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  • Writer's pictureJack Vita

Six 'Survivor' contestants that MTV should cast on 'The Challenge'

Formerly known as The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, MTV's longest running show has, in recent years, expanded its casting net to reel in a wide a variety of stars from other reality shows. Even double-Olympian Lolo Jones and WWE star Lio Rush were included for the show's latest installment. The Challenge has had a good deal of success plucking houseguests from Big Brother, and is now starting to dip its feet into the Survivor casting pool. Jay Starrett (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X) and Natalie Anderson (Survivor: San Juan Del Sur and Survivor: Winners at War) have each made immediate, impressive debuts on the franchise. For two seasons straight, The Challenge's first elimination has been won by a rookie from Survivor. Survivor contestants are now a combined 3-1 in eliminations.

In order for one to become a featured player on The Challenge, they must possess a few different attributes. First and foremost, they need to be interesting, unique and compelling. They need to be able to tell a good story and give a good soundbite. Lastly, they need to be relatively young, athletic, fit, or in good-enough shape to compete in the physical competitions.

The difficulty with casting from Survivor, is while it possesses a deep cast of entertaining characters, Survivor casts contestants of all ages. At the age of 45, Boston Rob isn't going to be leaving his family for eight weeks to live in a house and drink with a bunch of 20-somethings. Still, the physical and mental strain of Survivor is good preparation for The Challenge, and there are several former castaways that would fit the show quite nicely. So without much further ado, I now present to you, six former Survivor contestants MTV should cast on The Challenge.

The Women

Abi-Maria Gomes (Survivor: Philippines, Survivor: Cambodia): On the island, she was the lippy, sassy, hilarious and iconic 'Brazilian Dragon', and a legendary pot-stirer. The Challenge thrives on conflict. Abi is a magnet for drama and great television. On The Challenge, she might just be able to fill the shoes of the great Camilanator, an empty space The Challenge has desperately needed to replace for years.

Michele Fitzgerald (winner of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, second runner-up on Survivor: Winners at War): There have been rumors centered around Michele moving to The Challenge for the last two years now. While I am unable to confirm whether or not she has in fact gone through casting for the show, as some rumors may suggest, it's entirely possible she was contacted but was busy at the time. She placed third on Survivor's most recent season consisting of 20 returning players, all previous winners. Prior to CBS and Viacom's merger last December, it was a much more complicated process leaping from a CBS reality show to a non-CBS reality show. Contestants had to sign contracts with CBS that would keep them from appearing on other networks for a minimum of 18 months. That would have deemed her ineligible for last season, The Challenge: Total Madness, which was filmed prior to the CBS-Viacom merger. With her tribemate Natalie (who finished just above her in second place) making the immediate leap from Winners at War to Double Agents, Michele should be welcome to enter the MTV universe whenever she wants. She even tweeted out a poll two weeks ago, asking her followers if she should go on The Challenge in the future.

Over the course of two seasons, Michele won a combined five individual challenges and played an elite social game, lasting all 39 days each time. She has never been voted out, making her the ultimate challenger. With her knack for competition, social politicking and witty confessionals, The Challenge vets won't know what hit them.

Michaela Bradshaw (Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, Survivor: Game Changers): Michaela is a tough-as-nails chick that won't put up with anybody's crap. Even though it's been well over four years, she and Jay didn't leave Survivor on the best of terms. Despite having an alliance Michaela was committed to to the endgame, Jay pulled the trigger early on Michaela and whacked her mob-style. Michaela proceeded to stare him down and call him out in one of the most explosive vote-outs in Survivor history. Michaela would be the logical partner for Jay on a rivals season. Michaela was a quote machine and has the heart of a lion. She'd be an excellent addition to The Challenge.

The Men

Rodney Lavoie (Survivor: Worlds Apart): There isn't a recent Survivor contestant I've wanted to see back on my TV more than Rodney. Despite talking a big game and showcasing his muscles the first phrase he uttered on the show was, "I'm jacked; I work hard and I play harder!" Rodney never won an individual challenge and threw a tremendous fit when he didn't get to go on a reward challenge on his birthday. Rodney is hilarious. If Challenge fans enjoyed Tony comparing himself to Scottie Pippen in Vendettas, they will love Rodney's creative sports analogies that he seamlessly works into confessionals. He actually compared himself to Scottie Pippen before Tony did, then moments later compared himself to Luc Longley! While Rodney wasn't given an extremely favorable edit, he took his edit in stride and had fun with it. What wasn't shown however was just how strong of a social game he played and how close he came to winning. An all-time great at giving confessionals, and an even better impressionist, paired with his "jacked" frame, competitive drive, and volatile, hot-headed nature, Rodney was made for The Challenge.

Chris Noble (Survivor: Ghost Island): Chris singlehandedly carried the first half of Ghost Island. Every confessional, every moment was gold. He routinely turned the confessional booth into a freestyle mic, creating clever lyrics and funny raps. He even shot a hip hop video upon his arrival to Ponderosa. Once Chris was axed from the tribe around the midway point, the season went downhill quickly. Chris played college baseball and more than proved his worth in the challenges.

Alan Ball (Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers): This is a bit of an out-of-the-box selection, but with the recent casting of Lolo Jones and Lio Rush, The Challenge's production team has proven that it is willing to get creative as it sees fit. Alan played ten seasons in the NFL at cornerback, for five different teams, and while his stint on Survivor was short, he provided enough fireworks to stand out among his peers and leave a lasting impact on the fans. He brought an NFL-level of focus and intensity to the island, and in episode one, he strip-searched his tribemate out of paranoia that his tribemate had found the hidden immunity idol. With professional athletes moving into The Challenge franchise, and the athletic pool getting deeper, Alan could be an instant hit.

All 40 seasons of Survivor, as well as seasons 11-33 of The Challenge are available for streaming on CBS All Access. Prospective customers can start with a free, one-week trial, and upon its completion, subscriptions begin at $5.99/month.

For more sports and entertainment analysis, follow me on Twitter @JackVitaShow, and subscribe to the Jack Vita Show on iTunes or wherever podcasts are found.

(Photos via CBS and MTV)


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