‘The Challenge’: 5 Shows to Watch if You Love the MTV Reality Competition Series

Since its premiere in 1998, MTV’s long-running reality series The Challenge has inspired several spinoffs. The action-packed competition series pits former contestants from the MTV shows Road Rules and The Real World against each other in extreme physical and mental challenges. Winners take home a cash prize of $500,000. If you’re a fan, here are five reality TV shows like The Challenge you need to watch next.

shows like The Challenge, MTV reality TV shows
‘The Challenge XXX: Dirty 30’ cast members in July 2017 | Lars Niki/Getty Images for MTV

‘Alone’ (2015–present)

Alone is a survival competition show that first aired on the History Channel in 2015. Each season follows a group of 10 people who must survive in the harsh Canadian wilderness, carrying only what they can fit into a backpack, per IMDb.

As the title suggests, each contestant is alone in a remote area with potentially dangerous terrain. They must hunt, build shelters, and even fend off bears while documenting their experiences to win the grand prize of $500,000. 

Although Alone isn’t a team competition like The Challenge, fans of the latter can still appreciate the survival competition’s nonstop action, as participants fight for their lives while braving the elements. It’s as nailbiting as some of the extreme games in The Challenge — just significantly more unpredictable.

‘The Amazing Race’ (2001–present) 

This adventure competition show takes participants around the world. Each season of The Amazing Race consists of 12 teams of two people that race against one other by completing intense challenges in foreign countries with hopes of taking home a $1 million prize.

The CBS hit reality show has won 10 Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. The series’ 34th season will premiere on September 21.

The Amazing Race requires contestants to think on their feet as they deduce clues, navigate public transportation, and travel from location to location — all without getting booted from the show. The goal is not to be the last team to reach a checkpoint.

It’s similar to The Challenge for its relentless physically and mentally taxing competitions and often requires players to actively work against each other to win.

‘American Ninja Warrior’ (2009–present)

If you’re a fan of the stuntwork in The Challenge, you’ll enjoy NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. The popular show pits some of the greatest athletes against each another in elaborate obstacle courses, which increase in difficulty each episode.

Every season, the show takes participants to various cities across the United States. Each competitor tries to advance to the National Finals to win the title of “American Ninja Warrior,” along with a cash prize. However, it’s no easy feat — even for some of the world’s top athletes. Only three competitors have achieved “total victory” in the series’ 14 seasons.

Although American Ninja Warrior might lack the drama that The Challenge boasts among its contestants, it’s still fun to watch for viewers who appreciate athletes pushing their bodies to their limits on tricky — and undeniably fun-to-watch — obstacle courses.

‘Survivor’ (2000–present)

Another triumph for CBS, Survivor is one of the most successful reality competition shows, with the series gearing up to air its season 43 premiere in September.

In the show, 16 contestants are left stranded in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, where they’re forced to survive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Each episode, a contestant is voted off the island. The last “survivor” standing is the winner, taking home a $1 million cash prize. Contestants can also compete for “luxuries” every week, such as a phone call home or immunity.

Survivor and The Challenge both require participants to be adaptable, athletic, and strategic to win. In addition, numerous Survivor alums have appeared on The Challenge, including Tyson Apostol, Ben Driebergen, and Sarah Lacina.

‘Big Brother’ (2000–present)

CBS’s hit reality show Big Brother follows a group of strangers living together in a studio-like house for two action-packed months. Cameras and microphones throughout the home capture the participants’ every move 24/7. Fans can even watch “live feeds” online to see everything happening inside the house. Each week, a “Houseguest” gets voted out until one remains. The winner takes home $500,000.

Although Big Brother contestants might be much more closely monitored than those in The Challenge, both shows abound with betrayals, alliances, and nonstop drama among the players. Fans will also like the physical stunts in Big Brother, which determine the daily “Head of Household” and the ultimate winner.

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