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Tough As Nails is back this summer—with a mystifying schedule

Tough As Nails is back this summer—with a mystifying schedule
Phil Keoghan, host and executive producer of Tough As Nails season 5, which is premiering this summer (Photo by Robin Cymbaly/CBS)

My three must-watch broadcast reality competition shows are all on CBS: Survivor, The Amazing Race, and most recently Phil Keoghan’s Tough As Nails.

While the show filmed its fifth season in Canada last summer, there was no sense of when it would actually premiere.

I suspected CBS might hold it until this fall, if not later; the gap between filming and airing of season four was more than one year.

Today, CBS finally revealed when Tough As Nails 5 will be on TV: this summer, starting in early July.

And the show is also getting an abbreviated schedule that will burn through the entire season in just one month.

Phil Keoghan stands next to a large work whistle on a dock with the ocean behind him
Phil Keoghan and his work whistle during the premiere of Tough As Nails season 4 (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS)

CBS’s press release today said “CBS adds Tough As Nails to its summer reality schedule.”

That’s already an auspicious start: Why wasn’t it already on the summer schedule they announced in May?

Then comes the really strange/shocking/sad part: “with airings twice a week.”

Is this CBS burning off a show they’re done with? Or is it CBS giving a show they love something closer to a binge-watch release so fans can watch the whole season faster?

I’m old-fashioned and appreciate a once-a-week watch. That’s especially true for a show like Tough As Nails, which keeps its full cast for the entire season, even though someone is eliminated from the individual competition each episode.

When Tough As Nails season 5 will premiere

Two groups of people, one wearing black and one wearing orange, stand beneath banners saying "Southwest Carpentry," "Savage Crew," and "It's my 714"
Tough As Nails 4 teams at the start of episode 7: Ellery Liburd, Beth Salva-Clifford, Sergio Robles, Aly Bala, Jorge Zavala, Synethia Bland, Phil Keoghan, Lamar Hanger, Jake Cope, Mister Frost, Ilima Shim, Larron Ables, Laura Bernotas, and Renèe Kolar. (Image via CBS)

Tough As Nails 5 will premiere on July 2, over the long holiday weekend in the U.S, and will have its usual two-hour premiere.

After that, it will move to its regular schedule: Sundays at 8 and Fridays at 8.

With just 10 episodes per season—four of which are typically paired together, two for the premiere and two for the finale—that means Tough As Nails season five will air over just one month.

On Aug. 4, Secret Celebrity Renovation will take over the Friday at 8 timeslot, and Aug. 6, Big Brother 25 will take over the Sunday at 8 timeslot.

What that does, though, is clear Tough As Nails out of the way for Big Brother, which will premiere in early August, a later start than usual.

In a video about the scheduling announcement, host and co-creator Phil Keoghan says he’s “super-excited, because for the first time, we’ve left Los Angeles, we’re going to Canada—and we let Canadians compete.”

I am excited about that, and not that CBS

I’m somewhat baffled by this choice, if only because the ongoing WGA strike and possible SAG-AFTRA strike is already affecting productions, and there’s unlikely to be a lot of new scripted content this fall.

CBS has already extended The Amazing Race and Survivor episodes to 90 minutes each, so just those two shows will fill its three-hour prime-time block every Wednesday. Why not save Tough As Nails for a likely vacancy?

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Alan D. Hickenbottom

Tuesday 4th of July 2023

We like to watch Tough as Nails, but find that the background music is much too LOUD! The music actually obscures much of the dialog that is the heart of the show. Please tell who ever controls the volume of the background music to make it BACKGROUND music!

This same comment is also true for other shows such as Survivor. Don't those producing the shows realize that overly LOUD music severely detracts from the show's desirability?

Let's hear what they SAY and NOT the music!!



Sunday 25th of June 2023

What happened to Holey Moley?


Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Yes, I'm looking forward to it too. Thanks for the update. I'll be on a train on July 2nd but will hopefully watch it on the 4th of July when I reach my destination.


Tuesday 13th of June 2023

Yay! I agree the scheduling is very weird, but I'm excited to have Tough As Nails back.