What needs to happen for a 2 Week OG MTV Challenge Season #WeWantOGs

If you haven’t been on Challenge Social Media lately (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, IG), you likely noticed that Mark Long has been tweeting about creating a 2 Week Challenge Season exclusively with Old School cast members. It got social media buzzing because the Challenge has a deep well of fans who grew up watching the show. An OGs season could bring back some old fans as the older players were on the show when MTV had millions of viewers versus the current status where people are jumping for joy when the Challenge breaks a million. It could also drop the ratings as some younger fans may be less inclined to watch without their favorites, and the older fans may be too indifferent by the time the show airs. Regardless, Mark has social media buzzing and has been tweeting non-stop about it, even creating a hashtag: #WeWantsOGs

I’m going to break down some of the major hurdles that Mark will be attempting to overcome and a few suggestions.

He also detailed talked about the pitch to US Weekly, as can be found here:

Problem #1 MONEY and NAME RECOGNITION

Mark keeps mentioning big names while pitching this idea to fans. I get it; it makes sense to do so because fans will see these big names, get more excited about the prospect of this fantasy format, and generates more buzz. At the end of the day, this idea needs steam behind it if it’s ever going to. However, if they want some of these names, MTV is going to have to dig deep into their pockets for this 2-week venture, and that’s for some, not all.

If you didn’t know, the Challenge has a pay scale based on the number of seasons you have done. In some instances, MTV will give a player a pay raise, ranging from small to high. For example, they desperately wanted Amanda Garcia on WOTW 1, and so they upped her pay. Stephen Bear debuted as a rookie with a 6 figure appearance because he has a massive following in the UK, and won the Celebrity version of Big Brother UK. If you didn’t know, their version of Big Brother is like an American Idol fan-vote type game. These are often more rare circumstances than the ordinary.

What’s important to note about all this is that the reason many veteran cast members do not get cast anymore is that MTV does not value them as their appearance fee. For example, Darrell, Brad, and Derrick have been in the casting pool for availability the last few seasons, and MTV has chosen not to use them mostly because they have all done 8 seasons or more. That means the appearance for them would probably be low to mid-five figures. Meanwhile, a rookie casting fee is around the range of 2–5k, so you cast ten rookies off the street for the same price you could get one of those OG males for. To fans, they would obviously rather take Darrell or Derrick any day of the week, but MTV would rather play the lottery and see if they could get their new star for cheap.

Mark mentions Coral, Landon, and Susie as people who would be on this 2 Week season in theory. Coral was supposed to be on Dirty 30, and dropped out last minute, partially because she didn’t want to do it, and they weren’t willing to meet the pay demands. Susie was supposed to do Free Agents, and she dropped out because they weren’t counting her Road Rules Viewers Revenge season or the Spring Break Challenge as seasons she appeared on, meaning they were paying less than expected. Landon got contacted for a Champs vs. Stars season (a 2 week season), and he noted on Challenge Mania that the daily pay rate needed to be multiplied by four for it to be a consideration for him.

What does this mean? It means if this were to happen, you likely won’t get all the big names you want. For this to go forward, there will NEED to be some big names attached to it, or else it wouldn’t even happen. I’d also expect if this were to be an MTV product, they’d attempt to shoo-in some of their current OGs (Wes, Bananas, CT). Which is ironic because those three have giant appearance fees, except that MTV knows what they bring to the show versus the unknown of some veterans. Which takes away the fun of it all, but is also what might be necessary to go forward.

SUGGESTION: If money becomes an issue, my suggestion is that everyone on the cast should agree to the same appearance fee for this to go forward. There has to be a united front for this. While in some ways, it would be letting MTV win by underpaying some talents; if the OGs and Fans want this, it is what they need to because MTV/Bunim-Murray will continue to make seasons of the Challenge as they have and ignore this all OG 2 Week Season idea.

Likewise, if Bunim-Murray doesn’t want to do this show, and Mark takes it to another production company/network, the players will have probably have to take small appearance fees as this random network doesn’t have the invested capital into the Challenge.

Then again, Wes was able to get a plethora of reality stars to come to Kansas City and do charity work, so maybe this idea is feasible.

Problem #2 COVID 19

COVID is going to delay when they can film and where they can film. As I mentioned above, Wes was able to get a revolving door of people in and out of Kansas City. COVID assisted him because the people coming in weren’t working due to Quarantine and had the free time to travel. Along with that, part of the reason he was able to get these people is that he’s been in recent contact with them (did a season with them the last 2 years), or been life-long friends (Brad, Nehemiah). These people who haven’t been on TV in 10+ years might be friendly and willing in theory; it’s just actually getting on a plane and traveling isn’t real until it happens.

If they want to film this season in America, they will likely have to wait until mid to late 2021 to shoot, because any filming in the next six to eight months would involve cast members first needing to take a two-week quarantine and COVID testing before filming. Mark has said this will be a 2021 venture, and if we’re honest, some of the people listed have been on TV in 17 years, so making it 18 years wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

What is important to note is that the world post-COVID might be a bit less stable. People returning to work won’t likely have the ability to leave at the drop of a hat, even if it is for two weeks, especially if the economy tanks similar to the housing bubble in 08 like some are predicting. Saying yes to two weeks is easy, except also potentially harder to pindown if you’re trying to include everyone. It isn’t a massive issue; it could leave some big names out if the timing is wrong, and that’s perfectly fine. A fan or two might get disappointed, but they’d be much happier to have anything at all.

SUGGESTION: We live in a COVID world and will eventually be living in a post COVID world (could be far away), and we have to play with the hands dealt. We have to understand that if this is MTV production, it will likely trail Season 36 and 37 of the Challenge, both likely filmed in America due to travel issues for international competitors. MTV does not want to do that because filming in another country is easier on production costs and discretion to film in another country. Alas, they will be for Season 36. Thus it makes the virtue of an OG season tougher to envision.

If they want to film sooner rather than later for an OG season than the Patreon model might be the best way to fund/create this potential show. I can tell you from the Article Traffic I got about Wes’s Friends with Benefits Patreon that there was a lot of interest, and people subscribed and paid a $30 a month fee to watch their favorite players do charity work and create podcasts.

Considering the number of fans that love their OGs, they’d probably pay a good amount of money, whether it be 10–30$ a month to watch their favorite players compete. Heck, it would likely grab more old school fans who don’t even watch the show anymore because they wouldn’t need to watch MTV (or have Cable, I don’t). An added incentive for fans would be special tiers where for more money, you can have conversations with your favorite OGs, and maybe throw in a fantasy factor for fans to make them more engaged. I’ll be honest, I’d pay to watch Coral talk for hours about anything. She has more charisma and personality in her pinky than all of the Total Madness rookies combined (and I like the Total Madness rookies).

Problem #3 Format of the Show

Mark pitched it on US Weekly as: “I want to take it back to where it was fun. It was light-hearted but still competitive. Is there some drama? I’m sure there will be but what I think will be super special about something like this is being able to almost capture the Where Are They Now? type of feel like when they introduce characters on the first episode. Let’s dig in. Let’s see what they’ve been up to the first the last 5, 10, 20 years,” Long continued. “So you also get that nostalgic feel of not only what they’ve been up to, but also, are they ready to put on that Speedo and melt some ice with their assets? I think a blend of that would be phenomenal.”

What Mark is pitching is what fans want. We miss the light-hearted days and the personalities of the past. I watched all of Fuller House based on the nostalgia and comfort the show brought to me. People fell in love with what the Challenge was, and they want some of that back, even if in a small form. However, pitching to MTV a low-drama show full of older cast members less inclined to hook up and unlikely to appear on a string of seasons is tough. Likewise, if the show is what Mark is pitching, would there be a prize at the end, or would this be for charity or pride?

It feels like you lose cast members if there isn’t a prize at the end, either for charity or their bank accounts. Except it would be easier to cast if you use the prize pool on appearance fees. Would they able to have eliminations? The first three seasons didn’t even have eliminations, and it would be weird to bring someone back after all these years and to say goodbye on Day 1/2. I can envision MTV green-lighting this show if they can do New School vs. Old School because they want the newer players to get better exposure for future seasons. That’s now what the OGs want, but again, it might be a necessary evil.

SUGGESTION: I think the way to go would be Real World vs. Road Rules. That does leave out someone like Evelyn, who was a Fresh Meat and who Mark posted as agreeing to it. That classic format worked for a reason, and there are still fans passionate about Road Rules, even though it hasn’t existed for over a decade.

PROBLEM #4 What do we define as OG?

This is the toughest question because it might hurt hardcore fans, and also, some fans need to realize that a season like Cutthroat was ten years ago, and thus, pretty freaking old in the grand scheme of things.

Personally, I’d define as such:

MEGA OG: Debuted Before Gauntlet 1

SUPER OG: Debuted Before Inferno 2

OG: Debuted Before Before The Duel

OGish: Debuted Before Fresh Meat 2

There is no solution to this problem, only fans who might get upset by what gets defined as an OG. Beggars can’t be choosers.

CONCLUSION:

I want this OG show to happen because I know it means so much to the long time fans on the show. On top of that, I’d kill to see Coral, Evelyn, and other back on my television screen. My main hope is that this is something that people genuinely commit to: the fans, the network, and competitors.

Also, you know I will be writing about and covering this show as it goes on if it does happen.

What would be my Dream Cast for the OGs Season?

MEN

Mark Long (has to be on as the guy pitching it)

Darrell Taylor
Jamie Murray
Dan Setzler
Alton Williams
Derrick Kosinski
Abram Boise

WOMEN (what I care about most)

Coral Smith
Evelyn Smith
Kendal Sheppard
Tina Barta
Beth Stolarczyk
Arissa Hill
Ruthie Alcaide

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.