‘The Amazing Race’ Host Phil Keoghan Was Originally Considered for Jeff Probst’s ‘Survivor’ Gig

The three main CBS reality competition shows — Big Brother, Survivor, and The Amazing Race — have all been around for 20-plus years and have had the same host since their beginnings. Big Brother has Julie Chen Moonves. Survivor has Jeff Probst. And The Amazing Race has Phil Keoghan. They are all iconic in their own right and are staples of their shows. But CBS almost chose one host for a different show.

Phil Keoghan, who hosts 'The Amazing Race' Season 34 on CBS, wears a blue floral long-sleeved button-up shirt, jeans, and a tan hat while posing in front of statues in Italy.
Phil Keoghan | Photo: CBS

Phil Keoghan was originally in the running to host ‘Survivor’ before he landed ‘The Amazing Race’

In 2000, Survivor premiered on CBS with Jeff Probst as its host. However, that almost wasn’t the case. Phil Keoghan was on the shortlist alongside Probst to host Survivor before he landed the job for The Amazing Race.

The network ultimately chose Probst for the gig. But Keoghan was memorable enough that CBS kept him in mind for their other new reality competition series, The Amazing Race.

One year after the Survivor premiere, The Amazing Race debuted on CBS with Keoghan as the host. And we can’t imagine it any other way.

The host reflects on the show’s 34 seasons

During an interview with Paste Magazine, Phil Keoghan celebrated the 400th leg of The Amazing Race and reminisced about the show’s history.

“The other day, I was thinking about the fact that I have spent more than a year of my life greeting teams at the most iconic locations on Earth,” Keoghan shared. “In front of the seven wonders of the world and historic buildings that I used to marvel over in books when I was a kid.”

He added, “The longevity of Race is a fantastic format from [co-creators and executive producers] Bertram [van Munster] and Elise [Doganieri], the amazing places that we get to go to, and amazing faces. Amazing people who literally write our script every episode. I love to say that luck is the residue of design, put the right people in the right place to do amazing things, and you increase your chances of things going right.”

As for what he hopes is the legacy of The Amazing Race, Keoghan said, “A celebration of the human spirit, integrity, and respect for all people who live all over our precious earth. For too long, we have focused on our differences. But the reality is we all live in the same place. We might not eat the same food or worship the same God. But we all live on a fragile blue planet that will only support us if we can find a way to get along.”

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Phil Keoghan teases the future of ‘The Amazing Race’

Production had to pause in the middle of The Amazing Race Season 33 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. And when they resumed filming, they had to make many changes to accommodate COVID-19 protocols.

In season 34, some of the same protocols, like flying on the same charter plane, are in place. However, Phil Keoghan is hopeful that The Amazing Race will return to its full glory in the future.

The host tweeted, “Booking flights will be back as soon as the ‘return to work’ COVID protocols are off our back. Right now having a charter [equals The Amazing Race] on TV. No charter [equals] no [The Amazing Race] on TV. Let’s stay focused on what’s good in the world.”

New episodes of The Amazing Race Season 34 air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.