15 Things You Didn’t Know about The Amazing Race

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Last Sunday, The Amazing Race was once again named the Most Outstanding Reality Program at the Emmy Awards. The competition show will return for a 25th season on CBS in a new time slot Fridays at 8 PM beginning September 26th. Host Phil Keoghan said in a recent interview with EnStars, the reason the show has been able to remain fresh and exciting to viewers is the huge amount of diversity including race, gender, religious views that are depicted in every single episode. Here are fifteen interesting facts about the reality show program.

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1. The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan must travel to every pit stop like the teams so he can greet them at the end of the leg. Sometimes he is not always the first person to arrive to the location. In an interview Koeghan admitted, “Every time we get on a plane it’s like rolling the dice. We’ve been sitting on planes with the weather closing in and a team might be on another plane that got out before the weather closed in. We’re sitting on the ground and teams are racing ahead of us. One time I was literally running up to the mat while they were running from the other direction.”

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2. The Amazing Race production team has a pretty good idea where all the pit stops and legs of the race will be before each season begins. However, that does not mean that locations have not had to be changed during the course of filming. During filming of the fifth cycle of the reality show, the banking system in Argentina collapsed. The show was unable to wire money to the country to cover production costs and changed the pit stop location to London. Also, one season the show went to Rio. The paparazzi found out where they were going to be filming and locations were changed to accommodate.

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3. Since The Amazing Race has become so popular, the production team must have security to protect the contestants and the staff. Fake cover stories are even leaked to the press in order to throw off fans. Sometimes the show will be called a different name so people assume they are filming a commercial instead of the reality show. When the crew is asked if they are filming The Amazing Race, they will respond that they are shooting a documentary. This is especially true in locations where Americans will go on vacation because they tend to ask questions about it.

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4. The Amazing Race recently took home the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition Program. The series has also won in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Host Phil Koegen has been nominated several times in the category of Outstanding Host for a Reality Program but has never taken home the prize. The reality show has also won at the BMI Film and TV Awards in 2005 and 2008-2013. In 2008, the show received a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directoral Achievement in Reality Programs.

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"The Amazing Race 14" Season Finale

5. During season seven of The Amazing Race, Meredith broke three bones in his foot during the eighth leg of the race. Meredith and his wife Gretchen had to transport an elephant. He injured the foot when it was ran over by a tuk-tuk, which is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle that is used as a taxi in countries like Thailand. This injury was not revealed to the production team. Meredith feared that the show would force him to leave the race. The couple ended up in fourth place and are the oldest couple to make it that far in the game.

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6. The eighth season of The Amazing Race, which was the family edition, saw some technical errors that caused teams to wind up in last place. During the ninth leg of the race a camera malfunction caused the battery of the car the Godlewski family was driving to die. The Godlewski’s were eliminated in leg ten.  The exact same malfunction occurred in leg ten but this time to the Linz family causing them to be in last place. Despite the mishap, the team of siblings won that edition of The Amazing Race. These malfunctions were not shown on television.

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7. During the eleventh leg of the fourth season of The Amazing Race, professional clowns and best friends Jon and Al encountered a problem with their credit card at the airport. The card, that was provided by the show, was not accepted by the airline. As a result, the duo was unable to make their flight. Production was halted for the three teams who did make the flight to Australia so Jon and Al could catch up as it was not their fault the card was declined.  In the end, Jon and Al would still be eliminated during this leg of the race since they were the last team to arrive to the pit stop.

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8. Alison Irwin was a contestant on the popular reality show Big Brother before making her appearance on The Amazing Race. Irwin placed 2nd on the Big Brother season that involved ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends entering the house as well. Irwin was dating Race teammate Donny Patrick at the time. Patrick and Irwin were eliminated during the second leg of The Amazing Race. The couple split up before the final episode was shot and Irwin refused to appear. Old footage was spliced into the episode to make it look like she was present.

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"A Night With The Amazing Race"

9. The fifteenth season of The Amazing Race marked the first time that a team was eliminated at the starting line. The team was Eric and Lisa, who were married yoga instructors from California. The task at the start of the season involved finding the correct Japanese license plate. Eric and Lisa were not able to retrieve the correct one in time and were sent packing. Each team that is eliminated is able to go on a sequestered vacation until the final episode is filmed and the teams greet the winner. Eric and Lisa did not attended the getaway and were not featured on the last episode.

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"A Night With The Amazing Race"

10. Generally the route markers on The Amazing Race are red and yellow in color. In earlier seasons, the markers were white and yellow. The color was changed to red to make it easier for contestants to spot them during the race. During season ten, the teams traveled to Vietnam during the third and fourth legs. The markers returned to the original white and yellow as the vanquished South Vietnam flag was red and yellow. During season three, the markers were changed to just yellow during the eleventh leg when the teams traveled through Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

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"A Night With The Amazing Race"

11. During the ninth season of The Amazing Race, best friends and former college athletes Eric and Jeremy were almost penalized during a leg of the race when Eric called to cancel the taxis that contestants BJ and Tyler and Ray and Yolanda has reserved. It also appeared that Joseph and Monica were involved in the incident because Joseph was next to the guys when they were making the phone calls. No teams received a penalty because all teams were able to acquire a taxi when they arrived at the airport. Viewers believed they still should have received one.

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The Amazing Race presenter Phil Keoghan with his n

12. On The Amazing Race, there is a either 12 or 36-hour rest in between legs of the race. This is to give the contestants a chance to eat, shower, and rest. Sometimes the pit stop will last longer. The seventh leg of season nine  lasted for 24 hours. This was due to the fact that their was only one flight to the next destination. The racers were in Dubai and on their way to Perth. The teams would have had to all sit in the airport for twelve hours so production prolonged the pit stop rest. Times are also altered for safety factors like driving at night.

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13. Phone bills during production for The Amazing Race are extremely high. Satellite cell phones are purchased and given to each team’s crew members that will film them during the entire season. Host Phil Keoghan also has a phone. This way, crews can stay in contact with production in case of injury and to notify staff if a team is falling drastically behind and will not be able to complete a task. Series creator Bertram van Munster admitted about the high costs to have some many cell phones in use, “One country alone was $25,000.”

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14. The challenges on The Amazing Race are tested multiple times before the contestants complete them. Series creator Elise Doganieri is one of the people that gets to test out some of the challenges. One of her tests was a 134 meter bungee jump. She remembers, “I’d never done that before and I took about four minutes before I stepped off. I knew if I was that scared we had to do it for the show. The goal of the show is to not put people in harm’s way, but to push them outside of their comfort zone. Contingency plans are in place in case of emergency.

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15. The most popular season of The Amazing Race was season 17, which aired from September 2010 – December 2010. This was the season that Anesthesiologists Nat and Kat took home the $1 million prize. The show averaged 11.93 million viewers and was ranked as the 22nd most watched show of the 2010-2011 season. The least watched season was the fourth, which was watched by an average of 8.32 million people and aired May 2003 – August 2003. The ninth season switched time slots three times in four months and still averaged 9.1 million viewers.

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