MTV’s ‘The Challenge’ Will Be Back for Season 36 After ‘Total Madness’

MTV has one of the longest-running reality TV shows in history — and it’s The Challenge. While the show started with competitors from The Real World and Road Rules going head to head to win big prize money, the show’s world has expanded. Now, fan favorites are from shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and Geordie Shore, which makes for a seriously diverse cast.

It looks like season 35, Total Madness, has proven to be a success for the network, as they just announced the show’s renewed for Season 36. Here’s what we know.

‘The Challenge: Total Madness’ came with a serious twist

RELATED: ‘The Challenge’: Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio Said ‘Total Madness’ Is the Most Depressed He’s Ever Been in His Life

Those who’ve watched The Challenge from the beginning know each season comes with its own twists and turns. And season 35 was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Contestants lived in an underground bunker instead of the typical beautiful Challenge house that’s in a tropical location. And they also had to earn their right to enter the finale by winning against another competitor in an elimination round.

The twist has been well-received by both competitors and fans. And it seems it was put into place after the debacle that occurred with Season 34. On War of the Worlds 2, many competitors used their social prowess to skate straight through to the end without ever seeing an elimination — and host T.J. Lavin made it clear that wouldn’t be happening on Total Madness.

“This season, you’re here to prove that you’re the best,” Lavin told competitors. “I’m done with people skating by. The only way to make it into a final is to win an elimination.”

MTV renewed the show for another season

It looks like The Challenge will officially be back for season 36. Entertainment Weekly notes MTV renewed the show because of the remarkably high ratings it earned at the beginning of season 35. The publication notes Total Madness had the highest-rated season premiere in 14 years, and viewership is up 10% overall.

This seems to contradict what Challenge stars Cara Maria Sorbello and Paulie Calafiore said about Total Madness, too. While the stars were heavily featured in War of the Worlds 2, they didn’t participate in season 35. And they pointed out that the show’s ratings started dipping midway through the season.

“With THIS format AND the elimination twist the viewers/ratings should have never dropped. Cast has been a flop and other than the rookies the competition sucks,” Calafiore noted on Twitter. “Let’s hope this second wave of coronavirus can revive the viewers, we need them for the future.”

Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio predicted ‘The Challenge’ would continue

MTV and Mountain Dew Spiked Lemonade present The 2017 MTV Beach House with Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio
MTV and Mountain Dew Spiked Lemonade present The 2017 MTV Beach House with Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio | Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for MTV

While Sorbello and Calafiore expressed concern over the ratings, veteran player Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio never had any doubts that the show would be back. The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrown a wrench into reality TV as a whole. But Devenanzio told the Challenge Mania podcast that MTV would figure out a way to continue on with the show — and it seems he was correct.

“Things are definitely looking good for the fans out there that are hoping to get another Challenge in by 2021,” Devenanzio told the podcast. “We are at the mercy of the same situations and issues that everyone else is. This pandemic definitely threw a wrench in the original plans, I believe … but, we’re able to adjust, we’re able to adapt, and yeah … we’re getting geared up just like every other television show, everyone else.

He then added that “not even a pandemic has the ability to hold The Challenge back,” which is certainly encouraging for fans.

As for who will rejoin the cast for season 36, we’re not sure. But we know Devenanzio is in it for the long haul, and his enemy-turned-friend, Wes Bergmann, also started making jokes about the new season. Perhaps this means the duo will be back.

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