‘The Challenge’: A Past Winner Quit the Show Because He Was ‘Furious’ With MTV Production

MTV’s The Challenge cast some seriously good players in the past. And Tyler Duckworth is certainly ranked amongst the greats. While Duckworth got his start on The Real World, he proved through his physical prowess that he was a force to be reckoned with on the early seasons of The Challenge. But it seems he has a sordid history with the show.

Here’s what Duckworth told the Challenge Mania podcast about his experience on the show and why he ultimately decided to be done with it after production infuriated him.

Tyler Duckworth won a number of ‘Challenge’ seasons

Tyler Duckworth arrives at MTV's Real World Awards Bash at the Sunset Plaza House on March 15, 2008
Tyler Duckworth arrives at MTV’s Real World Awards Bash at the Sunset Plaza House on March 15, 2008 | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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There are plenty of amazing Challenge players who’ve competed over the last few decades. Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio is often cited as the best male contestant to ever compete, as he’s the most decorated with wins. But we can’t forget about Devenanzio’s real-life friend, Duckworth.

Duckworth got his start with MTV’s The Real World: Siesta Key. After that, he went on to compete on Challenge seasons such as The Duel, The Gauntlet III, Cutthroat, and Rivals, Medium notes. Out of those seasons, Duckworth won Cutthroat and Rivals.

Duckworth didn’t come on to The Challenge scene initially as a great competitor. But once he returned to Cutthroat in 2010, he was a physical force to reckoned with. For Rivals in 2011, Duckworth teamed up with Devenanzio, and he proved once again that he was a fierce competitor. He stands as one of the only men on the show to win back-to-back seasons.

Duckworth said MTV production made him ‘furious’

Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio, Zach Mann, and Tyler Duckworth
Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio, Zach Mann, and Tyler Duckworth | Tom Grizzle/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

It’s clear Duckworth would’ve likely dominated the game if he came back after Rivals. But he recently spoke to the Challenge Mania podcast about his issues with MTV production that ultimately made him furious. According to Duckworth, he was yanked around by production when it came to him competing on Free Agents in 2014.

“I didn’t necessarily retire on my own accord,” Duckworth said. “I was supposed to go on Free Agents, and I was kind of struggling because I was just about to start this new corporate gig and it was going to be a lot of international travel. But I kind of had that one more in me.”

Duckworth then noted that Scott Freeman, Vice President of Bunim Murray Productions, called him with bad news right before Free Agents was set to start. “He gave me a call … and I just got a sinking feeling in my stomach, like this isn’t good,” Duckworth noted. “And he’s like, just due to a weird casting switch, unfortunately, we’re not gonna need you. And I was so pissed.”

Duckworth then told Freeman, “listen, I gotta live my life. If you guys are gonna be that fickle, I can’t do that. … After that, I kind of shut the door on it. I actually never watched that season because I was so furious.”

Duckworth said he gets ‘jealous’ watching competitors on the show now

Tyler Duckworth attends the 17th annual GLAAD Media Awards
Tyler Duckworth attends the 17th annual GLAAD Media Awards | Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

It sounds like Duckworth would be willing to give The Challenge another shot if offered the opportunity. He told the podcast that he’ll watch some of the more current seasons and feel jealous that he’s no longer competing.

“Truthfully, it gets me so worked up because I still feel like I could contend with it, and I get so jealous,” Duckworth said. “I get so jealous because it’s like, I wanna do that. And I can still do that. … And I see some of these kids and I’m like, you don’t even know what I did to get on the show. … You guys didn’t earn that spot. We earned it. So I get jealous.”

Will we ever see Duckworth back on the small screen? We’re not sure, as MTV continues to welcome new competitors each season. But there’s no doubt he’s known as one of the show’s greatest players.

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