Competitions that The Challenge Should Borrow from Other Shows

In order to survive beyond the ending of MTV’s The Real World, The Challenge has needed to pivot and has now been bringing on competitors from various different reality shows. Many of those players have made a significant mark on the show, and their successful integration into The Challenge universe got me thinking that it could be interesting to see some notable competitions from those other shows also brought over to The Challenge.

Often times other shows are constrained by certain things, for example, Survivor needs to be able to be done in an island setting. On Big Brother, they have limited space since all of their competitions take place in the house/backyard, and The Amazing Race has to be filmed on the go. The Challenge doesn’t have these constraints, so the competitions would not have to be kept exactly the same.

Additionally, the Challenge is a more physically demanding competition, so if production were to bring competitions from other shows they would have to ramp up the difficulty and make them more extreme. I would not want to see them recreated exactly the same as on their original show, but instead for that premise to be an inspiration to build on and adapt to make it feel more like a daily competition made for The Challenge.

Challenges to borrow from The Amazing Race:

Normally the very last thing racers have to do before they cross the finish line on The Amazing Race is a difficult memory challenge that tests the teams on a bunch of information from over the course of the season. I think that this could be a cool concept to adapt for The Challenge.

I think that it would fit best as either the final daily on a Challenge season or even as one of the checkpoints in the final. A final memory challenge like this could be a good mental challenge that would feel fresh. The Challenge often ends up using the same types of puzzles that we have seen many times or more recently basic math equations. But a memory challenge would test the same skill in a more unique and interesting way. In addition, a challenge about what has happened earlier that season would also be a good opportunity for the competitors to look back at the season and reminisce about their journey naturally without it feeling forced.

This Roadblock from the most recent season of The Amazing Race is something that I thought was incredibly fun. The players had to go canyoning through a 2.4 km river course, which included leaping off of small cliffs into pools in the river, riding down a zipline, and sliding down portions of the canyon. On The Amazing Race, a lot of the more extreme tasks end up being more about fear, like walking on a narrow rocky mountain path or jumping from a high building. In comparison, this task was extreme while also being physically challenging and therefore I think it could be a good fit for The Challenge.

Assuming The Challenge house is close to a mountain river that has something like this already or the ability to set something up, seeing the competitors from The Challenge doing something like this perhaps in place of a minifinal could be really awesome to see. Ideally, since The Challenge is a more difficult show, I think having a longer course would be ideal, though a 2.4 km course like they did on The Amazing Race could still work. Regardless though, this would be an exciting daily to see people like CT, Kyle, Nelson, Tori, Kaycee, or Kam tackle.

Challenges to borrow from Big Brother:

Big Brother commonly uses endurance competitions that can, at times, last many hours. This one, in particular, has the players holding onto a rope with a small disk at the end for their feet and revolving around while also bouncing off obstacles. It has been used over and over on Big Brother and though it looks relatively silly it can be a really difficult endurance competition.

I feel like The Challenge does not often use endurance competitions that are not a traditional final or Mini final and this one from Big Brother could be used well to test that skill. In my mind, the best way for The Challenge to adapt this is to make it less of a slow burn and instead more exciting. First of all, they could move the spinning contraption on a crane over the water instead of a few feet above a gym mat. Secondly, I would love to see this set up spinning faster if it were to be used on The Challenge

Since not all of the dailies on The Challenge are about pure athleticism, this is one that I could see borrowed from Big Brother and executed in a really enjoyable way. This competition is about overcoming the sensory deprivation of complete darkness to get out of a pitch-black room. There have been a few versions of this competition, but what is always true is the complete darkness and the players racing through a black box and navigating obstacles.

In the version that I would want to see on The Challenge, competitors would search through the dark room to find a way out while avoiding the obstacles and without being tricked by the many decoy exits. I think this could be a fun competition to use as a daily challenge. It reminds me of other dailies that have been used, such as Survive the Night from Double Agents where they were trapped in a cell and had to figure their way out.

Challenges to borrow from Survivor:

Out on a Limb is a classic Survivor Immunity Challenge played late in the game (sometimes as the very last immunity); the players race across a set of different obstacles, one at a time, to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces. Once they have all their pieces they then put together a puzzle in order to win. It is a great challenge because it tests a variety of different skills and many players can all compete at one time.

Out on a Limb could be run on The Challenge as is, but I think there are a couple of small changes in order to make it a better fit for the show. First of all, they could simply update the design of the challenge to fit with whatever theme The Challenge is going for on that season (in place of the island-type aesthetic). The more substantive change I would potentially make would be to increase the distance to each obstacle, making stamina a bigger part of the competition instead of pure agility and quickness.

The final competition I think The Challenge should borrow from another show is called Jail Break, which has been used repeatedly on Survivor. It has most often been used in the Redemption Island twist between two (or sometimes more) castaways who are trying to earn their way back in the game. The players are locked behind a door and need to construct a pole out of sticks and twine that is both long enough and strong enough in order to unhook a key from a post and unlock their door.

Unlike the other competitions I have discussed where they would be good options for a daily challenge, I think a variation of Jail Break could be a great elimination round since that is how it is often used on Survivor. I think a good element to be added for The Challenge would be to require the competitors to climb up a wall in order to release the supplies to make their poles instead of simply giving supplies to the players from the start. Aside from that change, I do not think there is much else that needs to be adapted. This competition is great, and it is one I would be happy to see on The Challenge in the future.



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Henry L DiMaria

I blog primarily about The Challenge but occasionally stretch into other reality TV @HenryLDiMaria