South African-born writer and emerging indie filmmaker Tumelo Tladi has been hard at work earning credits behind the scenes in the unscripted storytelling space in the United States.
The 35-year-old was recently welcomed into the fold at Bunim/Murray Productions in Los Angeles, as an associate story producer on world-renowned MTV competition series, The Challenge. Bunim/Murray Productions are known for being pioneers in reality television with their groundbreaking The Real World franchise which hit TV screens for the first time in 1992.
The Challenge, which is Now in its 37th season, films on location in often remote parts of the world. In a move to appeal to a global audience, the Real World/Road Rules spin-off series has in recent years started including international reality competitors from other reality television shows such as the international formats of ViacomCBS' Big Brother and Survivor, and not just the Real World/Road Rules franchise alums.
Continuing the “secret agent / spy” theme from the previous season Double Agents, two former Big Brother Naija: Pepper Dem housemates, Natacha “Tacha” Akide and Esther Agunbiade, are now included among the rookie agents this season, making history as the show’s first ever participants from Nigeria, as well as the African continent.
Coming from South Africa, Tumelo’s role on the series brings a unique point of view to the show’s post-production story side of things, which also landed her the associate story producer role on The Challenge: All Stars, a spin-off of the show which has recently been renewed for a second season.
“Reality TV in South Africa is shaped differently from start to finish, and so while working on The Challenge has been fun and rewarding, it’s also been eye-opening as well, particularly this upcoming season which includes popular participants from Africa. Being the only one on the team who’s African, means I see certain aspects of the storytelling process in a different light and can bring that to the table”, says the associate producer.
Reality series fans in the United States can catch the new season premiere of The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies on MTV on August 11, 2021, while The Challenge: All Stars is also available for streaming in the United States on Paramount Plus.