'The Challenge: USA' Season 2 Is Unlike Any Other Version of 'The Challenge'

Jamie Lerner - Author

Aug. 11 2023, Updated 7:10 a.m. ET

'The Challenge: USA' Season 2 Cast
Source: CBS

MTV's The Challenge has been around for literal decades. And, while it doesn't appear to be going anywhere any time soon, CBS is now airing the second season of The Challenge: USA, a spinoff series similar to the original, with a few key changes. So, how is The Challenge: USA different from the MTV version of the series, and how is Season 2 different from Season 1?

Article continues below advertisement

Contestants in The Challenge: USA are from the U.S. rather than reality shows outside of the country. Recent seasons of MTV's The Challenge featured players from not only U.S.-based reality shows like Big Brother, Are You the One?, and The Real World, but also shows from the U.K., Romania, Turkey, Brazil, and Nigeria.

Now, producers are looking for "America's Best." But Season 2 isn't just casting from other reality shows—it's pitting the best The Challenge beasts against one another.

'The Challenge: USA' MTV Challenge alums
Source: CBS
Article continues below advertisement

How is 'The Challenge: USA' different from the MTV version of the show? Season 2 is different from Season 1.

The big thing that sets The Challenge: USA apart from the original MTV show is the fact that all of the contestants are from U.S. reality shows, including The Amazing Race, Survivor, Big Brother, and now MTV's The Challenge. In Season 1 of The Challenge: USA, contestants worked in randomly selected pairs to ensure their "banks" were over $5,000 to get into the finals. But Season 2 is different.

In this season, the contestants are split into three teams—Red, Blue, and Brown. (Ick, who wants to be on the Brown team?!) While Season 1 had "the algorithm" to add an element of surprise and randomness, Season 2 has "the hopper." The hopper is basically an air-fueled lottery ball machine that makes decisions that will determine the outcome of the game.

Article continues below advertisement
'The Challenge: USA' Season 2 teams
Source: CBS

In the premiere episode, the hopper chooses the team captains who pick the rest of the teams. Cassidy Clark and Desi Williams from Survivor were two team captains, and Josh Martinez from Big Brother was the third. Off the bat, because many of these players already know each other from past seasons of The Challenge and other CBS shows, the drama is already beginning.

Article continues below advertisement

However, we have no idea how players will get to the finals in Season 2 of The Challenge: USA. While they had to have $5,000 in their banks in Season 1, Season 2 suggests that one of the three teams will make it to finals and compete against one another in an individual portion of the game. It's still not entirely clear how Season 2 of The Challenge: USA works when it comes to finals and selecting the winner, but we're sure we'll find out along the way.

'The Challenge: USA' Brown team and red member
Source: CBS
Article continues below advertisement

Like the MTV series, one male and one female player will be chosen at the end of The Challenge: USA to win. While the winners have split $1 million in recent seasons of The Challenge, the victors on the CBS series stand to win $500,000.

As far as the eliminations go, the winning team nominates one man and one woman to compete in the Losers' Round. Then the losing team members secretly vote on who they want to be eliminated, and those votes go in the hopper.

Whichever man or woman is picked from the hopper must compete for their life in the game against the man or woman selected by the winning team. Whoever loses will be eliminated.

However, the biggest change between MTV's The Challenge and CBS's The Challenge: USA is, potentially, the shift in the network.

Article continues below advertisement

Why did 'The Challenge' move to CBS?

As fans of the MTV original likely noticed early on, The Challenge: USA airs on CBS rather than MTV. While some viewers may have thought that the move to CBS meant that the MTV show was over, The Challenge: USA and The Challenge are two different shows airing on two different networks.

Most of the cast members on The Challenge: USA previously appeared on other reality shows that air on CBS so airing the spinoff on the same network helps drive viewership and brings those fans over to the new show.

'the Challenge: USA' host TJ Lavin
Source: CBS
Article continues below advertisement

Ahead of the premiere of the CBS series, showrunner Justin Booth told Entertainment Weekly that The Challenge: USA marks a new era for the franchise. The audience could generally be older, and more people likely will be tuning in.

"We know that the demographic is different, it's a more mature audience for sure, and there's a lot more eyeballs on it," he told the outlet. "But we run the show the way that we run it any season."

The MTV version will return for Season 39 in the future. In addition, because MTV and CBS are both now owned by Paramount, all seasons of The Challenge and The Challenge: USA are available to stream on Paramount Plus.

New episodes of The Challenge: USA air Thursdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.

More from Distractify

Latest The Challenge News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.