Everyone is replaceable in reality television, something fans found out when it came to Dee Nguyen this season on The Challenge: Total Madness. The three-time Challenge star was fired from MTV last month after making racially insensitive comments about the Black Lives Matter movement. Subsequently, the editing team was given the daunting task of removing as much of Dee as possible from the show’s episodes, something which was very difficult since the Australian was featured in many storylines.
The Challenge producer and showrunner Emer Harkin recently caught up with Entertainment Weekly, where he stood behind production company Bunim/Murray on their decision to edit her out where possible. According to Harkin, it wasn’t a difficult task to be dealt with but was something that kept the editing team very busy given the strict deadlines on a weekly basis.
“[The editing team] went back and trawled through the other story options and plugging them in and making them relevant and threading them from the previous episode to the next episode and so on. Logistically it was extremely busy work, but that’s how we work, under very tight deadlines and tight time restraints. We just wove the story a different way. We’re very fortunate that we are not a show that relies on one cast member or two cast members. We’ve got a body of wonderful people telling all sorts of wonderful stories, so we’re never at a loss for having something interesting and relevant to tell.”
Dee wasn’t just heavily edited out of Total Madness, she was almost completely edited out, to the point where it became a mission from viewers to try and spot her. In her second elimination against Mattie Lynn Breaux, Dee was still struggling for airtime. Now that she has been eliminated from the show in Wednesday’s Hall Brawl against Jenny West, the show will go back to airing the way it was initially intended.
Dee was at the center of much of the season’s drama but things were forced to take a right turn quickly. There has been no back and forth between Dee and her ex Rogan O’Connor, for example, and the friendship fallout between her and Jenny was wiped from the slate. The show turned to storylines surrounding Bayliegh Dayton, Nany Gonzalez, and Kaycee Clark, as well as Cory Wharton and Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat. Dee’s exit interview and comments regarding her loss to Jenny in Hall Brawl were left on the cutting room floor, something many fans wished they could have seen.
It has also been revealed that Dee was not present for the virtual reunion which was done via Zoom last month. Whether her absence is addressed on the show remains to be seen.