The Challenge: USA 2 ratings revealed for premiere episode

tj lavin in the challenge usa 2 debut episode
The Challenge: USA 2 host TJ Lavin during the premiere episode. Pic credit: Paramount+

Spinoff show The Challenge: USA 2 unveiled its premiere episode, but the new season opener didn’t attract nearly as many viewers as the first season’s debut.

USA 2 is based on MTV’s The Challenge and features mostly stars from CBS reality TV shows Big Brother, Amazing Race, and Survivor.

While the first season had only CBS stars in the competition, Season 2 features a twist with six of MTV’s veteran Challenge stars also competing in the game.

Among them are seven-time champion Johnny Bananas, two-time champion Wes Bergmann, and two-time All Stars winner Jonna Mannion.

They joined CBS stars that include former Big Brother winner Josh Martinez and Survivor winners Michele Fitzgerald and Chris Underwood.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the MTV stars combined with the recognizable CBS stars wasn’t enough to give the spinoff a ratings boost over the first season’s premiere episode.

The Challenge: USA 2 debuted with lower numbers than Season 1

According to TV Series Finale, The Challenge: USA 2’s debut episode rated 0.3 in the key 18-49 demographic for Wednesday night’s network programs.

The report also indicated that 1.82 million viewers tuned in for the premiere episode on CBS. USA 2 was also available streaming live on Paramount Plus and on-demand via the platform later.

Airing in the 10 p.m. Eastern Time slot, the show finished behind a rerun of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2.02 million viewers) and ahead of a rerun of ABC’s Shark Tank (1.42 million viewers).

By comparison, The Challenge: USA Season 1’s premiere had a 0.41 rating in the 18-49 demo and 2.326 million viewers.

Based on TV Series Finale’s stats, The Challenge: USA 2 premiere was down over 30 percent in the 18-49 demographic ratings and nearly 22 percent in terms of viewers.

USA Season 1’s premiere was its most viewed episode of the season, with no episode after that gaining more than 2.195 million viewers. However, several episodes had 0.42 ratings. 

USA 2’s premiere arrived after a brand new installment of Big Brother 25 on CBS.

The Challenge: USA 2 premiere ended on a cliffhanger

The Challenge: USA 2 premiere concluded with a cliffhanger to get fans invested and wanting to see what happens in Episode 2.

Show host TJ Lavin revealed a large tumbler device called The Hopper which contained ping pong balls with cast members’ names. As the episode ended, TJ was about to pull one cast member’s name from the Hopper for an elimination matchup.

Before that, each cast member from the two losing teams got to place a secret vote for one competitor. The more votes a person got, the more ping-pong balls they’d have in the Hopper, and the greater the chances they’d get selected to go into elimination.

TJ said if he drew a woman’s name from the Hopper, she would face Ameerah Jones, who the daily challenge’s winning team had voted in. He said if he drew a man’s name, they would face Luis Colon, also voted in by the winners.

What will make things interesting for the second season of The Challenge: USA is a much different schedule compared to Season 1.

For the first three weeks of the season, episodes will air bi-weekly, with one on Thursday night and another on Sunday night. After that, the USA 2 episode schedule switches to weekly episodes on Thursdays.

In the first season, CBS only aired weekly episodes, with on-demand streaming available at Paramount Plus.

The Challenge: USA 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c and Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.

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