Five 'Survivor' contestants rumored to debut on MTV's 'The Challenge' season 37; Jay Starrett OUT
UPDATE (4/21/2021): Michelle Schubert and Wendell Holland will NOT be on season 37 of The Challenge.
Since MTV's The Challenge began expanding its casting net beyond MTV shows in 2018, it's taken the form of a "battle of the reality stars" competition show.
Following the impressive debuts of Jay Starrett (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X) and Natalie Anderson (winner of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur, runner-up on Survivor: Winners at War) over the last two seasons of The Challenge, it was only a matter of time until MTV began hauling in castaways from the shores of Fiji to enter into The Challenge house.
The highly-trusted spoiler source @GamerVev is reporting that not one, not two, but five Survivor castaways entered quarantine Sunday and could soon be departing for the filming of The Challenge's 37th season.
Among them are three Survivor winners - Wendell Holland (Survivor: Ghost Island), Michele Fitzgerald (Survivor: Kaoh Rong) and Tommy Sheehan (Survivor: Island of the Idols). Holland and Fitzgerald competed on Survivor's most recent season, Winners at War, a season consisting entirely of previous winners of the title of Sole Survivor, alongside last season's Challenge newbie Natalie Anderson. Sheehan is a self-professed Challenge super-fan who detailed his love for the show on the Challenge Mania podcast last year.
The other two potential Challenge rookies both competed on Starrett's season of Survivor, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. Michaela Bradshaw, 30, and Michelle Schubert, 33, both began the season on Jay's Vanua tribe and were voted out seventh and eighth, respectively. Bradshaw later returned a season later for Survivor: Game Changers, where she placed seventh out of 20.
With Starrett and Anderson being Survivor's first pioneers to crossover to the MTV universe, it makes sense why MTV would cast four of their tribemates to be the next ones added to The Challenge's roster. Unfortunately, however, GamerVev is reporting that Starrett has been released from quarantine, and will not be on the show's 37th season. While the reasoning as to why Starrett got dropped from the show's production remains unclear, it could be as simple as a positive COVID-19 test. Josh Martinez quarantined for last summer's Big Brother: All-Stars, but was dropped after recording a false-positive. Hopefully Starrett is okay. His presence will be missed on season 37.
Of course, just as Jay was dropped from the show, all of this is subject to change. Contestants can enter quarantine and still be dropped from the show, or instead be listed as alternates, rather than cast members. We'll find out more information in due time, but it's looking like The Challenge wants a nice piece of the Survivor pie.
Here's a closer look at the five potential Challenge rookies.
Wendell Holland, 37 (winner, season 36, Survivor: Ghost Island, 11th place on season 40; Survivor: Winners at War) - In 2018, Wendell was crowned the champion of Survivor: Ghost Island in historic fashion. For the first time ever, the jury's final vote on day 39 resulted in a tie, between Wendell and Domenick Abate. Laurel Johnson, the season's second runner-up was forced to cast the lone tie-breaker vote, in which she voted for Wendell. Wendell and Domenick engineered an impenetrable alliance that they rode all the way to day 39. Two years later, Wendell returned for Survivor: Winners at War, where he finished 11th. Wendell received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and now owns and operates his own furniture company in Philadelphia. Jay Starrett told me in a February episode of the Jack Vita Show that he wanted to see Wendell, Michele and Michaela all on The Challenge. He got his wish.
Michele Fitzgerald, 30 (winner, season 32, Survivor: Kaoh Rong; third place on season 40, Survivor: Winners at War) - Michele became one of Survivor's youngest winners yet when she earned the title of Sole Survivor in 2016 on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, at the young age of 24. Michele proved that her win was no fluke when she made it all the way to the end for a second time, on Survivor: Winners at War. She's one of very few Survivor contestants to play the game twice and never be voted out. A savvy social player and seasoned challenge threat, Michele should do well on The Challenge. In fact, I even penned a piece a few months ago titled, "Six Survivor contestants that MTV should cast on The Challenge" and voila, Michele was on my list!
Tommy Sheehan, 28 (winner, season 39, Survivor: Island of the Idols) - Tommy won the most recent season of "normal" Survivor, prior to the all-star game that was Winners at War. Like Michele, Tommy proved to be an elite social player, as he got to the end without winning a single individual immunity challenge. Sheehan, 6-foot-4, claimed on the Challenge Mania podcast that he intentionally threw challenges to appear non-threatening to his tribemates. Intentional or not, his non-threatening challenge performance kept him from harm's way, and he won a million dollars. Sheehan also detailed his love for The Challenge in the same interview.
Michaela Bradshaw, 30 (14th place on season 33, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X; 7th place on season 34, Survivor: Game Changers) - On both of her seasons, Michaela was a fan favorite and a walking quote-machine. Like Michele, she was another one of my selections to appear on The Challenge. Michaela finished in the middle of the pack both times, but was set up extremely well to make a deep run her first time, until Jay — one of her closest allies — stabbed her in the back. Jay told me on the Jack Vita Show that he didn't want to blindside Michaela, but he felt he had to, as he didn't think he had a good shot of beating her, had he gotten to the end with her. The end result was one of the most explosive exits in Survivor tribal council history. It's a darn shame that Jay won't be on this season, as a lot of fans would have loved to see him and Michaela reunited, on TV, for the first time since that fateful tribal council.
Michelle Schubert, 33 (13th place on season 33, Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X; American Ninja Warrior) - Michelle experienced a fate much like Michaela's on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. Michelle shared a close alliance with Jay, but down in the numbers at the merge, was offered up as the tribe's sacrificial lamb at the first tribal council after the merge, the vote after Michaela was given the boot. Three years after her stint on Survivor came to a close, Schubert returned to reality television for a run on American Ninja Warrior. Like Jay, Michelle loves rock climbing, running, and is a natural athlete, so I would expect her to perform well on The Challenge.
If you want to catch my full interview with Jay Starrett for more insight into the fusion of 'Survivor' and 'The Challenge', check it out here:
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(Images courtesy of CBS)