The Challenge is responsible for so many small-screen gems -- thanks to its wide-ranging competitions (spanning continents) and captivating cast members (from Real World, Road Rules, Fresh Meat, Spring Break Challenge, Are You the One? and Battle of the Bloodlines). And now that the series is officially in its 30th season (you can watch The Challenge XXX every Tuesday!) we're feeling nostalgic and need to remember how this long-running MTV program started.
In 1998, five Real World alums from the series' early installments embarked on a ride of their lives. The Road Rules-esque spin-off was called Road Rules: All Stars and was comprised of Eric Nies from Real World: New York, Jon Brennan from Real World: Los Angeles, Rachel Campos from Real World: San Francisco, Cynthia Roberts from Real World: Miami and Sean Duffy from Real World: Boston. Initially, the diverse group went head-to-head with the Road Rules: Northern Trail cast in a bunch of winter Olympics-themed showdowns in Lake Placid before setting off on their own in New Zealand. In the words of Jon, "Hello New Zealannnddddd!"
Of course, the show looked different from what we now see -- there were no exes or rivals and no nail-biting eliminations. There were no group of finalists and stressful votes. Instead, there was a Winnebago, audio "clues" directing the gang to their next location and Puck from the Fog City RW installment serving as the unofficial host. And the beginning of Sean and Rachel's romance (they now have eight children!).
However, the core of the show remains the same: a group of alums from popular MTV series completing missions -- while trying to get along.
Enjoy the very first episode of The Challenge below, share your favorite memories from this series and be sure to keep watching The Challenge XXX every Tuesday at 9/8c.