'The Challenge' Hit With Major Behind-the-Scenes Setback

Fans may be in for an even longer wait for the next season of The Challenge. According to Ashley's Reality Roundup, the series, which began production on Season 37 in Croatia earlier this month, was forced to shut down due to COVID-19. One individual connected to the show tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after filming began, leading to the entire production being put on pause as the cast heads back into quarantine. Ashley's Reality Roundup reported that a cast member may have been the one to test positive. (They noted that the rumor originated on fan site Vevmo and was later confirmed by their sources.) Of course, in order to maintain the contestant's privacy, they did not report who it was that might have tested positive for COVID-19.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the cast for the upcoming season of The Challenge quarantined prior to filming. While in quarantine, they underwent multiple rounds of COVID-19 testing. But, a cast member reportedly tested positive about five to six days into filming. A source told the publication, "[The cast member] tested positive after [he/she] had already been in the Challenge House and had completed and filmed the first daily challenge. That's especially problematic because [that person] was in close contact with many other cast members and crew."

The upcoming season of The Challenge reportedly already filmed the first daily challenge, which involved the contestants competing outside in the town of Istria. Even though the competition was filmed outside, it is likely that the contestants already moved into their shared accommodations together, which presents yet another issue if one of the cast members did test positive for COVID-19. At the moment, it is unclear whether anyone else in the cast or crew tested positive. However, the cast has been sent back into quarantine as the production focuses on their next steps. There have been no details released regarding how long this additional quarantine will last and how this will impact Season 37.

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Since the MTV series has already filmed seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the producers already had plans in place for a potential outbreak within the cast. In December, producer Emer Harkin told Variety that if someone in the cast tested positive for COVID-19, they would be sent home, the production would be shut down, and they would have to tell viewers what happened if it took place in the midst of filming. Although, Harkin did say that they were confident that they would be able to avoid a potential outbreak situation after already producing seasons in the pandemic. The producer said, "We know how to travel crew and how to travel cast and how to quarantine; we know the types of countries we should shoot in; we know the types of properties and vendors we want to work with, right down to catering providers and cleaners. Now that we've got that framework in place the sky's the limit, really." Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS.