‘The Amazing Race’: Phil Keoghan on Why the Competition Series Has Lasted 34 Seasons

In a world where the market is oversaturated with new reality series in nearly every genre almost monthly, The Amazing Race is coming up on its 34th season. The longstanding CBS reality competition series is an adventure where 11 or 12 teams of two race around the world. Health and fitness enthusiast Phil Keoghan has hosted the show since Season 1, which premiered in 2001.

Phil Keoghan on 'The Amazing Race,' Keoghan has hosted the show for 34 seasons
Phil Keoghan | Kit Karzen/CBS via Getty Images

As fans gear up to watch the Season 34 premiere and see a new series of teams compete for the grand prize, Keoghan says the secret to the show’s success is that it’s inspirational. Showbiz spoke with Keoghan on why the show has such a good track record.

Phil Keoghan says the show is a success because it gives viewers hope

Keoghan has been with the show since the start. Aside from game show hosts, news anchors, and soap stars, he’s an anomaly when it comes to keeping one job in show business. But it’s a project he enjoys. “I think it’s just an awesome format. We’ve got people who are in a preexisting relationship, traveling around the world, trying new and different things. It’s a celebration of the human spirit,” he told us.

Source: YouTube

More importantly, it’s a level of escapism that he says the world needs in such a state of chaos with the continuous news cycle. It’s a show that people can root for and leave them feeling good.

“There’s plenty of shows that sort of focus on the things that are wrong and make entertainment out of that. I mean, news in itself is a lot about what’s going wrong in the world. We’re reporting some terrible thing that’s happened in the world,” he added. “We need news, but it doesn’t necessarily make us feel good, and a show like Amazing Race is a show that can celebrate some of the better things in life rather than some of the things that go wrong. That’s part of what I love about the show. I think that’s why people like to watch it, because it makes them feel inspired and makes them want to get out and travel, and it makes them enjoy and experience with the cast.”

Season 34 will take viewers to new parts of the world

For the first time in the show’s 34-season history, the teams will begin the race outside of the U.S. The start line will take place in Munich, Germany for the starting line. 

Source: YouTube

From there, the racers will visit Petra, in Jordan. While there, teams will ride a train and experience a scene reminiscent of the 1963 classic Lawrence of Arabia. They will also embark on other cultural experiences like having the chance to perform Jordanian folk dance, and learn the Arabic alphabet. 

Viewers will travel alongside the competitors to Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Iceland, and Nashville, where the finish line will be located. The lucky team will take home a $1 million grand prize.

There’s also a surprise twist this season

Along with new locations, CBS has also revealed that the show is getting will no longer have non-elimination legs for the first time. One team will be eliminated at the end of every leg, making it one of the most grueling races thus far.

It’s something Keoghan says has caused the competitors to be even more intense. “People have run into the pit stop, and they’ve been wondering, are they going to be eliminated or not? We decided that we would take the non- eliminations out and make it much more fate accomplished. If you are last, you’re out, you’re done. There’s no second chance,” he explained.

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