The Amazing Race is an American adventure reality game show in which 11 or 12 teams of two race around the world (except the Family edition which featured 10 teams of four and was contested entirely within North and Central America). The race is split into legs, with each leg requiring teams to deduce clues, navigate themselves in foreign areas, interact with locals, perform physical and mental challenges, and travel by airplane, boat, taxi, and other public transportation options on a limited budget provided by the show. Teams are progressively eliminated at the end of most legs, while the first team to arrive at the end of the final leg wins the grand prize of US$1 million. As the original version of the Amazing Race franchise, the CBS program has been running since September 5, 2001. Numerous international versions have been developed following the same core structure, while the American version is also broadcast to several other countries.
The Amazing Race is a reality television competition, typically involving eleven teams of two, in a race around the world. The race cycle is divided into a number of legs, normally twelve; each episode generally covers the events of one leg. Each leg ends with a Pit Stop, where teams are given a chance to rest and recover before starting the next leg twelve hours later. The first team to arrive at a Pit Stop is often awarded a prize such as a trip, while the last team is normally eliminated from the race. Some legs are non-elimination legs, where the last team to arrive may be penalized in the following leg. Some races have featured double-length legs, where the teams meet the host at what appears to be a Pit Stop, only to be told to continue to race. The final leg of each race is run by the last three remaining teams, and the first to arrive at the final destination wins the show's prize, US$1 million. The average length of each race is approximately 21 to 30 days.
During each leg, teams follow clues from Route Markers boxes containing clue envelopes marked in the race's red, yellow, and white colors to determine their next destination. Travel between destinations includes commercial and chartered airplanes, boats, trains, taxis, buses, and rented vehicles provided by the show, or the teams may simply travel by foot. Teams are required to pay for all expenses while traveling from a small stipend (on the order of $100) given to them at the start of each leg. Any money left unspent can be used in future legs of the race. The only exception is air travel, where teams are given a credit card to purchase economy-class fares. Some teams have resorted to begging to replenish their funds.
Clues may directly identify locations, contain cryptic riddles such as \"Travel to the westernmost point in continental Europe\" that teams must figure out, or include physical elements, such as a country's flag, indicating their next destination. Clues may also describe a number of tasks that teams must complete before continuing to race. As such, teams are generally free and sometimes required to engage locals to help in any manner to decipher clues and complete tasks. Tasks are typically designed to highlight the local culture of the country they are in. Such tasks include:
Teams are penalized for failing to complete these tasks as instructed or other rules of the race, generally thirty minutes plus any time gained for the infraction. Such penalties may be enforced while teams are racing, when they arrive at the Pit Stop, or at the start of the next leg.
The events of the race are generally edited and shown in chronological order, cutting between the actions of each team as they progress. More recent seasons have been edited to show split-screen footage of simultaneous actions or two or more different teams in the style of 24. Footage from the race is interspersed with commentary from the individual teams or members recorded after each leg to give more insight on the events being shown. The show helps to track the progress of racers through a leg by providing frequent on-screen information identifying teams and their placement.
Prior to each of the Races, the production team plans out the locations and tasks that the racers will travel, working in conjunction with local representatives, each of whom Van Munster had initially had available for a different show. The staff also consults with ex-military or federal agents that are aware of political matters in foreign areas, who may advise on countries or regions to avoid. Van Munster and others will then travel the proposed course to verify the locations and identify needs for filming for the show. The crew works with local government representatives to assure the safety of the racers while traveling through certain areas of the world. Despite pre-planning, the production crew may be faced with obstacles forcing them to change tasks or even locations. In one situation during planning of the second race, the Argentine bank system failed, creating political unrest, and a new country was selected. Similarly, after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and the sexual assault of South African-American reporter Lara Logan who worked for CBS, the production staff considers Egypt to be \"off the map right now.\" While filming had started on the 33rd season of the race in early February 2020, CBS temporarily stopped production and ordered all teams and staff back to the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic out of caution, though stated that the virus had not been contracted by anyone on the show. At the time, three episodes of the season had been filmed and no new production start date for the series had yet been determined. It has been estimated, by Van Munster, that over 2,000 people worldwide are involved in the production of any one season of the Race.
Tasks are generally selected to represent the local flavor of the country or region they are in. They typically look for activities that are not often considered something a tourist would do but part of the way of life in a country, as this would generally be a new experience for all the racers. Production relies on their own experiences as well to develop tasks; Van Munster noted that a task in season 21 involving synchronized swimming was based on his own struggles as a teenager to learn how to do a similar routine, thus assuring that if he could do it, racers could do it as well.
A Race's route has to be approved by CBS before production can start on their scouting. The specific tasks, clues, and other Race elements like the sequence of non-elimination legs, are all set about a month before filming. The production can allow for some flexibility to minimize the difficulties of production. In the first season, one Pit Stop was located and extended to 72 hours instead of the normal 12 due to a sandstorm. Also in that season, two of the four final teams ended up about 24 hours behind the lead teams due to flight and hours-of-operation limitations, creating a production nightmare. In later seasons, production has improvised extended Pit Stops by a day or so to prevent teams from becoming too spread out. In the tenth season, Phil Keoghan, host of the Races, was detained by officials in Ukraine, where the ninth leg took place, and the local American ambassador, who happened to be a fan of the show, helped to free him. The 33rd season had started filming at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and production was forced to stop the race after 3 legs; after a year of additional planning and rerouting, the remaining legs were filmed but with a course through countries with low COVID-19 rates and using a charter jet for transport between countries to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the cast and crew.
The producers review previous seasons and make changes to new seasons as to keep the show fresh and unexpected; Littman stated that with as many season now filmed of the Race, many racers come to know what to expect and as producers, they need a way to shake things up, as \"whenever you throw a wrench into [the Race], it completely throws them off.\" For example, while teams at Pit Stops during the first several seasons were allowed to mingle, the producers have since purposely kept teams apart during this time, as it serves to both keep teams unaware of the finishing order and the fate of an eliminated team, and prevents alliances from forming to keep the teams competitive. They also looked to change the format of the team structure, but found that their first such experiment with the season 8 \"Family Edition\" was poorly received by American audiences though had a strong reception from overseas broadcasts of that series.
The Amazing Race has been hosted by New Zealander Phil Keoghan since its 2001 debut. Keoghan initiates the start of the race, introduces each new area and describes each task for the viewers, and meets each team at the Pit Stops along with a local greeter informing the teams of their placement or their elimination followed by a short interview, as well as announcing the winners at the finish line. Keoghan was a television host in New Zealand prior to The Amazing Race, and had traveled the world and performed adventurous feats for these shows. His background led him to apply for the hosting duties of Survivor. Though Keoghan was on the shortlist, the producers of Survivor chose Jeff Probst, while Keoghan was found to be a better fit for The Amazing Race. Keoghan's performance as a host has been highlighted by his ability to arch his eyebrows to the arriving teams to increase suspense before revealing their position, and racers and fans of the show often refer to the progressive elimination of teams as \"Philimination\". Keoghan signed an extended contract with CBS to continue hosting The Amazing Race for \"several years\", according to TV Guide, shortly after the conclusion of The Amazing Race 18. The contract will also allow Keoghan to develop ideas into shows for the network. 59ce067264