'The Amazing Race' host Phil Keoghan: I never doubted the cast would come back and we'd resume filming Season 33
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/05/2022
The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan has revealed that he was "never worried" about the show coming back once coronavirus shut down production on Season 33 in 2020.
The Amazing Race executive producers decided to postpone filming Season 33 once COVID-19 began to spread in February 2020, and the show is finally set to premiere -- about two years later -- on Wednesday night at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
"Who knew it was going to take this long to get back?" Phil said. "I certainly can't say that I thought it was going to take this long. I thought maybe three or four months, or maybe six months or something."
Phil acknowledged how the COVID-19 pandemic essentially "turned the whole world upside down."
He also confessed that it had been "difficult" for production to stop filming The Amazing Race several legs in considering the teams had made such sacrifices -- including leaving their families and taking breaks from their jobs -- to race around the world.
"It was easy to make the decision [to postpone taping] only because we sort of had a plan in place earlier... [But] to suddenly say, 'Hey, I'm sorry, all of this is over right now. Go home,' It's not easy," Phil noted.
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And when cameras started rolling again, not all of the teams had found their way back to The Race. In fact, two teams had dropped out and only seven pairs of Racers returned, which was frustrating for everyone involved, Variety late last year reported.
Phil said producers had been hoping they could restart with the same cast and pick up right where they had left off.
"That was our goal, right? Not to clear this slate and start again, but to continue," Phil explained to Us.
"I was just wanting us to get going as soon as possible baring in mind that we had to do it when it was safe."
But for those Racers who did return after the lengthy production shutdown, Phil recalled them being "in high spirits" with "a tremendous amount of anticipation... and comradery."
Phil noted that the cast was both "excited" but also "super emotional."
"What people have been through, it hasn't been easy for people. Everybody has faced hardships, job losses, and [deaths] of people who are close to them," Phil shared.
Once filming resumed, teams reportedly flew in a private chartered plane, ran a limited race route through a handful of Mediterranean countries with "remote areas or small cities" where coronavirus infection rates were low, and were constantly tested for the virus on the road.
The teams also reportedly avoided public transportation and engaged with only vaccinated locals.
Phil said all of the changes, in both teams and format, will be addressed "openly and honestly" with viewers this season, and "right at the start" of the show.