TJ Lavin Picks Between Johnny Bananas & CT as Greatest ‘Challenge’ Player

TJ Lavin, Johnny Bananas and Chris "CT" Tamburello

CBS/MTV (Clockwise, L-R) TJ Lavin, Johnny Bananas and Chris "CT" Tamburello

The longtime host of “The Challenge,” TJ Lavin, recently weighed in on who he thinks the greatest player of all time is, picking between Johnny Bananas and Chris “CT” Tamburello.

Both reality TV personalities have been a part of the franchise since the mid-2000s and have earned several championships and grand prizes. All in all, Bananas has hoisted the most trophies out of any Challenger ever with seven, whereas CT has won on five separate occasions.

Those two names are typically on top of the list when it comes to “GOAT” talk in the “Challenge” universe. So, when Heavy’s Stephen McCaugherty spoke with TJ about the upcoming CBS spinoff “The Challenge: USA,” he asked the host for his thoughts on the Bananas vs. CT debate.

And TJ broke it down:

“Well, Bananas is for sure (the greatest) because you can’t argue with the numbers,” TJ said.

“He has more money, more championships. He’s won more. That’s the facts of the situation. Who would win on a ‘Challenge’ if they were together and they were battling it out? I think CT might get him.

“The greatest of all time is Bananas. No doubt about it. But who would win? Who’s a better Challenger in today’s day and age? I think it might be CT. I don’t know, he could get him. So it’s right there, who knows? It’s something that I would love to see.”

The last time Bananas competed on a show was when he won “Total Madness” in 2020. There have been two seasons of the original series since then, and CT has picked up the championship each time, crossing the finish line first during “Double Agents” and “Spies, Lies & Allies.”

You can watch TJ’s entire interview via the YouTube video embedded below:

Host TJ Lavin Talks 'The Challenge: USA,' Johnny Bananas vs. CT Debate, MoreStephen McCaugherty spoke with TJ Lavin for about the upcoming premiere of CBS' "The Challenge: USA," and much more! (00:00) – Intro (00:08) – The Challenge crossing over to CBS is monumental (01:14) – Did TJ feel any extra pressure hosting a CBS show? (02:20) – TJ didn't plan on being a successful reality…2022-06-28T19:02:26Z

TJ Said ‘It’s a Dream Come True’ That ‘The Challenge’ Is Premiering on CBS

“The Challenge: USA” will premiere on CBS on July 6 and it’ll feature a brand-new crop of players in search of reality TV competition glory. This is the first time “The Challenge” will have a spinoff on CBS, one of the biggest networks in television history.

And when TJ was asked about the monumental step for “The Challenge,” the host said it was a “dream come true.

“It’s insane,” TJ said. “Dream come true. I mean, we really couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. I don’t believe it’s true. I hope it’s still going on. It’s so scary. Like, it feels like a dream.

“It’s crazy the level that we’re at and we’re going to, it’s insane. It really is. And I’m very excited for people to watch that never have seen ‘The Challenge,’ who have no idea what ‘The Challenge’ is. For them to be part of it and now bring them into the fold is incredible.

“The Challenge: USA” will have contestants from four different unscripted CBS shows: “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “The Amazing Race” and “Love Island.”

TJ Was Always Ready for ‘The Challenge’ to Be Cancelled Until Around 5 Years Ago

TJ never imagined that he’d end up hosting “The Challenge” for over 15 years. His first season was “The Gauntlet 2” which aired between 2005 and 2006. And TJ said during the interview that “up until five years ago,” he was ready for MTV to cancel the show at any moment.

“I didn’t plan on this,” TJ said about having such a successful career as a reality TV host. “I was just a BMX dude from Vegas, just a desert rat doing my thing. And then I just got into this, literally fell into it. And now here we are 17 years later.

“I just can’t believe it, man. I really can’t. It’s insane to me.

TJ praised the show’s executive producer, Justin Booth, saying he “basically made ‘The Challenge’ what it is today.” But a few years back, Booth wasn’t even sure if the show would make it.

“He was like, ‘I’ve got another season. I was like, ‘No way.’ And every season he’d be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know how much longer it’s gonna last.’  He always sets you up for the big failure… but then it just never came. We just kept going.

“It was like, ‘Dude, another one?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, no, five.’ ‘Oh, what?’ ‘Like, they ordered five.’ We’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s a lot of work… like, how are we going to do all that?’ And so we just do it, put our head down and do it.

“And then here we are. And it’s crazy. It’s just really, really lucky.”

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