For the first time in 10 years, The Challenge is returning to its format of starting the season with two teams, each made up of half of the cast. Season 34 will begin with a U.S. team and UK team. The winning team from the first competition will have first dibs at the four reinforcements brought in to round out each team and kick things up a notch. But if you watched last season, then The Challenge Season 34 cast will make you do a double take.
Last season, The Challenge introduced a handful of rookies who had never played the game before. Most of them came from international versions of shows like Big Brother or Survivor and while some came from other countries outside of the US, a lot of them were from the UK.
It didn't take long for the cast to narrow down to a handful of competitive and ruthless players and for the line to be drawn with the UK alliance playing together against the remaining US players. Apparently, producers took note of the drama and competition this situation created because a lot of those same US and UK players are back to play a more obviously divided game in The Challenge: War of the Words 2, which premieres on MTV on Aug. 28 at 9 p.m. ET.
Some of the returning players who make up the US team are Ashley Mitchell, Cara Maria Sorbello, Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio, Paulie Calafiore, and Wes Bergmann, who were all returning players on The Challenge last season. They were all teamed up with rookies at the start of Season 33 and although they eventually separated from pairs to play their own games, this will be a new experience with an almost super-sized team of veteran all-stars.
The UK team is just as fierce, however. Georgia Harrison, Stephen Bear, Theo Campbell, and Zahida Allen are all returning as part of the official UK team to battle it out for the coveted prize money again this season. They all played tough games last season, so they proved themselves more than worthy of getting returning spots.
I can't say I’m not chomping at the bit to see how Georgia and Bear react to being forced to play on the same team, though. They had a short-lived romance last season and were rumored to have continued it for a short time outside of the show before things ended between them. But watching two exes work together while living in the same house is the stuff reality TV show dreams are made of.
The reinforcements on The Challenge Season 34 are meant to make up the rest of each team, according to MTV, though it's still not clear what their roles will be. They could be players on each team with equal claim to the prize money. Or, they could be used as subs when another player doesn't want to compete. Right now, that aspect of the season is a mystery, but the reinforcements are 'Ninja' Natalie Duran, Dee Nguyen, CT Tamburello, and Turabi 'Turbo' Camkiran. Turbo was another rookie last season, but he played a relentless game which helped him walk away with the grand prize, so it makes sense that he is back to either play hard again or help coach his team to victory.
In addition to the two team format this season, another big change is the length of The Challenge episodes. Instead of spanning just an hour, weekly episodes will now be 90 minutes to give viewers more drama, more competitions, and more blood, sweat, and tears from all of these competitors.
The Challenge airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.