The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion is among this year’s GLAAD Media Awards nominees.
It’s the 39th season of MTV’s competition series, with a theme involving cast members who have yet to win the show vying for their first win.
Among them are newer cast members who have appeared in four seasons or fewer, including Olivia Kaiser, Horacio Gutierrez, Michele Fitzgerald, Melissa Reeves, Asaf Goren, and Jay Starrett.
Along the way, fan favorites such as Cara Maria Sorbello, Darrell Taylor, and Chris “CT” Tamburello arrive for single-episode appearances, and 10 champions compete in eliminations.
Some viewers have heavily criticized MTV’s latest installment as it has lower-than-usual ratings with a cast featuring the former champs in only a limited role.
However, it will attempt to complete a challenge as it contends with other competition series heavyweights at this year’s awards show.
Season 39’s Nurys shouts out The Challenge nomination
On Wednesday, Nurys Mateo shared a photo on her Instagram Story from @GLAAD’s nominees list, which includes The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion.
“Not us being nominated for Outstanding Reality Competition Program,” she wrote above the image with an emoji nearby.
MTV’s The Challenge will contend with popular competition programs, including Project Runway, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Survivor, and The Voice. There are also newer shows, including Shudder’s The Boulet Brothers Dragula and Hulu’s Drag Me to Dinner.
In 2023, ABC and Disney+’s Dancing With the Stars won the award, and The Challenge was not among the nominees.
GLAAD is a non-profit organization focused on LGBTQ advocacy and cultural change. Their GLAAD Media Awards honor media that displayed “exemplary achievements for fair, accurate, and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community.”
The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion features several members of the LGBTQ+ community on the show, including Hughie Maughan, Corey Lay, and Tula “Big T” Fazakerley. An early episode featured a cast celebration of Big T officially coming out.
Submissions opened for GLAAD Media Awards nominees on September 27, 2023, and closed on Friday, December 1, 2023. The nominees were first announced today.
According to the details in the image above, GLAAD’s 35th annual Media Awards show will take place on March 14 in Los Angeles and May 11 in New York City.
The Challenge Season 39’s nomination came shortly after receiving no nominations for the 49th People’s Choice Awards.
The Challenge ratings have struggled as Season 40 cast rumors arrive
According to The Challenge Fandom Wiki page, Season 39 has experienced lower ratings than recent seasons.
At its lowest point, only 190,000 viewers watched the season’s fourth episode on November 8. That episode, titled I’m Coming Out, featured Big T coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
At The Challenge Season 39’s highest point, 530,000 viewers watched on January 10 for Episode 13. That episode featured the return of Brad Fiorenza for an elimination.
The previous episode, A Legend Returns, featured Cara Maria’s first appearance on the show since War of the Worlds 2 and had 500,000 viewers.
As of this writing, the January 17 episode has yet to air on MTV but will feature the return of the final advertised champion to The Arena, CT Tamburello.
Fewer viewers watched Season 39 than previous seasons, and the reason could be the cast, the presentation of the footage, or many other factors. As of this writing, Season 40 cast rumors have already popped up online, with a few individuals returning from Season 39 and several vets also mentioned.
A win at the GLAAD Media Awards will be a welcome surprise for production and cast members and would likely stun viewers who are criticizing the latest season.
The Challenge: Battle For a New Champion airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.