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The Challenge ratings: Ride or Dies premiere episode signals rough start for season

tori deal in the challenge ride or dies premiere
Tori Deal appears during a confessional interview in The Challenge: Ride or Dies premiere episode. Pic credit: MTV

The 38th season of MTV’s popular competition series The Challenge recently returned to TV with its premiere episode. Based on the latest ratings and viewership data, some Challenge fatigue may be in effect.

The Challenge: Ride or Dies is the latest installment of MTV’s series, arriving just weeks after the conclusion of CBS’ spinoff, The Challenge: USA. Ahead of that was The Challenge: All Stars 3 on Paramount Plus.

MTV’s newest season features returning veteran cast members, including Johnny Bananas and Nany Gonzalez, who officially appeared at the end of the premiere episode.

Other stars advertised for the season include Jordan Wiseley, Aneesa Ferreira, Darrell Taylor, and Veronica Portillo, who have yet to appear.

Meanwhile, there are also familiar faces from the past few seasons, including Tori Deal, Devin Walker, Kaycee Clark, Fessy Shafaat, and Nelson Thomas, and returning favorites such as Turabi “Turbo” Camkiran and Laurel Stucky.

Another group of new rookies is also part of the show, some of whom have never appeared on reality television until now, which could be part of the problem for The Challenge.

The Challenge: Ride or Dies premiere ratings and viewership

The Challenge: Ride or Dies officially premiered on Wednesday, October 12, with the first episode, Don’t Die for Me Argentina. It featured the introduction of the starting cast members, a love triangle or showmance, some early drama, surprises, and of course, TJ Lavin’s Challenge twists.

However, those various aspects didn’t seem enough for fans to watch when the episode aired. According to Showbuzz Daily, the premiere episode scored a 0.22 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.

Regarding viewership, the data indicates that 424,000 viewers were watching Ride or Dies, Episode 1, this past Wednesday. Overall, The Challenge was No. 10 amongst cable telecasts for the evening.

An MLB National League Division Series playoff game on FOX was the top cable telecast with a 0.81 rating and over 3.1 million viewers.

Other programs finishing ahead of The Challenge during the 8 p.m. Eastern Time slot included Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo, All Elite Wrestling on TBS, and Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News.

What are The Challenge Season 38’s issues?

As of right now, one can only speculate about what caused such low ratings and a low number of viewers to watch MTV’s premiere of The Challenge: Ride or Dies.

Compared with the previous season, the Spies, Lies & Allies premiere aired on August 11, 2021, and had 660,000 viewers. That season also has plenty of critics who argue it wasn’t watchable due to the large number of international rookie competitors with whom viewers weren’t familiar, and the veteran cast members simply teaming up to eliminate them.

The new season, Ride or Dies, introduced some international rookies and others from the United States. Among them are several reality TV stars and other individuals who have never appeared on TV. They include Amber Borzotra’s boyfriend, Chauncey Palmer, Kaycee Clark’s brother Kenny, and Fessy Shafaat’s friend Moriah Jadea.

Bringing rookies onto The Challenge is nothing new and may not be the reason to blame. From the start, two rookies won the daily challenge, and it gave the potential for rookies to take over.

Another argument from Challenge critics is that recent seasons of MTV’s show feature the same repetitive cast members, which may be mostly true of Ride or Dies. However, only nine cast members- Fessy, Tori, Devin, Nelson, Amber, Kaycee, Nany, Aneesa, and Michele Fitzgerald- returned from Season 37.

The time and date MTV chose to premiere their new season most likely hurt. Another reality TV show that The Challenge is up against, CBS’ Survivor, aired at the 8 p.m. Eastern Time slot and pulled in over 5.02 million viewers with a 0.42 rating.

Along with that, one has to wonder about some serious Challenge fatigue. Several Challenge spinoff shows arrived in the past few months, giving fans a hefty dose of the reality competition series.

The Challenge: All Stars 3 featured episodes on the streaming service Paramount Plus and had a stellar cast consisting of only former finalists or champions.

Following that was The Challenge: USA, a CBS version of MTV’s show featuring stars from Big Brother, Love Island, Survivor, and The Amazing Race. While the show had a much larger number of viewers, it also got criticized for not being the same as MTV’s version and because multiple finalists quit in the final.

The Challenge: Ride or Dies will continue its journey on MTV and potentially gain more traction. However, with a world championship tournament on the way, one has to wonder if The Challenge is doing too much too quickly with its franchise and tiring out fans.

The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c.

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