The Amazing Race returns for its 29th season on Thursday, March 30th at 10:00 PM ET/PT on CBS. This season will take the 10-time Emmy Award winning series in a brand new direction as the racers will be teamed up with complete strangers. After an initial challenge, contestants will pair up and head out to travel the world in the hopes of winning a one million dollar grand prize!
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to the show’s longtime host, Phil Keoghan, to discuss the upcoming season.
MW- The 29th season of The Amazing Race kicks off on March 30th and it’s the first time teams are made up of complete strangers, what can we expect from this new twist to the show’s format?
PK- Well this season we have 22 complete strangers lining up for the first time. Normally we have 11 teams of two who are in preexisting relationships. The teams come with their years of being in a relationship whether they’re husband and wife, brother and sister, best friends, or whatever it is, but in this season there’s no preexisting relationships. We have 22 complete strangers who are then paired at the starting line and have to find a way to race for that million dollar prize.
MW- And what was the motivating factor for making this change, moving from teams with preexisting relationships to total strangers?
PK- I think the idea was just to try something new. We’ve had a lot of really good people apply for the show that maybe haven’t necessarily had a great partner, where we liked maybe one of two people on the team. Also a lot of people apply saying, “Hey I can’t find someone to go with, I’d really love to go,” and so this is an opportunity for a great individual who is prepared to roll the dice and try racing with a complete stranger. We just thought it would be an interesting experiment.
MW- You’ve seen so many pairs throughout the years, what observations have you made about what makes a successful team?
PK- Well what I’ve learned is that there really is no perfect combination for what makes a team win The Amazing Race. If you look at the winners and you look at the diversity and you look at the different skill sets of some of the different teams you realize that there is a lot of luck at play in the factors of how well they do. I wish I could say that there was a magic formula that you have to do this or that or that you need to have these particular skills, but there’s such an eclectic group of winners and racers over the years who have done well. There’s not a lot of commonality other than the grit and determination to get to the finish line.
MW- Who are the racers in this season we should be most excited to watch?
PK- We pride ourselves in having a mix of people that will appeal to the mix we have with our audience. Hopefully every single one of the people that we’ve chosen is interesting to somebody out there who is watching as an audience member. We have a banker, an auctioneer, a police sergeant, a trainer, a police officer who happens to be from Seattle, we have recruiting managers, a professional snowboarder, an active army officer, somebody who does outdoor adventures, a criminal attorney, a real estate agent, a canine officer, an artist, even somebody who is a drum major at college. It’s such a mix that we’re hoping there’s something or someone there that will appeal to everyone in our audience.
MW- You have what a lot of people would consider one of the most incredible jobs on the planet, you get to travel and experience so many different things. What job do you look at and say, “If I wasn’t hosting The Amazing Race, I’d love to have that job.”
PK- Well, I love 60 Minutes, big fan of 60 Minutes. It’s sort of my staple show and I’ve had the opportunity to work on 60 Minutes Sports. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the producers and the journalists over there, headed up by Jeff Fager. So I would love to continue to tell more stories and I do love the opportunity that the 60 Minutes journalists have of telling just such an interesting mix of story. That would probably be at the top of my list for sure.
MW- Speaking of lists, you’ve done so much and seen so many places, what is currently at the top of your bucket list and what is something you’ve already done that you’d recommend people should add to theirs?
PK- Well I’ve written a book called No Opportunity Wasted which was about writing a list of things to do before you die. I started writing that list at 19 and I’ve been ticking a number of things off that list ever since. Right now, I’m looking to push a film out into the market place, that was on my list, to retrace the 1928 Tour de France. It took 5 years to complete the film and it’s been playing at television festivals around the world. Now it’s coming to the United States and I’m going to be traveling through the month of April to major cities around the U.S. to share the film in 4k. That’s what is really at the top of my list right now that I’m working on and it’s just wonderful to be at the point where I can share the film with an audience!
As far as what I would recommend to people to have on their list, it’s to actually write a list. Sit down and do some soul searching and really think about those things that you want to do with your life so that you make the most of life.
MW- Well that’s all I’ve got for you today, thanks so much for the time. I’m looking forward to the season premiere!
PK- You got it, thank you so much.
The Amazing Race airs Thursdays at 10:00 PM ET/PT only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.