Challenge Hall of Fame Inductee #5
*All odds are strictly for entertainment purposes only. This is NOT a betting site.
This was the only HOF inductee that was not voted on by the public, and I doubt there is any backlash on this one.
The Challenge went through a growing phase, much like any other show. Early on, it was definitely more of a cast-off sister show of Real World and Road Rules, even taking the name. For a season, we saw Challengers Eric Nies and Mark Long host a season, followed by Olympian Skier Johnny Moseley and BMXer Dave Mirra with some hosting duties until season 11, where fellow BMXer TJ Lavin took the reigns and never let go.
For a lot of Challenge fans, the show simply wasn’t the masterpiece it has become until TJ took over - in fact, watching old seasons can be odd and even off-putting without the tough-love and charisma coming from the much-respected Lavin.
The relationship between TJ and contestants can be comically uneasy at times - TJ has no problem expressing his displeasure with quitters or lack of effort - while a simple grin or small praise from the host proves to mean the world to anyone lucky enough to be on the receiving end.
When looking at this decision, I think to myself: would this show be as good with another host? Obviously, that’s hard to tell. However, does the host bring another level, another tier of excellence to the show that would be sorely missed without him? Take some similar shows: CBS juggernauts Big Brother and Survivor. While a staple on the show, the recent rumors of Julie Chen being replaced or leaving has led the speculation of possible replacements, and while I have not read too many theories, even the possibility of BB16 Houseguest and BB18 Champion Nicole Franzel made me think, “Yeah, I could see that.” On the flipside, Jeff Probst on Survivor is a part of that show. Having him run around with his hands in the air proclaiming wins, his drilling questions breaking down gameplay during Tribal Ceremonies - if Probst were replaced with someone new, Survivor would lose something. He is the heartbeat of that show, much like TJ Lavin is for the Challenge.
In a show that both shouldn’t take itself too seriously and also can’t allow itself to become a joke, Lavin is the perfect blend of stoic and lighthearted. It takes a Gen-X cool guy with a dash of hip dad to demand a level of respect and fear while also being someone the contestants want to hang with, something that feels uniquely-Lavin.
TJ might be the only person to ever find himself in this position: A Challenge Hall of Famer that has never competed in a Challenge.