Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2017 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta’s Josh Murray has been part of three reality shows seeking (or learning about ) love, an area where he hasn’t had much luck to date.
But he found a show that focuses on an area he feels far more comfortable: athletic competition. MTV’s “The Challenge,” which airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m., is currently holding a special season featuring veterans from the show itself vs. stars such as Murray, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and rapper Lil Romeo (Romeo Miller).
“It was a blast. This was the most fun I’ve had on a reality show. It wasn’t dating for one,” Murray said in a recent interview. “That was a very big positive.”
Murray, 33, is the brother of former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, an ex-minor league baseball player and a Bulldog football alum himself. He has kept himself in great shape over the years and is planning to open two F-45 gym franchises, one in Dunwoody and one near Chastain Park.
But he’s better known as the man who “The Bachelorette” Andi Dorman picked in 2014 but soon saw the relationship crumble once the TV cameras were off. What’s worse for him, she wrote a tell-all book painting him as a controlling “emotional abuser.” He chose to take the high road and simply called what she said “fiction.” He later dated Amanda Stantion on “Bachelor in Paradise” last year, landing on the cover of Us magazine, but that also relationship also failed to last.
Murray said he is 100 percent sure he will not do another dating show. “It wasn’t a lot of fun with ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ and the way they edited it,” he said, referencing his experience last year. He was also disappointed in his 2016 stint on E!’s ‘Famously Single,” where single famous folks were counseled on finding a mate.
“I want to find somebody and needed a little bit of help. I expected to get good advice. I didn’t get great advice from the psychiatrist or psychologist,” he said. At the same time, he had a hard time spilling dirt on his relationship with Dorfman, not wanting to bite back. “I didn’t want to share all the juice,” he said. “In retrospect, I should have told the truth a little bit more. I still have a clear conscience. I learned more from the castmates. I realize I wasn’t the only one dealing with these issues.”
Murray enjoyed “The Challenge” but admitted he wasn’t terribly strategic compared to, say, veterans like Johnny Bananas. “I am not a strategist,” he said. “I like to get along with people. I’m often a mediator. It’s not just a physical game. It’s a mind game.” He noted that Terrell Owens couldn’t take it and bolted.
He competed on the show for $150,000 for charity: ESP in Athens, as in Extra Special People. The non-profit offers up a camp for hundreds of kids with disabilities such as Down’s Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy in the Athens area. Murray has been active with the group going back to college.
“All the kids come together for a huge talent show,” Murray said. “They perform in front of an audience of hundreds of people. There’s not a dry eye in the room.”
Murray admits he can be a bit hard on the outside but when it comes to the ESP campers, he is a softie: “The kids mean so much to me.”
As for “The Challenge,” ‘thank God I can be in my own element,” he said. “Just being physical and having the camaraderie instead of a bunch of guys hating me because I’m with a girl that they like.”
Murray is single and dating. “I’m missing being with someone and eventually having kids,” he said. “I love that stuff! We’ll see what happens.”
He is very much a dog lover. His adorable bulldog Sabel passed away from cancer last year: “It’s still tough on me when I think about it. It’s tough to get over that.”
But good news: he recently picked up a new one named Gizzy, as in Gizmo from “The Gremlins.”
And speaking of bulldogs, he is naturally excited that UGA is in the Rose Bowl and in the running for the National Championship. The Bulldogs play the Oklahoma Sooners on New Year’s Day.
“They’ve had a hell of a year,” Murray said. “With our running game and defense, we’ll be able to slow [Oklahoma’s] offense down and have a chance to make it to the National Championship Game.”
He plans to attend that game at Mercedes-Benz January 8 and hopes his Dawgs will be there for the win. “It’s a coin flip with all the teams,” he said.
“The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars,” 10 p.m. Tuesdays, MTV