MTV has not yet made an announcement about the 37th season of The Challenge but several reports from reliable spoiler accounts in the past week indicated that filming already started for the season. Note: This article does not contain any spoilers for the cast or content of the 37th season.
Not long after these reports, the same sources revealed on April 26 that production was completely shut down and temporarily halted after a cast member tested positive for COVID-19. The remaining cast members were returned to quarantine and there is no indication at this time how long they will quarantine for and when production will resume.
According to The Ashley’s Reality Roundup, a source revealed that, “[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 positive test came five to six days into filming and after a quarantine period and numerous weekly COVID-19 tests so it’s unclear when the cast member came to contract the virus. “Everyone is wondering how it was possible for someone in the situation they have here to test positive,” the source told the outlet. “The only explanation is that [the person] had COVID [upon arrival] but, because it takes up to 14 days to show positive sometimes, they initially tested negative.”
There has been no further information about whether other cast members or crew tested positive.
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During Double Agents, Producer Emer Harkin Revealed the Plan If Someone Were to Test Positive for COVID-19
After the Double Agents season was successfully run without incident during the pandemic, showrunner Emer Harkin told Variety that the producers developed a strict protocol for avoiding COVID-19 cases and keeping cast and crew safe during filming. “For everybody [in the cast], it was about getting [their] head wrapped around [the new] steps that would get us to the show, and then once they were in the house they could proceed as normal,” she told the outlet.
She said the cast was treated as one bubble: “We basically treated our cast as one person: We had them all in quarantine and rigorously tested so we knew when they entered the cast house they were all healthy and well.” At the time, she said, “Now that we’ve done it we’re in such a privileged position to know how to do it.” She continued:
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.
Harkin told Variety that if a cast member tested positive before the season started, an alternate would take their place. If a player tested positive once filming had started, the cast member would have to be medically disqualified from the show, with the reason why provided to viewers. “We couldn’t keep people there for months on end, just waiting,” Harkin explained.
The End of Double Agents Hinted at What Might Happen on the 37th Season of the Show
Warning: This section contains light spoilers regarding the theme and location of the 37th season of The Challenge.
Not much is known about the upcoming season of The Challenge, which is reportedly being filmed in Vrsar, Croatia, but a short clip at the end of the Double Agents final hinted that the show may be a sequel to the 36th season theme-wise.
Viewers saw host TJ Lavin, dressed as the agents’ handler like he was throughout the season, enter a room and receive information in the same format as the Double Agents theme, hinting that the 37th season would continue with the theme of spies, missions and secrecy.
Some cast speculation has been discussed in other articles; read more about possible cast members on the 37th season here.