CBS announced today that The Amazing Race: Family Edition, the network's official name for the eighth edition of the travel adventure reality series that will feature four-person teams comprised exclusively of related family members instead of pairs of contestants who have a more general "pre-existing relationship," will premiere with a special two-hour broadcast on Tuesday, September 27 at 9PM ET/PT.

While lauded by CBS and The Amazing Race's producers, the announcement that the show's eighth edition would be changing its format so drastically has not been universally embraced by Race viewers. Many long-time fans of the two-time Emmy-winning reality series consider the decision to "dumb down" the competition and allow children as young as 12 years of age to participate on teams to be a "jumping the shark"-type event worse than The Amazing Race 7's stunt casting of Survivor: All Stars winner Amber Brkich and (now husband) Rob Mariano.

Although one of the current reality television era's oldest shows, the critically-lauded The Amazing Race had been a ratings disappointment during its first four editions, with the series rumored to have only survived cancellation due to its initial Emmy Award win. Although still demoted to summer programming status (the same fate of the prior year's The Amazing Race 4 edition), The Amazing Race finally became a bonfide ratings hit with the broadcast of last summer's The Amazing Race 5 -- a status that Family Edition doubters hope the upcoming eighth edition doesn't jeopardize.

While CBS has yet to release any additional details about the show or its cast, numerous eyewitness sightings of the racing teams were reported both online and in local newspapers during July, fueling rumors that due to the participation of families, The Amazing Race: Family Edition featured a "softened" less-than-global course that saw the teams spend an unusually lengthy period of time travelling within the United States and visit only North and Central American locations.

According to unconfirmed eyewitness reports, The Amazing Race: Family Edition wrapped production this past weekend, with the competition's finish taking place at the Joseph Davis State Park near Niagara Falls. The competition also allegedly visited Niagara Falls State Park's Goat Island prior to finishing, where tourists who were visiting the location's Terrapin Point lookout witnessed the competition's final three teams retrieving one of their last clues.