’: T.J. Lavin Reveals Which Players To Keep An Eye On & Teases ‘Throwback Format’ (Exclusive) />
Image Credit: Arlene Richie/Shutterstock
T.J. Lavin has been hosting The Challenge and its spinoffs for 18 years, and he’s back once again for season 2 of The Challenge: USA. Unlike the flagship MTV show, The Challenge: USA cast mostly consists of players from CBS shows. However, season 2 will feature six flagship Challenge veterans, which will bring a whole new element to the game. “It has everything The Challenge: USA season one had and then some,” T.J. told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “It’s the best of the best coming. I think it’s probably the best of both worlds.”
T.J. said he was pushing for USA to add some OG player all along. “I really wanted to have those players in there. One, because they’re really good at the game, and two, because they’re so gritty,” he explained. “CBS players are sweet and nice and kumbaya. It’s not like that with the MTV cast. It’s a whole different deal.”
T.J. Lavin has been hosting ‘The Challenge’ since 2005. (Arlene Richie/Shutterstock)
While the vets obviously come into the game with experience, T.J. said that there are definitely some new players to look out for, too. “I think Tyler [Crispen] was really good,” the BMX star admitted. “Alyssa [Lopez] is always good. She’s a challenger, as well. I’d love to see both of those people come back on. Desi [Williams] is always good. Stacking her up against some of the greats like Jonna [Mannion] and Tori [Deal], she held her own. It’s interesting to see some of the best MTV players play with the people from CBS.”
Season 2 will feature the players being split into three teams, which will be picked by randomly chosen captains in the first episode. “It’s kind of a throwback format,” T.J. dished. “I love having teams. You get into that all for one and one for all attitude and I love that. The only thing I don’t love about the team thing is picking them. Because somebody has to be last picked and that kind of sucks. But they handle it well. We’re all adults here. They knew what they signed up for and that it was going to be weird and difficult.”
Tyler Crispen is one of the players T.J. says to look out for. (Aaron Smith, courtesy of Paramount)
Read more from our chat with T.J. below!
On the difficulty of ‘The Challenge: USA’ final in season 1: You have to make things very, very difficult or it’s not The Challenge. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to change the game every time and make it more difficult and harder and crazier every time. You have to dig as deep as you can and a little bit more past that. So, no, we didn’t make it any easier [this time]. But now they know what to expect. So it’s going to be easier for them because they know what to expect.
On whether he has any say in the formatting, challenges etc: Zero say. I do put my two cents in, regardless. I do say what I feel. Whether that comes into any kind of play or not, I don’t think so, but I’ll still say it. I have a link to every single person that makes the decisions and I know what’s going to go on. So I don’t think it totally falls on deaf ears. I think they probably consider what I say. Eighteen years in, you kind of know what you’re doing!
“The Challenge: USA” season 2 cast. (Aaron Smith, courtesy of Paramount)
On separating his friendships with the competitors from the game: It’s not hard at all. It’s very easy. They know there’s nothing I can possibly do to help or hurt them. I’m not the referee or judge or end all, be all to the game. Their performance is that. So I’m not even worried about that at all, and neither is anybody else, I don’t think.
On how much longer he’ll host ‘The Challenge’: I love it. It’s kind of become me. I love that me and the crew are family. It’s a great job and it’s fun, so there’s no way I would want to give it up. It’s definitely a lot of work and time away from home, and it’s tough, but my wife is a different level of partner. She handles all the business and does everything [at home]. My mom still works for me, as well. She handles all the stuff with housing because I do real estate, as well, and have a lot of rental homes. Those two things are very important to me. But they also know that we’re killing it and having fun!
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