kailah (who was an alternate, has drama with Melissa)
  • I wanted Michele but she was filming Survivor 40 at the time

UK Men

Rogan, Joss, Theo, Bear, Kyle, Ashley C, Sean — 1 rookie, 4 sophomores

  • Cut Idris (cringey) for Ashley Cain (we need him back)

UK Women

Georgia, Kayleigh, Melissa, Jenny, Kaz C, Big T, Zahida — 4 rookies, 1 sophomore

  • Cut Nicole Bfor Melissa (drama with Kayleigh and Kailah)
  • Cut Esther F for Kaz Crossley (Theo’s ex from Love Island)


Dee, Erica, Turbo, Demetres G — 1 rookie, 3 sophomores

  • Cut Ninja for Erica (Ninja never debuted in this timeline)
  • Cut CT for Demetres Giannitsos (BBCan5 3rd place, comp beast — 5 HOHs + 2 POVs) because the Reinforcements are now all international. Wish it could’ve been Rob Brentele (Survivor South Africa) or Adam Pike (BBCan7) but those shows were filming simultaneously to S34.

S35: Apocalypse

TL;DR — stuck with the original name again. Cut Swaggy, Kyle, Jay, Asaf, Tori, Aneesa, Big T, Jenna, Kaycee, & Jenn — for Brett R, Devin, Jeremiah B, Mark J, Kaz, Natalie N, Morgan, Haleigh B, & Kaela G


Johnny, Wes, Cory, Rogan, Nelson, Josh, Bear, Jordan, CT, Devin, Brett R, Jeremiah, Fessy, Mark J — 4 rookies, 1 sophomore

  • Cut Kyle for Devin (Kyle had done 31–34 straight, and Devin was an alternate, bromance with Mark)
  • Cut Swaggy for Brett Robinson (BB20, production wanted him for S34)
  • Cut Jay for Jeremiah Buoni (Floribama Shore, showmance with Mattie. Jay had done 33 and 34 in a row so can take a break)
  • Cut Asaf for Mark Jansen (BB19, drama with Josh, bromance with Devin)


Jenny, Melissa, Dee, Nany, Kailah, Mattie, Ashley, Erica, Natalie N, Kaz, Morgan, Bayleigh, Haleigh B, Kaela G — 3 rookies, 4 sophomores

  • Cut Tori for Erica (Tori had done 33–34 and could use a break)
  • Cut Aneesa for Kaz
  • Cut Big T for Natalie N (Big T only made it on because Bria declined, and Natalie N agreed to do the season)
  • Cut Jenna for Morgan (Jenna was a last-minute replacement, and Morgan agreed to do the season)
  • Cut Kaycee for Haleigh Broucher (BB20, production wanted her for S34)
  • Cut Jenn for Kaela Grant (BBCan6 runner-up, drama with Erica)

S36: Double Agents

TL;DR — it’s a great name and format so I kept both of those.

Cut Nelson, Wes, Josh, Mechie, Joseph, Nam, Nany, Ashley, Aneesa, Big T, Liv, & amBer — for Marlon, Paulie, Brett, Mark J, Adam P, Justin P, Sylvia, Jenny, Kaela, Michele, Lauren O, & Christie M


CT, Cory, Leroy, Fessy, Kyle, Darrell, Devin, Jay, Marlon, Brett, Paulie, Lio, Mark J, Justin P, Adam P — 5 rookies, 3 sophomores, 1 exciting return

  • Cut Nelson (was on 34–35 and could use a break) for Marlon (showed out on Ex on the Peak)
  • Cut Wes (was on 33–35 and could use a break) for Paulie (strong, capable villain)
  • Cut Josh for Brett
  • Cut Mechie for Mark
  • Cut Joseph for Adam Pike (BBCan7)
  • Cut Nam for Justin Palm (AYTO8)


Kam, Theresa, Tori, Nicole Z, Jenny, Sylvia, Kaela, Michele, Kaycee, Lolo, Gabby, Natalie A, Amber M, Lauren O, Christie M — 6 rookies, 3 sophomores, 1 exciting return

  • Cut Nany for Sylvia
  • Cut Ashley (she was on 32–35 and could use a break) for Jenny
  • Cut Aneesa for Kaela
  • Cut Big T for Michele
  • Cut Liv (who now doesn’t have the connection with Big T) for Lauren O’Connell (Survivor 38)
  • Cut Amber B (pre-jury boot from 5 years prior) for Christie Murphy (BBUS21)

Season 37: Proving Ground

TL;DR — instead of a bunch of random f*cking nobodies, this will be a Gauntlet 4, with 3 teams (like we got for some of the season) — rookies who have done 0 or 1 challenge, regulars who have done 2–4, and veterans who have done 5 or more.

Ultimate subtracted all the newbies except Michaela, Kelz, and Ed — and added Savannah P and Dean K. We have more than enough fresh talent in this timeline.

Also added Nehemiah, Derrick, Marie, Jonna, Brett, Hunter, Theo C, Ashley C, Sylvia, Kellyanne, Jenny, Georgia, Adam P, Jeremiah B, Lauren O, Natalie A, and Cooke. Then subtracted CT, Josh, Cory, Kaycee, Nany, Big T, Amber B, and Aneesa.


Devin, Nelson, Kyle, Nehemiah, Derrick

Tori, Amanda, Ashley M, Marie, Jonna


Fessy, Brett, Hunter, Theo C, Ashley C

Sylvia, Kellyanne, Jenny, Georgia, Michele


Adam, Jeremiah B, Kelz, Ed, Dean Kowalski (Survivor 39)

Lauren O, Natalie A, Cooke, Michaela Bradshaw, Savannah Palacio (The Circle US 2)

Season 38: The Ruins Remixed

With a large team season on S37 and interest from All Stars players, season 38 could actually be another Ruins, or Remixed — champs paired with non-winners in same-gender duos. Possibilities for

Champ Men

CT, Wes, Johnny, Brad, Yes, Derrick, Nehemiah, Rogan, Hunter, Turbo, Jordan, MJ, Tyler, Darrell, Mark L, Syrus…

Champ Women

Ashley M, Cara Maria, Laurel, Veronica, Jonna, Jenny, Jodi, Kendal, Katie, Dee (who would not have been cancelled in this timeline), Tori D (who would’ve won S34 in this timeline), Amber B (who didn’t appear in this timeline), Kaycee (who didn’t win in this timeline but whatever)…

And then throw in whomever you want who hasn’t yet won, and badda bing, badda boom, you have a format that will guarantee 2 new champs and where each pair will have at least one experienced player, so it’s not as chalky as rIIIvals or SLA.


What do y’all think?




I write about MTV’s The Challenge, with a queer / social justice / critical analysis bent. #UnspoiledGang