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Tough As Nails is Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan’s new ‘working class’ CBS competition

The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan will be hosting a new CBS reality competition series that he co-created, and it sounds like a combination between Dirty Jobs and John Cena’s American Grit.

It’s called Tough As Nails, and its contestants “will be tested for their strength, endurance, agility and mental toughness in challenges that take place in the real world.”

CBS says the show “will redefine what it means to be tough, proving that it comes in all shapes and sizes, and will celebrate Americans who roll up their sleeves 24/7 and don’t think twice about working long hard hours and getting their hands dirty, in order to keep their country running.”

There’s no premiere date yet, but CBS has started casting, and the casting site says the show will film in January and February of 2020. Casting is open to U.S. citizens age 21 and older.

It says that the show wants “hard working Americans who are tough from their everyday lives” because it is a competition to “find America’s diamonds in the rough and redefine what it means to be tough, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that being tough comes in all shapes and sizes.” 

In a press release, Phil explained where the idea came from:

“Tough As Nails was inspired by my proud working class family of farmers, goldminers, builders and coalminers. I was lucky enough to spend my school holidays working alongside my grandfather, an A-grade mechanic, World War II aero mechanic, gunsmith and inventor. I’m excited to celebrate the skills of those who sweat on factory floors instead of gym floors, and those who wear work boots instead of workout shoes.”

In a tweet, Phil wrote that it’s “Time to celebrate America’s hard working people who keep this country running.”

Producing are Phil Keoghan and Louise Keoghan, who are married and previously produced the documentaries The Ride and Le Ride, about Phil’s bike rides through the United States and the Tour de France course.

They also previously produced a 2004 Discovery Channel reality series No Opportunity Wasted, which also became a book, on which people were given 72 hours and $3,000 to do something they’d always wanted to do.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.