“Don’t take care. Hope to see you never.”
With those eight words, said in The Challenge‘s 28th season, T.J. Lavin cemented his status as a reality TV icon, arguably one of the most underrated hosts in the genre, the calming center at the eye of MTV reality series’ chaotic storm. And the guy not afraid to tell it like it is when faced with his least favorite type of competitor: A quitter.
The Challenge first premiered in 1998, with Lavin replacing his friend and fellow professional BMXer Dave Mirra as the host in 2005. And thanks to his laidback personality, casual delivery and tendency to laugh at the contestants’ fears and failures, the unassuming Lavin quickly became an essential part of the franchise—something he never anticipated when he first took the gig.
“When I first got the show I thought I would do it for one or two seasons,” Lavin, 44, admitted in a recent phone interview with E! News.