February 27, 2006 12:05 AM by Joe Blackmon
In a recent conference call with the media about Amazing Race 9, Phil Keoghan spent much of his time essentially apologizing for the Amazing Race Family Edition. Phil stated that “anything new and different is most susceptible to criticism.” Phil repeatedly made comments to the effect of “the race is most successful where it has less faces, more places, where it is teams of two racing around the world.” Phil also acknowledged that “the places are as much a star of the show as the people themselves.”
Even though international locales are a major appeal of the race, Phil did not think U.S. viewers would be receptive to racers from different countries. Phil pointed out that the show is funded by a U.S. network for a U.S. audience. Drawing a parallel to sporting events, Phil pointed out “most people like to watch themselves than people from other countries.”
Phil’s comments should bring a sigh of relief to any Amazing Race fans that were worried about the possibility of an Amazing Race Family Edition 2. Phil is right on track with the importance that international locations play in the appeal of the Amazing Race. The casting on the Amazing Race Family Edition wasn’t actually that bad, but having four people traveling together just created too much confusion and didn’t allow for the close interaction and dynamics that just two people can create. The real killer of the Amazing Race Family Edition though was that destinations like a large office chair, a trailer home park and a BP gas station just weren’t that amazing.
Even though many Amazing Race fans might be reassured that the show is going back to what originally made the show popular, Phil did have an opinion that might be disappointing to other Amazing Race fans. When asked about the possibility of an Amazing Race All-Stars edition, Phil stated “I don’t know, and I don’t know how successful that type of format is. From my understanding, the All-Stars version of Survivor was not as successful as new fresh faces coming in so I don’t know if it’s necessarily a ratings winner. I think that you change the dynamic when you bring back people because people are different once they’ve been shot and then they’ve been produced into a television show and it’s gone out into the world. They have a chance to reflect on the way that they’re depicted and the way that people react to them. I do think they come back differently. I don’t think that they are the same people any more. One of the things that works on the race is that we’re trying to pick people who are so called ordinary people in an extraordinary situation and that’s part of what keeps the show fresh. And when you already know how someone is and how they’re going to play their game, I don’t know if that’s necessarily as fascinating as watching some of the new fresh teams that we have in season 9 which are unlike any other teams we’ve ever seen and who are without doubt in my mind are guaranteed to entertain an audience. I don’t know if there’s any advantage to doing that. That doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. It’s just that the track record doesn’t seem to show that there’s a real benefit to doing it.”
While Phil does make some good points, he is incorrect about the success of the Survivor All-Stars edition. Survivor All-Stars was actually one of the most popular Survivor series ever. Even going up against some of the final episodes of Friends, Survivor All-Stars drew strong ratings. The premiere and the finale of Survivor All-Stars are two of the highest rated Survivor shows from the last several seasons. While an All-Stars edition is not something that should be overdone on a reality series, it can provide a nice change of pace if it is only done every ten or so seasons.
Reality TV Magazine recently caught up with Jonathan Baker from Amazing Race 6 and asked him his opinion on the idea of an Amazing Race All-Stars edition. Jonathan told Reality TV Magazine, “I believe The Amazing Race All Stars will happen just not anytime soon. Since Amazing Race Family Edition did not perform the way CBS expected, I think they will let the show run for the next year and then around Amazing Race 14 pull back in the most interesting people that have been on the show from seasons 1- 13.”
Jonathan also provided us with his picks for an Amazing Race All-Stars. Naturally, Jonathan included himself and his racing partner and wife Victoria on the list. His list intentionally did not include any previous winners. Here are Johathan Baker’s picks: Jonathan and Victoria, Colin and Christy, Kevin and Drew, Blake and Paige, Will and Tera, Jon and Kelly, Jon and Al, Tian and Jaree. Charla and Mirna, Kris and Jon, Brian and Greg, and a TAR 9 Team.
Jonathan will also be resuming his weekly radio show called “The Reality Minute” on March 1, right after Amazing Race 9 kicks off.