With production having been halted due to corσnavᎥrus concerns, will CBS simply cancel The Amazing Race? It appears to have lost interest in it anyway. I would like to see it have an All-Winners season before it did end up getting cancelled. —Doug
CBS’s treatment of The Amazing Race has been disappointing, but don’t give up hope yet!
While Survivor films and airs two seasons like clockwork every year—or at least, it did before this year—TAR has had a much more erratic schedule. Amazing Race 32 filmed in 2018 and just got scheduled for a May 2020 premiere.
Five years ago, when TAR 30 was in limbo, I wrote about why Amazing Race’s future looked bleak. But then season 30 did well in the ratings, and two years later, host Phil Keoghan told me he was hopeful for a return to normalcy of two seasons a year.
That didn’t quite happen, but the new normal seems to be one season airing every year. For sure, that’s nothing like the early days (one season ended and two full seasons aired in 2005!), but it’s also respectable for a 19-year-old series.
More importantly, CBS hasn’t given up. Besides ordering TAR 33, it was cast with a Love Island couple among its teams, and I think that demonstrates that CBS finds value in TAR as part of its reality TV ecosystem. Of course, that show is currently in limbo, but that has nothing to do with CBS’s support of it.
I agree with you, Doug, that an all-winners season of TAR would be terrific—and since it only has 11 or 12 teams, and has filmed 32 seasons, it may be easier to cast than Survivor’s all-winner season, which used more than half of its 38 winners. Then again, TAR also has pairs that have to be cast together, which could complicate casting if one person on a team cannot or will not return.
So, what will happen now? TAR 32 is in such a weird space that I’m not sure anyone knows right now. The entire route and production was planned, of course, so I could see it resuming—but that ultimately depends upon what our world’s new normal, especially in terms of international travel, is like. This show is just not produceable right now, but I am hopeful that one day—hopefully sooner than later!—it will be.
As to the show itself, minus our current global situation, like everything in Hollywood, it comes down to costs: Can the show justify its production costs with its ratings? Budgets have tightened especially as the television landscape has changed, and ratings for all shows on broadcast TV have dropped.
Clearly, the race has faced budget cuts. Teams no longer buy as many full-price airline tickets as they want; they’re scheduled onto flights, and the legs are much shorter and more controlled. That’s made the show less interesting for me; an equalizer in the first episode of TAR 31 made everything we saw pointless in terms of the race, and I gave up on the season.
Also, CBS’s parent company, ViacomCBS, is not doing well.
Once the dust clears, hopefully the race can find its way to a new normal. After all, this is a reality competition that premiered six days before Sept. 11. At the time, I remember people saying that they couldn’t imagine ever wanting to watch a reality show with people on airplanes, racing around to to different countries.
I just hope that new normal is not racing families around the United States.
By the way, one TAR-adjacent thing to look forward to is Amazing Race producer/creators Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri’s new NatGeo show Race to the Center of the Earth, which has completed filming, though it does not have a debut date yet.
There’s more racing around the world to look forward to, even if the world isn’t yet ready for a game based on international travel. Speaking of…
Will The Amazing Race Canada season 8 film this season?
Do you think Amazing Race Canada will film this season? —Evan
The Amazing Race Canada season eight was announced last fall, during the season-seven finale.
It has filmed all seven of its previous seasons in April and May, typically starting in late April and finishing with a week or so left in May. (Two seasons have filmed entirely in May: season one and three.)
That means it should be in production right now. It does not appear to be. Let’s back up.
Casting began in October, and on January 8, CTV announced that the first stages of casting were completed: “Teams moving on to the next stage of casting have been contacted.”
Weeks after that, at the end of February, CBS stopped production on its Amazing Race.
In mid-March, Bell Media executive Mike Cosentino told the Toronto Sun, “Although we’re still a few months away from filming The Amazing Race Canada, we are monitoring the situation very closely. Any decisions around the upcoming eighth season will be made with the health and safety of the Racers and the crew as the top priority.”
Of course, that was early, back when we all thought and/or hoped that the break in normalcy would be temporary: two weeks, maybe a month.
The production company, Insight Productions, produces Big Brother Canada, which finally pulled the plug March 24, after several crew members quit over the show’s continuation.
The casting site for The Amazing Race Canada currently says “See you on the starting line Summer 2020!” So it seems like they’re hoping to film this summer.
I’m sure it will film eventually. But as with everything else, it’s too soon to know for sure when that will be.
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