Fans of The Challenge have cast members they love to root for and others they love to root against.
In recent seasons, the cast getting online hate seems to be the competitors who arrive from non-MTV shows, such as Big Brother.
The “Big Brother sucks” tagline even became a thing during the Double Agents season thanks to Devin Walker. He used it to rile up his rivals in the house, Fessy Shafaat and Josh Martinez.
Both Fessy and Josh have become polarizing cast members for fans of the show, with many comments on social media suggesting that they shouldn’t return.
However, they continually return, and one producer spoke about Josh getting called back despite the hate he gets.
The Challenge producer explains Josh Martinez being cast
In a recent episode of the Watch With Us: Challenge Edition podcast, Emily Longeretta spoke with producer and casting lead Skye Topic about various topics related to casting for The Challenge.
Skye, who’s been working with Bunim/Murray since 2008, spoke about how years ago, casting was simpler.
They pulled from The Real World based on the format of The Challenge. She said now it’s a “massive job” that she takes seriously when putting together the cast for the show.
Some considerations for the cast in recent seasons involved looking at cast members from different shows or countries.
Skye brought up cast’s importance for reflecting society and various diversities, including different ethnicities, religions, and sexual orientations.
However, she said that the show has become almost like an “international sport” based on the casting options nowadays.
When asked if social media comments or feedback ever play into determining who viewers like or don’t like in the cast, Skye brought up Big Brother star Josh Martinez, who she said “gets a lot of hate” online.
“No, not really. I mean, I hate to use this example, but like Josh is not a well-loved cast member. He gets a lot of hate,” she shared in the podcast episode.
“I personally am obsessed with Josh. I love him for so, so many reasons, but he’s not a well-liked cast member,” she continued “I feel like he really brings something to the show, and so I don’t think maybe he’s getting the kind of love on socials, but I think it could turn around for him in a season or two.”
Skye said she doesn’t let social media feedback weigh on the casting unless there’s something that “crosses boundaries” and is “distasteful in terms of race or sexuality.”
It seems fans campaigning for Josh to not return to the show may not get their wish granted no matter how much they mention it online.
Josh’s Challenge history started with WOTW season
Josh, 27, first arrived on The Challenge: War of the Worlds in 2019 after appearing on and winning Big Brother 19.
The prize money for that BB season was $500,000.
The BB star seemed to be eliminated because of poor performance in the first challenge on War of the Worlds.
However, because of another competitor’s early injury, he returned and became teammates with former Are You The One? star Amanda Garcia.
They ended up eliminated in Episode 7 by Kam Williams and Ashley Cain.
Josh was back for the War of the Worlds 2 season, where he helped Laurel Stuckey mastermind an early move to get Wes Bergmann eliminated.
However, neither Laurel nor Josh could win in their eliminations during the season. Josh lost to Jordan Wiseley in Episode 13’s End of the Rope event.
The Big Brother winner came back for The Challenge’s last two seasons, Total Madness and Double Agents, making it four in a row.
However, he hasn’t reached a final so far. On Total Madness, he lasted to Episode 14, losing to Kyle Christie in Knots of War.
On Double Agents, Josh claimed his first-ever elimination victory, defeating rookie, Mechie Harris, in Asset Destruction.
However, it was in comedic fashion as Josh awkwardly attempted to throw balls to break targets on a large wall.
He eventually got it figured out, though.
With the Gold Skull twist, Josh became a target, and veteran competitor CT Tamburello chose him as an opponent to steal his Skull.
CT defeated him in Episode 12’s Dead Ringer elimination event.
Fans also saw plenty of drama involving Josh throughout that Double Agents season, including several incidents with Devin Walker.
However, the two cast members put aside their differences since filming. Both ended up eliminated in the same episode, giving them a bit of time to hang out and talk strategy for future seasons.
During several seasons, episodes also spotlighted Josh having possible “crushes” or romantic interest in Amanda Garcia, Nany Gonzalez, and Georgia Harrison. None of those situations have led to any major showmances or real-life romances, though.
Josh has had his share of memorable moments, some of which irritate various fans.
Based on recent Challenge history and how many fans either love or hate him, it seems Josh will continue to get called back unless he does something wrong or decides not to return.
The Challenge Season 37 premiere date is TBA for 2021 on MTV.