Amazing Race 15 will eliminate one team at the start, introduces Switchback twist

CBS revealed the cast of The Amazing Race 15 today, and also several twists, including one that will leave one of the 12 teams behind at the start line–something predicted by people who photographed the race’s start in the Los Angeles River.

In a first for the series, one team will go “home before they leave the starting line,” according to CBS’ announcement. Also new: the Switchback task, “which sends Teams back to the site of one of the series’ most infamous Roadblock.” In other words, the show is bringing back past challenges.

Eight of the 12 new teams consist of people in their 20s with a few in their early 30s, and include the three quasi-celebrity teams who were identified in July, including two Harlem Globetrotters, two pro poker players, and a former Miss America.

Among the other teams are a pair of best friends, one of whom as Asperger’s syndrome; two gay brothers; and Mika Combs, a singer who was on Fox’s cancelled docusoap Nashville.

Meet the teams on new season of ‘The Amazing Race’ [AP]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.