MTV is paying tribute to its fallen stars. Following the network's announcement that Season 26 of “The Challenge” will be dedicated to the late Diem Brown and Ryan Knight, the series creator, Jonathan Murray, has revealed that the 2015 installment was edited to make the two deceased cast members shine.
In an interview with E! Online, Murray revealed he considered Diem, who passed away at the age of 34 Nov. 14 following a decade-long battle with cancer, like “family.” Ryan, who died at the age of 29 just two weeks later on Thanksgiving after a night out partying, was also reportedly near and dear to the production team’s heart. “It has been really hard,” Murray said. “We get to know these people over the years, and it’s hard on everybody.”
When fans of the MTV series will get their final chance to say goodbye to the cast members next year when “The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2” premieres, Murray said the late reality-TV stars will only be shown in the best light. “A few weeks ago, both of them passed away so close to each other in time, it was rough for everyone. We just focused on editing the shows to make sure that we do justice to both these people in making sure that we send them out in a good way,” Murray said, later adding, "We really looked at the scenes they were in and how we show them, and made sure that we send them out in a really positive way."
Despite some speculation that the series’ second “Battle of the Exes” installment may never make it on air due to the loss of two cast members, Murray said canceling the program’s release was never in the cards. "No, that never occurred to us," Murray said. "They were both, particularly Diem, such great competitors. Diem loved 'The Challenge.' She talked about it being that opportunity to get away from her cancer. ... She loved being a part of that, and we're pretty convinced that Diem and Knight would want this season to air."
“The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2” trailer, released by MTV last week, featured both Diem and Ryan. “Things happen, but you can’t keep on waiting,” Diem says in the promo. “If you want something, go for it.”
This season Diem will be paired with her longtime, on-again, off-again flame, Chris “CT” Tamburello. Ryan will compete alongside his ex-girlfriend and “The Real World: New Orleans” co-star Jemmye Carroll. The two teams will join 10 other groups of two and battle it out in a series of challenges with the hopes of winning the $350,000 prize. The series filmed in Panama over the summer.
“The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2” premieres Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 11 p.m. EST on MTV.