The Amazing Race returns for its 32nd season on Wednesday, October 14th at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. The latest chapter of the international competition will mark over 1,000,000 miles traveled on the show as well as its 20 year anniversary. Through every mile, as locations and teams have changed there has always been one constant; Phil Keoghan.
CBS’ Matt Weiss caught up with Keoghan to discuss this landmark season and to reflect on all the twists and turns it took to get here.
MW: Hey there Phil, nice to speak with you again! We have a big milestone coming up so this season on The Amazing Race as you’re celebrating 1 million miles traveled on the show. What does that mean to you to be able to have that kind of achievement for a show that you created?
PK: Well it does mean a few frequent flyer miles [laughs] But no, it’s a big achievement. There’s a few of us who have been involved in The Amazing Race since season one. Just to put that distance in perspective, going to the moon is just under a quarter of a million miles. We’ve really gone to the moon and back twice in The Amazing Race in the last 32 seasons.
We’re definitely very, very proud of that. I travel about 250,000 miles a year on average, I have clocked up a few million miles in my lifetime, but I’m trying to think of a show that has actually traveled as much as The Amazing Race. We’ve got some miles on us and hopefully we can continue doing it for a long time to come.
MW: Coming into this new season for anyone who doesn’t know at home, were there any challenges with the pandemic?
PK: Season 32 was filmed before the outbreak of coronavirus so it was a different world. The show was going to be on early on before the outbreak of coronavirus and then it got held. It didn’t necessarily feel appropriate early on when we were focused on other things.
Now the timing of the show coming back feels right. It feels like this is the time when we all really do want to vicariously escape, see the world the way it was before coronavirus; the world that we all hope will get back to after we get past it. I’m excited that fans will be able to escape vicariously and see a world that we remember and a world that we want to get back to.
The fans have waited for so long and have been itching to get this season out. Also, the contestants have had to wait and keep all of that a secret from their families, from their friends and now they can finally say, OK we’re going to be on and now you can see us. They get to show the world what they did.
MW: Speaking of those contestants, a diverse group as always. Who are some of the teams that you’re really looking out for this season?
PK: Well, I’ve got my eye on all of them because the spots are few and far between. We have 11 teams of two every season. It’s a little bit like having a successful sports team. Every single spot has to be very well contested. You want the best of the best on the show. I’m looking forward to all of them. I want to see them all perform. I want to see all of them bring their “A Game” and not waste this opportunity to show the world what they’ve got. The Amazing Race is on not only in America, it’s on around the world. We have international fans and the expectations for the contestants that we have is very high. We have a group of very competitive people.
We’ve never had so many ex–pro athletes or pro athletes on the show before. We have some ex-NFL players, we’ve got a father son dynamic with Jerry who used to play in the NBA. We have Lavon and Kelly who are Olympian hurdlers on the US track team and professional beach volleyball players. These are all great competitors but then you can’t rule out people from other walks of life who are not necessarily athletes. The other folks have to actually compete in their everyday lives, like a real estate agent, that’s a very competitive business.
That’s part of why the race really works is just because you’re a professional athlete doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to do better than a real estate agent, or than a computer programmer. It’s a balance of so many different things and probably the biggest factor in all of it is luck. What plane, what taxi, did you choose the right pathway to get to a particular place. There’s so much luck at play on race and to me that’s a big part of why it works. There’s a lot of randomness, it‘s almost impossible to pick a winner every season.
MW: We touched on it a little bit earlier but what can people look forward to with the show now that they can finally see people traveling like a lot of us want to be?
PK: I just want people to get back to watching the race, they have been denied traveling with us for too long. I want people to look forward to escaping every week with the show, to sit down in a nice comfortable chair and see the world that was and see the world that we will get back to.
Enjoy being in the company of some really captivating characters that we spend a lot of time casting. We can take a lot of time to cast the right people on the show. That’s what I want for people, to enjoy it.
MW: I know you’ve been grounded for probably way too long yourself. I know you’re itching to get back up.
PK: Yeah. I want to travel when it’s safe like everybody else. We’ll get by, we’ll get past all of this. Thankfully we have the race to share with people.
MW: Absolutely. Thank you so much Phil, pleasure talking to you as always and all the best, stay safe!
PK: Thanks Matt, same to you.
Tune in for The Amazing Race Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Check your local listings for more information.