Diem Brown is undoubtedly the star of Season 26 of MTV’s “The Challenge.” Ahead of the premiere of “Battle of the Exes 2” next month, the network released the first trailer for the new installment Thursday, showcasing the drama set to unfold this season.
As previously announced by MTV, this year, the series will force former lovers to work together in teams of two as they battle it out for the $350,000 cash prize. While almost all of the 26 contestants are shown in the 1-minute sneak peek, its the fan's most beloved star, the late Diem Brown, who is given the most airtime.
Diem’s leading role in the trailer comes one week after MTV released a special, “We Heart Diem,” in her honor. Diem passed away at the age of 34 on Nov. 14 after a decade-long battle with cancer. Fellow late “Challenge” star, “The Real World: New Orleans” alum, Ryan Knight, is also shown with his partner, Jemmye, in the clip. He died just two weeks after Diem, on Nov. 27, at the age of 29. MTV has dedicated this season of the show to the fallen pair.
“Things happen but you can’t keep on waiting,” Diem says in the promo. “If you want something, go for it.”
Diem’s partner and longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend, Chris “CT” Tamburello, can also be seen in the promo. In one shot, he even carries his former love before telling her, “Whatever comes our way, you know?”
The series’ newest rookies, contestants from Season 1 of MTV’s dating series “Are You The One?” and “The Real World: Ex-plosion,” also make their first appearances in the promo. While its customary for "The Challenge” newcomers to be sent home by the veterans within the first few episodes as a sort of initiation ritual, this season appears to be a different story.
In what MTV is calling “one of the most shocking seasons yet,” this installment will give the eliminated teams a chance at redemption. As MTV previously announced, midseason, some of the fallen contestants will be given the opportunity to come back and compete for their chance to win the cash prize.
“We can turn this whole thing upside down,” newcomer and “Are You The One?” star Adam says to his partner Brittany after learning of the twist.
“This is epic!” says his co-star John "JJ" who will compete with Simone on the show. “I think our chances of winning are either zero percent or a 100 percent. It’s either we’re leaving the first week or the last week.”
While the rookies seem pleased by this season’s elimination shake-up, "The Challenge” veterans, some of which are already displeased about working alongside their exes, are equally unhappy about the Season 26 change.
“This is not going how it was supposed to go,” says Wes.
“This is the game,” adds Zach. “It’s dirty. It’s ugly. It’s really not fair.”