The latest installment of The Challenge boasts a cast that extends far beyond the MTV family and the United States, and, according to Challenge vet and resident pot stirrer Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, these newbies are posing a threat to the show’s future.
Bananas told E! News that he’s less than impressed with the group rounding out the Challenge lineups as of late, which most recently includes players from 11 franchises around the globe for The Challenge: War of the Worlds.
“Let’s be real… the stock isn’t all that high these days on a lot of the new kids coming out,” he said. “And quite frankly, I’m a little concerned that the future of the franchise is being left in the hands of these absolute boners that they’re casting these days.”
Another gripe Bananas has about his new co-stars is their focus on social media popularity, namely the high-paying endorsements that come with it. Bananas said the money-making opportunities are an incentive for the newcomers, whereas the OGs did it “for the love of the game.”
“People showed up to compete, to be on ‘The Challenge,’ to party, this, that,” he said. “Now, it’s about how many followers am I going to get out of this? Social media totally changed the game.”
But according to Bananas, it’s not just the new challengers’ obsession with social media that makes them a poor choice for the show, it’s also their personalities.
“These people don’t have the complex personalities, they don’t have emotions,” he continued. “They’re not complex, intelligent human beings anymore, it’s just like, ‘You want to get drunk and hookup? Cool, you’re cast.’ That’s kind of what we’re dealing with these days.
“That’s why, I think, a lot of cast members haven’t established the amount of foothold with the older MTV fanbase is because they’re just not buying it.”
While Bananas may feel that the fanbase isn’t “buying it,” ‘The Challenge’ executive producer and Bunim/Murray’s executive vice president of International Scott Freeman said the show’s production team is thrilled at the pay-off of introducing international players to the game.
“We took a chance casting people who had never been on American MTV and they showed up and it was a surprise for our regular cast,” he said. “It added new dynamics, it’s been fun to see them come on and really start getting into ‘The Challenge,’ like Kyle [Christie].”
As fans of the show may recall, Kyle made his debut on The Challenge: Vendettas after appearing on MTV’s Geordie Shore in the UK. Kyle went on to appear on The Challenge: Final Reckoning and is currently battling it out on ‘War of the Worlds.’
Whether or not Bananas or any of the other vets are fully on board with MTV’s latest strategy for filling ‘The Challenge’ rosters, viewers don’t seem to mind the direction the show is moving in…
The season premiere of ‘War of the Worlds’ brought in 839,000 viewers—just 1,000 less than both ‘Final Reckoning’ and Dirty 30. Though the premiere drew a smaller audience than its predecessor ‘Vendettas’ (890,000 viewers), the show managed to pull a higher viewership than Battle of the Exes II (780,000), Invasion (690,000), Rivals III (660,000) and Bloodlines (550,000).
‘The Challenge: War of the Worlds’ airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on MTV.
(Photos: MTV, IG)