The Amazing Race returns this Wednesday at 9:00 PM ET/PT on CBS with a brand new twist! This season, teams will be made up of former Amazing Race Racers, Survivor Castaways and Big Brother Houseguests. Phil Keoghan returns for his 31st season as host as the game goes to all new destinations with never before seen challenges.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Keoghan ahead of Wednesday night’s premiere to discuss this season’s competitors, what it takes to win the $1,000,000 grand prize and his reunion with a couple of Amazing Race OG’s.
MW- Good morning Phil, how are you?
PK- Doing well Matt!
MW- Happy to hear it! Another season of The Amazing Race kicks off tomorrow night at 9:00 PM EST on CBS. This season comes with an interesting twist where the racers will be comprised of former Racers, Survivor Castaways and Big Brother Houseguests. What kind of dynamic do you think we’ll see on this season from all these well known personalities?
PK- Well, obviously anyone who has been on Survivor, Big Brother or The Amazing Race – they all think they have the advantage over each other. I’m sure they all think being in the race, or on the island or stuck in a house, and by the way I think being stuck in a house would be very difficult, is the most difficult thing. It’s just a great dynamic from the beginning because you’ve got these Survivor teams who are calling out the Racers saying they have no idea what it’s like on the island.
What I will say is that The Amazing Race is much different than any other show and the stage is much bigger. I don’t know if you could have a bigger stage unless you went into outer space [laughs]. We are operating in the world. We travel across many different continents, dozens of cities and countries. Even if you’ve been on The Amazing Race before there isn’t a huge advantage, because ultimately when you get those challenges you don’t know what you’re in for; it’s never a repeat of something. If you’ve got the savvy from being on an island or in the Big Brother house you’ve got as much of a shot as anyone.
MW- No one knows The Amazing Race better than you, having been there since the beginning of the show, what do you think are the most important skills a Racer can possess?
PK- I think adaptability. The ability to use tenacity and resourcefulness, all of those things come into play because a lot of the time you’re doing things for the first time. You’re walking into a situation where you have to flexible and that’s what I love about the show, it’s not an obstacle course or something that you can kind of predict how it’s going to go. On The Amazing Race you have no idea. You arrive in a country and you’re told you have to fish like the local fishermen do or you have to corral ten donkeys up a hill. There’s so much and it happens so quickly that you have to be reactive; you don’t have time to strategize. If you look at Survivor, the saying is “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.” This is a very different type of game because it’s about your own choices vs Survivor or Big Brother where you have the ability to get rid of the people you think are a threat.
MW- It’s not just the players that change but like you said the race itself changes every season. What are you most looking forward to about this season?
PK- Well my favorite part is when we get to go somewhere new and different. The fact that we can keep it fresh makes it really exciting for the fans and this season we get to Laos for the first time. Laos is a landlocked country in Asia and I would say that the places we go are as big of stars as any of the players. People love seeing this new, exciting destinations. This season we go to Tokyo, Vietnam, Dubai, Uganda, the Netherlands, Switzerland. There’s always something new and different and the challenges are always new and different. That’s what keeps things fresh.
MW- The world is really the “stage” so to speak.
PK- Exactly, and the you can’t control what goes on in the world. In other shows there is a controlled environment but on The Amazing Race there’s now way to keep the outside world out. If a plane gets cancelled or there’s bad weather or political unrest or a festival in the street that delays traffic – there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to adapt.
MW- And you have some of the most iconic Amazing Race adapters on your podcast coming up right?
PK- That’s right on my podcast, BUCKiT, I talk to the original winners, I guess you could call them the original gangsters [laughs] of The Amazing Race and it’s kind of an interesting discussion because we talk about how different it was for them in season one compared to how it is today. The podcast comes out this Wednesday, the same day as the new season premiere.
MW- Fantastic, a nice double dose for the fans of the show this Wednesday to get them ready for the new season! Thank you so much for talking to me today Phil and good luck with the new season!
PK- Thank you Matt! Take care.
An all-new season of The Amazing Race kicks off Wednesday night at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.