Ten Years and The Amazing Race is Still… Amazing
September 5, 2001. Two similar and equally exciting new series premiered and helped Americans live vicariously through these lucky game show contestants who get to travel the world in the hopes of winning a million dollars.
And considering the global adventure, the million bucks almost seems like an afterthought. Almost, of course.
But almost a week later, the world changed forever. September 11 changed everyone’s lives. The world became even bigger. And both CBS’ The Amazing Race and NBC’s Lost, shows that involved air travel and globetrotting just weren’t the kinds of shows most people were rushing to watch at the time.
But at the same time, for the small audiences that did manage to discover the new shows, they, especially The Amazing Race helped make the world that much smaller and closer to home. The world that seemed scary and unknown just a week or month ago was actually still beautiful and inspiring.
For The Amazing Race, 22 everyday Americans seeing and exploring the world. Phil Keoghan, a New Zealand-born TV personality, our guide. The viewers living vicariously through them all while enjoying the thrill and excitement of competition.
The Amazing Race was critically acclaimed. And its audience was loyal. Fans of the show loved getting to see the world even if it was just an hour every week from the couch.
But the rest of America didn’t exactly feel the same way. Ratings for the first three seasons of The Amazing Race were decent, but not great. Especially in comparison to CBS’ megahit Survivor.
After season 3 ended in December 2002, CBS decided to hold season 4 for Summer. TAR seemed to be on its last legs. Could or even should CBS continue footing the bill for such an expensive series when the size of the audience might not exactly justify it?
TAR4 premiered in May 2003. All indications were this would be the last TAR ever. But 2003 was also the year the Emmys introduced a brand new category for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. With the influx of reality shows and talent competitions, the Emmys decided to include this booming genre at the kudoscast.
The Amazing Race was, not surprisingly, one of the…
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