Season 26 of the MTV competition reality show The Challenge premiered Tuesday night with a dark cloud hanging over the series. Just this past November, two cast mates from Battle of the Exes 2 tragically passed away. Diem Brown, who appeared on numerous seasons of The Challenge lost a long and hard-fought battle with ovarian cancer. Just days later, Ryan Knight of The Real World: New Orleans died suddenly and mysteriously on Thanksgiving morning. Both Brown and Knight appear as contestants on this current season and I was expecting MTV to pay tribute to its late cast members. Unfortunately, the network didn't deliver, merely showing a few-second-long image of the two stating, "This season is dedicated to Diem Brown & Ryan Knight."
It felt strange to watch the show begin without any acknowledgment of the two immense losses. The short "tribute" was saved for the end of the show during the credits. It would have felt more earnest had MTV brought their dedication to the beginning of the episode. It was difficult and strange to see both Brown and Knight on the show without any sort of nod to their passing. It felt as if the network was ignoring it or pretending it didn't happen. It was so very, very odd.
Thankfully MTV did air a special We Heart Diem back in December in recognition of the star's immense contributions to women's health and patient care. Both she and Knight are sorely missed.
Take a look at The Challenge's end credit tribute: