12 Questions About The Big Challenge News: What is War of the Worlds?

Brian Batty
9 min readFeb 17, 2022


On Monday morning I wrote my latest Pluto Rewind about an episode that aired like seven years ago. Then it got absolutely buried by a Challenge news dump of epic proportions, rendering my article completely irrelevant to anything anyone would be interested in. And with so much news to parse through, I shockingly had some questions. So I decided to have a conversation with myself like a crazy person and come up with some answers for all of us…

1) How are you holding up?

Okay I guess. Quitting my job was the best decision ever made, but now even the $2 beers I only pay for half of at my corner bar are getting kind of expensive. I don’t want to sell my Bitcoin, but I might have to. This baseball lock-out is kind of a drag. Nothing like being broke and watching millionaires and billionaires be equally as selfish while I just want to watch a Cubs game and manage my fantasy baseball team…what’s that?

2) Nobody cares dude.

Copy that. Moving on.

3) Can you sum all of this Challenge news for me?

Probably not, but I’ll do my best. Sounds to me like The Challenge got a raise. They’re movin on up to the East Side to a deluxe streaming service in the sky.

Some time, many moons ago, Rob Dyrdek kidnapped Kurt Loder’s daughter and threw her into the hole in Buffalo Bill’s basement (are you about a size 14?), demanding that they play Ridiculous as much as possible in return for her safety. And so that’s what they did. I’m sure if you went and turned on MTV right this second, Chanel West Coast would be laughing at an unfunny video recorded in someone’s kitchen somewhere in rural South Carolina.

This decision, while making (I’m sure) bottom line sense on paper to a bunch of crusty white guys in suits somewhere presented as pie charts by the analytics team they hired, was the boar that stabbed MTV in the ribcage, infecting it, and slowly causing it to die out creating the spark that lit chaos around the realm.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard people (mostly people who didn’t even watch it) complaining that MTV “didn’t even play music videos anymore”. It’s not new. MTV has been a reality television network for a long time. And what sprung from it was magic. The Real World, Road Rules (for awhile), Jersey Shore, and I guess a lot of people (I don’t know who they are) like Teen Mom too. And those are just some of the wonderful programs that informed the adolescence of so many twenty to thirty somethings out there. A ton of us grew up on the reality that MTV created for us, whether our parents liked it or not.

But most of that magic is gone now. It’s Ridiculousness marathons that are sometimes interrupted by an episode of the equally frivolous Catfish. And so where does The Challenge fit on MTV? Where does it fit into the dinosaur pit that cable TV is becoming overall.

It doesn’t.

So it’s gotta grow up. It’s gotta expand. The Challenge has outgrown it’s childhood bedroom, and they’re finally moving out.

4) Okay, well that didn’t really answer my question. So, thanks, but what is actually going on?

Based on what I can surmise, launching soon (?) on Paramount+ will be a series of shows under the umbrella of The Challenge: War of the Worlds. Not to be confused with, The Challenge: War of the Worlds which was the name of an actual season of the show. Does that make sense? No. Will it probably lead to some confusion down the line? Probably.

This venture will entail a Challenge from Argentina, Australia, and The U.K. As well as a Challenge airing on CBS (yes, like, as in the basic cable channel) called The Challenge: CBS (lol). This will all coalesce into a fresh show, tournament style (I think?), where the winners of each show will go head to head on something called War of the Worlds.

I can only assume that the Argentina versions and the Australia versions will have all brand new people, but the U.K. one is tricky. Does Kyle Count? Does Big T count? Could we see the returns of Georgia, Joss, maybe even Theo the Phenomenally Phast Pirate? I guess we’ll have to see, but my guess would be that it’ll be similar to the Argentina/Australia versions with a fresh cast of brand new people to toss off the side of semi-trucks.

The CBS one is a bit trickier though. My guess would be people from shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and CSI: Miami. But that’s a whole new can of worms. Less Survivor than Big Brother, but let’s not forget that the last two woman champions have been from Big Brother. Kaycee and Amber belong to the flagship show for eternity now. Their names are, like it or not, etched in stone.

My guess (hope) is the same as the others. All new people. All fresh faces.

5) Am I going to be able to watch all of these?

I guess it all depends on the type of person you are. In the article it is mentioned that they’ll be available in those markets. So if you live in Australia you get that one and yada yada.

If you’re the type of person with any sort of internet savvy, I’ve gotta imagine there will be a way to acquire these episodes via nefarious means or otherwise. I mean we sent a man to the moon like fifty years ago, so what’s really off limits at this point?

But if you’re a troglodyte like me, I got two words for ya…good luck. I stopped being good at computers a long time ago. I couldn’t even help my dad figure out how to scan a picture in the proper size when I was visiting my parents last week. I may or may not have slapped the side of the scanner like a primate at one point. Our collective age at during that half hour window was seven hundred and eight.

But luckily for us morons out there, the CBS show will be available to you if you have a Paramount+ subscription or you can buy one of those analog antenna things I use to watch The Bachelor on ABC.

6) Okay, so what does this mean for All-Stars though?

Well, in this same press release, we found out that Season 3 will begin on May 11th!

7) May 11th? That’s like a million years away!

Yeah, you’re tellin me. I can only do so many Pluto Rewinds…

8) Okay, but what about, like, The Challenge. You know, like the actual show?

It could mean a million different things, or it could mean nothing.

I mean let’s face it, the way they’ve casted rookies lately hasn’t led to much that sticks. The pickles are sliding right off the window. So if the idea is to use these international iterations as a minor leagues of sorts, well that is certainly one idea to improve upon their current process.

Instead of grabbing people who are good on other reality shows and hoping they’ll be good at The Challenge, they’re grabbing people who are already good at The Challenge to be on The Challenge.

Though, it’s easy to spot the pessimistic lens with which to view these changes. Could it spell death for this thing we all love so much? I mean, probably not. If the Challenge Gods are getting this active, it would be hard to believe they’ll let the head of the dragon just wilt away and die. But, there is a chance that the product will get watered down. I mean, how many different ways are there to do a Challenge? How many different twists are even possible?

Are there really endless ways they can create daily challenges? I’ve been all for repeating the good ones for a long time. But now, that will almost become a necessity. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe on a long enough timeline, the possibilities are truly endless. All it really is is just getting creatively from point A to point B.

This part I really hate admitting. Because even saying it out loud (or typing it in the case) makes me worried I may have just spoke it into existence……but this reminds me a lot of when somebody said “Let’s spice up The Real World!” and then four seasons later it vanished without a sight. I already lost The Real World, I refuse to lose this one too.

But, despite every cynical bone in my body recoiling, I see it another way. The more Challenge the better. It’s not like ice cream, you’re not going to get a stomach ache from too much of it. It’s just a show. You can always just turn it off.

I’ve never understood complaining about how long seasons are. Sure, the longer the season, the more blanks they shoot. But, at the end of the day (shout out Nany), it’s a new episode of The Challenge. My favorite show is giving me an hour more of it. We all have our butts to scratch with anything that we love (stop trying to make Fetch/Fessy happen, please for the love of anything pure and joyful. He’s one of the least interesting people I’ve ever had the chance to watch on TV), but every week that glides by on the tough terrain of life glides by much better when there’s a new episode of The Challenge on my television in some form or another.

I kicked a gift horse in the mouth one time and it took a shit on my foot. Is there a metaphor in that? Maybe. Did I just make that up? Probably.

9) Yeah that’s great and all, but when is it coming back on?

Hard to say, really, considering they haven’t called me for my opinion on anything since The Gauntlet 3. They also owe me money from they-know-what but we’ll talk about that later. Based on nothing besides gut feeling, we probably won’t see the mothership blast off until at least August.

I’ve been wrong before (I sat in my boss’s office talking about the World Series before this last one and said “I can see any team besides the Braves winning this year.” The lesson, as always, I’m an idiot.) and I hope I’m wrong again. I don’t want to wait until I’m already sick of summer for the Real Deal Holyfield to come back to my life, but it’s not like they’re hibernating (see: the seven hundred spin off shows they just announced).

10) Well, are the people from the Argentinian/Australian/U.K./CBS(?) version eligible for the main show?

I guess so?

11) What even is the real show anymore?

Philosophers have been debating that across centuries. Some would say reality begins and ends with each person, and that there are infinite realities all playing out at the same time. I would argue that perception is reality, and that it’s more of a….what’s that?

12) I was asking about the show you idiot. What even is “The Challenge” as we once knew it anymore?

This started a little bit when the Champs vs. Pros/Stars series came out. Because it was for charity, it still remained a different thing. But the cracks in the bubble started showing. The Challenge was becoming something beyond “The Challenge”. It was just dipping its toes in the waters.

Champs Vs. Pros/Stars was the seed that sprouted into what we have now.

It’s official now, and All Stars was the Kool-Aid man breaking through the walls the Champ Vs. chipped away at. One thing that I think it’s important to compartmentalize is that the rigid walls with which we once lived with this show in have completely melted and we are now all wading in the enormous pool that is “The Challenge”.

As far as the main show goes, well, it’s The Show now. It’s where you want to get to. It’s for a million dollars. I imagine the prize money for the rest of these won’t exceed the All Stars final money (500,000 thousand). Leaving the real show as the place to be. You wanna be the best? That’s where your bread is buttered.

I’d go as far as to say that this only makes The Show that much more important. The amount of mouths chomping at the bit to get to that spot will be vicious. And as long as the Challenge Gods cast in the right ways (a little less Nam, and a little more darkness in the soul) there’s no way they won’t find what they need to replace the Wes’s, the Nany’s, and all the rest of those we’re one day gonna lose to…well I guess we’ll probably just see them on All Stars.

Viva la Real World!



Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. Inquires: WillaMediaManagement@gmail.com -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn