We will be getting a new season of The Challenge on CBS this summer and there have definitely been some mixed feelings in the fan community about having a cast entirely made up of people from CBS properties who have never been on a Challenge season before. We have seen a number of players make their way to The Challenge from other CBS shows, including Big Brother, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Love Island. From Survivor we got Jay who debuted on Total Madness, followed by Natalie Anderson on Double Agents, and then Michaela, Michelle & Tommy (as well as numerous international players) on Spies, Lies, and Allies.
Obviously, these shows are each dramatically different from one another. A lot of the people that are great on Survivor are not a good fit for The Challenge, although survivor is rapidly becoming a significant place for The Challenge production to draw contestants from. Since Survivor 42 recently wrapped up, it is time to go through the cast and determine which castaways could be good additions on The Challenge and which should just stay home.
*SPOILERS FOR SURVIVOR 42 OBVIOUSLY*
You can find all of my other Scouting Reports here:
The Amazing Race, Survivor 41, Big Brother 23, The Circle Seasons 2 & 3, Big Brother Canada 9, Earlier Survivor, Earlier Big Brother & The Circle Season 1
I am breaking down the cast members from each show into one of four categories: “Not Right for The Challenge”, “I’m not excited for them but they might be a fit for the CBS Challenge”, “Good Casting Choice” and “Absolutely! Why aren’t they already cast?”
Not Right for The Challenge
Daniel was a relatively fun character over the first few episodes of Survivor but he is not a fit for The Challenge. He is a really small guy and proved himself to be a liability in the Survivor challenges which does not bode well. In addition to him struggling to keep up athletically, he was also a mess socially and is not a fit for a more intense show.
Jackson was forced to leave Survivor on day three due to a health condition. Considering that, he would be a really odd choice to bring over to The Challenge. Regardless of having an interesting story, he is 48 years old and since he was not able to medically compete on Survivor The Challenge is not the right place for him.
Jenny really ended up getting screwed over on this past season of Survivor. She was among the alliance that seemed to have the majority, but when two members of that alliance unexpectedly lost their votes, a paranoid ally betrayed her and sent her home. That being said, her getting a second shot on tv should be on a show more like Survivor. She doesn’t seem like a Challenge competitor to me.
Marya is another perfect example of the kind of person that is right for a show like Survivor, which draws people “from all walks of life” to play. Survivor offers the opportunity to be successful without needing to be a great physical competitor, which is of course not how The Challenge works. Marya struggled to connect with people socially, she is not an athlete and at 47 years old is significantly older than the majority of people competing even on All Stars.
I grew to really like Romeo over the course of this past Survivor season but he is not the kind of guy that should make the move to a more intense physical show like Survivor. He made it to the final 3 by avoiding being seen as a threat and taking advantage of the fact that other players were bigger threats and he was willing to vote for anybody to stay. The problem is that in order to successfully play that kind of “Mercenary” style game on The Challenge you need to be a physically intimidating player, which Romeo certainly is not. In fact, Romeo would be the smallest guy on the show by a wide margin and I could not see it going well.
Swati is an intelligent and strategic young woman and I enjoyed her during the time she was on Survivor. However, she does not fit the drama and party atmosphere of many Challengers and is also not a really special athletic competitor so it does not make sense for her to be brought on.
Zach was the first boot of this past season of Survivor; he is not super athletic, messed up in a puzzle, and strategically played himself out of the game in just one Survivor episode. If somebody made the decision to bring him on to The Challenge as well I fear that history would repeat itself.
I’m not excited for them but they might be a fit for the CBS Challenge
Lydia is somebody who belongs in the quirky young girl category which is an archetype that a lot of other shows like to cast (including Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and The Circle). However, these types of people rarely are chosen for The Challenge. She was not a great competitor, but some of the more quirky girls that have gotten cast have turned out to be big stars (like CaraMaria or Sarah Rice), in part because they offer a change of pace compared to the typical people cast on the show. Does Lydia seem like she is in the same shape as people like Sarah or CaraMaria? No, but there’s a small chance she could be an exception.
Mike was one of the people who made me adjust this category altogether because of his age, which makes him not a good fit for The regular Challenge. However, there is a chance that he could appear on a future season of the CBS Challenge since that (alleged) cast skews significantly older and he is in good shape. I think he is a fun personality and played a really impressive social game. For now, he is doubtful but up in the air for me until there is more information available about the CBS Challenge.
Rocksroy falls into the same category as Mike does for me. Although compared to Mike he is significantly closer in age to players that do appear on the normal Challenge, so it would not be as big of a stretch at all if the CBS Challenge (alleged) cast is accurate. Rocksroy is a good athlete and also argumentative, stubborn, and a bit controlling, which in terms of causing drama is great. For the main Challenge he is doubtful, but if there are more seasons of the CBS Challenge I think Rocksroy would be a great fit.
Throughout most of the game, Omar absolutely dominated strategically, being able to take out several big threats while keeping himself relatively under the radar. He is a really smart guy and was in pretty good shape for a show like Survivor, but The Challenge is a different animal physically and I think he would be overmatched. Omar has a career as a Veterinarian so he is not likely the type of person that is able to drop off everything to do more reality tv.
Maryanne is a really big personality and she ended up playing a strong strategic game, notably taking Omar out of the game in a 3–2–2 vote. She is on the small side physically but there have been players of a similar size who’ve had different levels of success on The Challenge like Tori Hall, Kendal, Diem and Big T. Maryanne would have to prove that she has a similar kind of fight as those ladies if she came over to The Challenge.
Good Casting Choice
Chanelle did not make it too far on this Survivor season, getting taken out quickly after the merge. She made a major miscalculation that blew up her game but she was able to fight and make it through a few tribal councils after that and has a lot of potential. I think she would be a good choice for the Challenge since she is not afraid to play the game hard and is decent athletically and has an entertaining personality.
Tori’s time on this season of Survivor was definitely volatile, with her getting into disagreements with several people (most notably Rocksroy) and proving herself to be untrustworthy by repeatedly blowing up people’s plans. She showed herself to be a strong physical competitor, winning the first two immunity challenges after the merge. She has good athleticism and has a lot of potential for drama. Casting her on a season of The Challenge would be a good move.
I really liked Hai. He was a cutthroat strategic player, smart, good physically, and could throw shade with the best of them. In addition to all of that Hai would make for strong representation both as an Asian man and a gay man both of which are underrepresented on The Challenge. I think that he is somebody that could bring a lot in confessionals, in gameplay, and athletically. I hope that production looks to bring him on for a future season.
Drea is another person that came on to this season of Survivor ready to play the game hard. She had four advantages over the course of the season and was a big player strategically. On top of that Drea is a strong physical competitor, winning an individual immunity and working in the fitness industry professionally. She is in her mid-thirties so she would not be the youngest of rookies on The Challenge, but I think she is still somebody worth considering particularly since The Challenge has been casting significantly older.
Absolutely! Why aren’t they already cast?
There were two major physical competitors that went back and forth as the game winded down in this Survivor season and even though Jonathan has gotten the majority of the attention from Challenge fans, Lindsey has me just as excited. She is an excellent physical competitor and also played a really solid strategic game. Lindsey also has a fun personality that I think would mesh well in the atmosphere of The Challenge. Bringing in her blend as a strong competitor, good strategic play and fun personality would be a big boon for The Challenge.
As I mentioned above, there were two clear-cut top physical competitors going head to head in the immunity challenges in the late game; Lindsay and Jonathan. Early on this season fans of both shows pointed to Jonathan with his (at times) dominant performances in tribal challenges as somebody that could have a lot of success on The Challenge. He continued to perform well athletically throughout the rest of the season and was an entertaining personality. I agree with the majority of fans that Jonathan is clearly a great choice and hope he is on a Challenge soon.