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CBS reveals the identities of 'The Amazing Race: Family Edition' teams, confirms shorter race cource


By Reality TV World staff, 08/16/2005 

CBS announced today the identities of the ten four-person teams who will compete on its upcoming The Amazing Race: Family Edition series. The Amazing Race: Family Edition will premiere on Tuesday, September 27 at 9PM ET/PT with a special two-hour broadcast.

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Unlike the show's first seven editions, The Amazing Race: Family Edition will feature four-member teams comprised exclusively of related family members -- including young children -- rather than pairs of contestants who have a more general "pre-existing relationship."

While lauded by CBS and The Amazing Race's producers, the initial announcement that the show's eighth edition would be changing its format so drastically was not universally embraced by Race viewers worried that the eighth edition of the suddenly hit reality series would feature a "watered down" competition. Today's CBS announcement appears to at least partially confirm those concerns -- and also reveal that Lynne Spillman, The Amazing Race's longtime casting director, also at least somewhat shared them.

While the network won't confirm previous rumors that The Amazing Race: Family Edition did only visited North and Central American locations, the network did tell USA Today that the teams travelled only about 30,000 miles (about half of the distance typically covered by the show's previous editions) and spent significantly more time visiting American locations. Additionally, the inclusion of children -- some as young as 8 years old -- also resulted in the selection of "historically significant" and "more family-friendly, less-crowded" locations (which would appear to confirm earlier rumors that the race course was a big summer "field trip" and "family vacation" of sorts, with many of the course's locations being historical or educational in nature.)

However the decision to mount an edition featuring four-person family teams did (for reasons unexplained) apparently result in one change that most Race fans are likely to enjoy -- the inclusion of fewer non-elimination episodes.

Like the show's skeptical viewers who endured years waiting for The Amazing Race to become a breakout hit, Spillman also admits to having been worried about the decision to so radically alter what had finally become a hit format. "I was scared," Spillman told USA Today, explaining that she feared the casting so many family members and children would result in some "duds." "But it was so much better than I ever thought. The people we ended up with were pretty adventurous and excited. From the kids' point of view, they were ready for anything."

Naturally, The Amazing Race executive producer Bertram van Munster stands by his original comments and still has nothing but positive things to say about the show's family edition experiment. "Anytime you put a family of four together, you get interesting dynamics. It's a pretty humorous and explosive mix," he told the paper.

van Munster also noted that although they might be less mature, the teams that contain small children (only a few of them do) will also have at least one "major advantage" -- the kid's size. "They can climb through something with more agility, and they're very fast in a crowd," van Munster explained.

In his interview, the producer also assured The Amazing Race viewers that despite their concerns, the decision to include children didn't soften the competition up too much. While many of the teams appeared to get along well and help each other during the competition's first few legs, van Munster says that the teams were also simultaneously trying to "finesse" ways into misleading each other. Later, the competition reportedly turned more openly bitter, with teams eventually labelling "certain rivals as enemies."

While CBS' announcement also confirms that, as Reality TV World had reported at the time, The Amazing Race: Family Edition begins in New York City (specifically under the Brooklyn Bridge), it doesn't confirm any of the other locations that the show reportedly visited, nor the competition's rumored Niagara Falls finish line.

Instead, while offering no specifics, van Munster promises "miserable rain," "extreme dry heat," and the continued presence of the recently introduced yield route markers, which he states "will be more effective and more frustrating to people than (they've) ever been" (which, given the concept has largely been a bust so far, might not be saying much.)

The ten family teams competing on The Amazing Race: Family Edition are:

The Godlewski Sisters, a team of four sisters from Des Plaines, Illinois.

Michelle, the oldest sister, is 42 years old. Sharon, age 39, works as an insurance claim consultant. Christine, age 37, is a homemaker and mother of four. Tricia, age 26, is the youngest member of the team. All four sisters live within thirty minutes of each other and have traveled extensively together.


The Weaver Family, a mother and her children from Ormond Beach, Florida.

Linda, age 46, is an elementary school teacher and mother of three who lost her husband and children's father in an accident at Daytona International Speedway nearly two years ago. Rebecca, age 19, is the oldest child. Rachel, age 16, is a junior in high school. Rolly, age 14, says he's running the race for his father.


The Gaghan Family, a family of four from Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Bill, the father, is 40 years old and works in jet engine sales. Tammy, the mother, is 42 years old and works as a substitute teacher. Billy, age 12, is entering seventh grade. Carissa, age 9, is entering fourth grade.


The Black Family, a family of four from Woodbridge, Virginia.

Reggie, the father, is a 42-year-old high school teacher. Kim, the mother, is a 40-year-old fifth grade teacher. Kenneth, age 11, is entering sixth grade. At only 8 years old, Austin, the younger son, is the youngest contestant to ever compete in the series.


The Linz Family, a team of siblings from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Tommy, age 19, is a college student attending Miami University of Ohio. Megan, the only woman on the team, is a 21-year-old college student who also attends Miami University of Ohio. Nick, the oldest team member, is a 24-year-old currently working in sales and living Buffalo, New York. Alex, age 22, recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati and works as an emergency room technician.


The Rogers Family, a family of four from Shreveport, Louisiana.

Denny, the father, is a 46-year-old who is in the car business. Renee, the mother, is a 42-year-old boutique shop owner who also works as a beauty pageant trainer. Britney, a former Miss Louisiana, graduated from Louisiana State university and currently works in pharmaceutical sales. Brock, age 19, has graduated from high school and is entering college this fall.


The Schroeder Family, a blended family from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mark, the father, is a 40-year-old architect. Char, the stepmom, is a 39-year-old public relations director. Stassi, a 17-year-old who is entering her senior year of high school, is Mark's daughter from a previous marriage. Hunter, Mark's son from the same previous marriage, is a 15-year-old who is entering ninth grade this fall.


The Bransen Father, a father and his three grown daughters from Park Ridge, Illinois.

Lindsay, the youngest daughter, is a 20-year-old Hope College student who is majoring in social work. Walter, the father, is a 51-year-old chief financial officer who has been married for 31 years. Elizabeth, age 25, recently obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois. Lauren, age 22, recently graduated from Hope College with a degree in communications and business management.


The Aiello Family, a father and his three son-in-laws from Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Tony, the father, is a 57-year-old restaurant consultant and the father of three daughters. Kevin is a 31-year-old father of two who works in public relations and is married to one of Tony's twin daughters. Matt is a 31-year-old corporate project manager who is married to Tony's other twin daughter and also a father of two. David, married to Tony's youngest daughter, is a 26-year-old Rhode Island police officer who spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps.


The Paolo Family, a family of four from Carmel, New York.

Tony, the father, is a 52-year-old Italian immigrant and New York City sanitation worker. DJ, the oldest son, works in title report production. Marion, the mother, is a 52-year-old homemaker who thinks Tony lets his two sons get away with two much. Brian, the couple's other child, is a 16-year-old who is entering his senior year of high school.




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