Building the Best Challenge CBS War of the Worlds Cast (That We Will Never Get)
Paramount recently announced that the Challenge brand would be expanding with a Summer “War of the Worlds” special consisting of four/five spin-offs: The Challenge: Argentina, The Challenge: Australia, The Challenge: U.K., and The Challenge: CBS (United States Version). The winners of each spin-off will then face off against one another.
There are many pros and cons to these announcements. The biggest pro is the Challenge brand is stronger than ever as we now have the main seasons of the Challenge, The OG Challenge All-Stars spin-offs, and now this third brand which will consist of CBS reality stars. The biggest con is the main show already feels far removed from its Real World/Road Rules origins, and this CBS spin-off only creates more levels of separation for long-time fans of the franchise. My biggest takeaway is at least we have options now. If you only enjoy the originals, stick to All-Stars. If you like new blood, watch the other spin-offs. If you enjoy it all, watch it all.
While there will be loads of complaints about this CBS version of the Challenge; if you told me five years ago we would be getting the Survivor/CBS All-Star Challenge, I would have thought you were someone who had been making too many fantasy casts on Stan Twitter. It is now a reality, and thus, let’s have some fun, and let’s fantasy cast.
HOW I BUILT THIS CAST (You can skip this if you don’t need an explanation and just want to skim around the cast list.)
The Challenge: CBS Early Speculation- Paramount+
The Challenge: CBS Early Speculation- Paramount+
The Challenge: CBS Early Speculation- Paramount+vevmo.com
For starters, MY CAST IS NOT REALISTIC based on all the casting spoilers and rumors I’ve seen. Above, I listed the Vevmo and Reddit threads about casting rumors and speculation. Listen to PinkRose on Vevmo above all, and for Twitter users, keep your eyes peeled on @GamerVev for updates/casting spoilers in the coming days as March 10th is the reported departure date.
It is called Fantasy Casting, though, and most of the names I see rumored are not in any person’s fantasy. Let’s try to build a cast that could “realistically” happen in a world where CBS dropped the bags ($$$) to get some big names and then some decent characters to build around those big names. Hell, we just had an all former winner Survivor Season and a Big Brother All-Star season where most players got decent appearance fees. Thus, when creating this, I am putting names I believe the higher powers at CBS could “convince” to get on any reality show.
When creating this cast, I had two simple guidelines: are they a big enough name, or would they physically do well/be entertaining at least? It’s a simple criterion that has been escaping MTV lately. For my cast, I only looked at people from Big Brother and Survivor. Apologies to cast members from the Amazing Race, Love Island, Mike & Molly, Tough as Nails, Undercover Boss, and Young Sheldon. Additionally, I tried to blend in some familiar faces MTV fans have seen on the main seasons of the Challenge without adding the people fans are tired of (Josh, Kaycee, etc.). Last keynote: CBS signed a deal in 2020 where Reality TV programs will have at least 50% diversity/minorities, which is awesome for inclusivity. Finally, let’s drop some names.
Natalie Anderson & Parvati Shallow
Challenge fans got a brief glimpse of Natalie on Double Agents, where she took out 2x Champion Ashley Mitchell in a heated first elimination of the season. Natalie is a former Survivor winner, an Amazing Race competitor, and is an all-around beast of a human being. She is someone who both CBS & MTV fans would love to see.
Parvati is another former Sole Survivor and is one of the female faces of the franchise. When she was in her Reality TV prime during the mid to late 00s, Parv’s character and personality would have transitioned amazingly into the Challenge. A decade later, Parv is now a mom in her late 30s. Though I think she still has the competitive itch in her. Parv talked on a podcast last October about declining a Challenge casting call not because she has zero interest but because her life was a bit all over the place at the time. I think part of Parv wishes she had gotten to compete on the Challenge when she was 25, so if the money is right for her family, then maybe she’d be willing to go on. CBS fans will definitely tune in for Parv, so let’s write a check and make it happen.
Michaela Bradshaw & Sydney Segal
The fact we only got one episode of Michaela on Spies, Lies & Allies was an absolute travesty. Michaela checks every box you want; she is charismatic, intelligent (graduated High School with a 4.8 GPA), and is crazy athletic as she ran Track & Field at the collegiate level.
Similarly, Survivor 41’s Sydney Segal checks many boxes: fit Law Student who was a state cross country champion and is willing to be messy. Sydney gets on some people’s nerves with her level of self-importance, yet, that might make her perfect for the Challenge.
Michele Fitzgerald & Cydney Gillon
Throwing two Survivor Kaôh Rōng cast members on here. Challenge fans got a decent four-episode glimpse of Michele Fitzgerald on Spies, Lies & Allies where she won an elimination, was competitive in the dailies, and had a showmance. Michele’s also a former Sole Survivor with a built-in base that will attract CBS fans and is a familiar face to MTV fans.
Cydney finished 4th place on Kaôh Rōng and is a no-brainer cast addition based on her physical pedigree. She is a professional bodybuilder with loads of accolades, including a 5x Mrs. Olympia Figure Champion. Don’t sleep on Cydney’s intelligence either; she has a psych degree and played a great social game on Survivor.
Big Brother Women
Da’Vonne Rogers & Tiffany Mitchell
The two most recent America’s Favorite Player winners! Da’Vonne is one of the most established CBS names and already has a legacy on the Challenge as she is part of the 5-elimination win club despite only appearing on two seasons. I think Da’Vonne would be open to doing a Challenge season again if it is with her CBS family and the money/timing was worth it. You know her fans would love to see her as well.
Tiffany Mitchell became a fan-favorite during Big Brother 23 and is known as the architect of the cookout alliance. She is a strategic threat; the question is can she hold up physically? Tiffany did win an endurance comp HOH on Big Brother that required balance and core and upper-body strength.
Bayleigh Dayton & Analyse Talavera
Challenge fans watched Bayleigh win daily challenges, an elimination, and make it to the final of her rookie season, Total Madness. She is a tall, athletic, and intelligent woman from a competitive pageant background. Bayleigh and her husband Swaggy C “retired” from Reality TV back in 2020, and while I respect them as humans, Reality TV retirements are as real Wrestling retirements. Bayleigh is still only 28 years old and would kick ass again on the Challenge. Some extra followers never hurt towards building a brand.
Analyse was supposed to be on Double Agents, then got dropped before departure day and has been in casting call limbo since. I was not too fond of Analyse on Big Brother 21 as she had no strategic instincts at all. On the Challenge, that doesn’t matter as much. The Challenge plays to her strengths where she’s a gorgeous former collegiate soccer player that is down to hook-up on television.
Hannah Chaddha & Janelle Pierzina (or Rachel Reilly)
The last two female additions will be one younger player and one OG.
As the youngest person (21) on BB23, Hannah came in 5th place as a member of the Cookout alliance. Hannah is a brilliant woman who earned her Bachelor’s degree at only 19 years old, is skilled in dance, has a contortionist background, and carries herself powerfully.
Meanwhile, I keep the final spot open for either Janelle or Rachel. You can copy-paste the same thing I wrote for Parvati in the opening with Janelle/Rachel. Two women who were faces of the Big Brother franchise with massive personalities and were competition beasts who would have been on the Challenge a decade ago. Both are moms with vastly different lives than a decade ago, still, they both love to compete and to be the star of any show they are on.
Boston Rob Mariano & Jeremy Collins
Warning, we are going OLD with basically all of the Survivor men.
Boston Rob is one of the biggest names in Reality TV history, and just like Parvati, people would want to see one of the GOATs of Survivor compete on the Challenge, even if he’s not in his prime anymore. I’m a self-admitted Boston Rob hater, yet I wouldn’t mind having him on. Hell, Goldberg came back to the WWE at age 50, so bring Boston Rob on the Challenge for one time at 46. As a competitor, he is the player with the career most immunity challenge wins in Survivor history and is a puzzle person.
I’ve always thought Jeremy Collins was the Darrell Taylor of Survivor. Two men who don’t need to be in control of a room to control the room. They are both five-tool players who will do whatever it takes to win for their families while maintaining their integrity. Both are hilarious as well.
Wendell Holland & Ozzy Lusth
Winner of Survivor Ghost Island, Wendell has been linked to the Challenge for years now. He is a genuine fan of the show, and based on his size, charm, fitness, and intelligence, Wendell is someone people assume would do well. Plus, people (like me) have been putting him on their Exes fantasy casts alongside Michele Fitzgerald for a couple of years now.
Ozzy is one of the original immunity comp beasts of Survivor. The guy is a human fish who is terrific with puzzles and would have been on the Challenge a decade ago. Years have gone by, and Ozzy’s transitioned into a successful Onlyfans career. Going on the Challenge could get him some extra subscribers, and he’d be a real threat competitively.
Jay Starrett & John Hennigan
After taking down CT in a 1-on-1 elimination, Challenge fans have immense respect for Jay Starrett. Familiar faces for MTV fans matters for this CBS spin-off, and Jay is that.
The name coming out of deep left-field is John Hennigan, aka John Morrison, aka the Mayor of Slamtown. John is a famous professional wrestler who competed on Survivor Season 37 (David vs. Goliath). He has wrestled in different promotions across the world and is most known for his time in WWE, where he held multiple championships in two separate stints with the promotion from the 2000s to the 2020s. Notably, John is best friends with MTV Challenge Legend, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin. More notably, John is currently a “Free Agent” after getting released by WWE in late 2021. Before John signs full-time with another company, now would be the perfect moment for CBS to swoop in and bring in a big name that already has crossover experience with reality television. Watch him become Johnny Pole Wrestle.
Big Brother Men
Fessy Shafaat & Hayden Moss
Was held at gunpoint and told I had to pick between Fessy, Josh, and Paulie; thus, I chose the lesser of the three evils. I actually like Fessy; he is a magnet for criticism despite being a pretty damn good competitor. Fessy’s hook-up stats since Double Agents have been off the charts (Amanda, Tori, Gabby, Michele, Natalie N, Bettina, etc.), he is the Barry Bonds of Challenge-related hook-ups right now (CT is the Babe Ruth).
If you are upset neither Calafiore brother is on the cast, I did seriously consider both of them, and ultimately decided I don’t want to deal with the baggage each of them carries.
Hayden is an off the beaten path pick that most would not expect. He is athletic, likable, and crucially, I don’t ever see anything negative about Hayden. Hayden was the winner of Big Brother Season 12, then went on Survivor Blood vs. Water and had an impressive 6th place finish on that show too. Let’s see if Hayden can keep up his success on the Challenge.
Xavier Prather & Kyland Young
Let’s add the winner and 4th place finisher of BB23, Cookout members Xavier and Kyland. They racked up a bunch of competition wins during BB23 in both physical and mental games. Last summer, Xavier became the first Black winner in Big Brother history by playing a solid social game mixed with overall competition dominance. He is well-educated as an attorney, and physically, the guy has a killer bod. The argument against Xavier is that he might be a bit boring, yet, I can’t help thinking he’d perform well on the Challenge.
Kyland was a much weaker player socially and strategically than Xavier, though his chaos factor makes him perfect for the Challenge. When Kyland got voted off Big Brother, he tried to step to Xavier and made an out-of-pocket comment by saying Xavier was setting a bad example for his 4-year-old nephew. It was so unnecessary and messy … and we need to keep the same psychotic energy on the Challenge.
Derek Xiao & Corey Brooks
Derek X was a fan favorite on Big Brother 23; he is incredibly likable, intelligent, and proved to be a decent physical competitor. He has a thin/slender body type you would not usually see on a regular challenge season, though maybe Derek could succeed in this field with older and generally smaller competitors (there are still some big guys on this cast).
Corey Brooks was supposed to be on Vendettas, then was made an alternate at the last minute, and was never seen again (until Ex on the Beach, where he got into it with Jay Starrett). He had success on Big Brother (4th Place Finish) and was a former collegiate baseball. The guy isn’t the brightest light bulb, but that hasn’t stopped many people on the Challenge. If anything being dumb, fit, and down to hook-up is usually a positive.
I don’t know if you could tell; the male cast, especially the Big Brother side, is way weaker than the female side.