The Amazing Race 17 debuts in less than two weeks, and based upon an awesome clip from the show, it has potential. Alas, the show will once again not be filmed in high definition, even though its host–like most viewers–thinks it should be.
“I would love to see the show in HD. I’ve been working with HD personally for six years,” Phil Keoghan told me, saying that his upcoming yacht race series and other projects he’s working on are all filmed in HD (“Oh god, yeah,” he said when I asked.)
“I think it makes sense for the show to be in HD. I don’t really know all the reasons why it isn’t–I don’t even want to get to it, I don’t know. But I would love to see the show in HD, and I do hear it a lot from fans. And I do think it is something that needs to come to the show. I think wide format, 16:9, and the HD is imperative.”
Among the reasons why we’ve heard that the show is not in HD include that the cameras were too fragile, it was difficult to repair them on location, and it wasn’t a priority for the show. Those excuses, though, don’t hold up now, since Survivor made the switch to HD, never mind the fact that Discovery’s Life, Deadliest Catch, and Whale Wars are all filmed in HD. They might not travel as much, but I think the conditions they film in are far more brutal.
Ultimately, I think it just comes down to cost. More than two years ago, Amazing Race executive producer Jonathan Littman told USA TODAY that upgrading would be “a pretty high escalation in our budget. It’s not double at the moment, but it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars for the total run.” It’s probably less now, but still, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars that CBS just needs to spend.