Amazing Race 19
The youngest person to sail around the world will now race around the world.
Zac Sunderland, who was 17 when he set sail alone in 2009, and his father, Laurence, are among the globe-trotting teams on The Amazing Race 19. But Sunderland is not the only established name in the cast.
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Former Survivor winners ...
Question: I've been a fan of The Amazing Race from the beginning and have watched through its hits and misfires. I wonder, though, if the producers have thought of shaking up the series by having the same number of contestants but randomly (or purposefully) assigning the people into teams, either before the series debut or in the very first episode. Do you think having strangers forced to deal with such uncertainty would work, or would this extra layer of tension simply be too confusing?
Answer: I don't know if they've ever considered this, but I'll tell you why I hope it never happens. First, why tinker with something that isn't broken? Every time The Amazing Race tries to "improve" the show (family edition, all-star version), it only makes it worse. Second, part of the allure of the show is watching teams with preexisting relationships either grow or self-destruct under the pressure of the race. Forcing complete strangers upon each other might add a new layer of tension, but it woul ...
Question: I'm kind of glad to hear that The Amazing Race won't be back until mid-season, as much as I love it. I hope that means they can spend more time casting quality, dynamic, interesting teams. My thought, however, is that they should do the same with Survivor, which is getting stale in its old age. (I have my own ideas on how to spice up the show, but that's not for this column.) What's keeping CBS from rotating the two on Thursday nights — Race's smaller audience?
Answer: You answered your own question. While Survivor isn't quite the powerhouse it used to be, with its novelty fading by the cycle, it is still a big audience draw, bigger than Race for sure. And the stakes are so high on Thursdays (witness CBS returning Without a Trace to finish out the night) that CBS isn't going to mess with the current formula until it is forced to. For now, Survivor is still giving CBS a powerful start to Thursdays. When something comes along to upstage it, CBS will have to start scrambling ...
It seems smart to put The Amazing Race on the back burner for mid-season. With the gimmicky Family and All-Stars cycles, this most-honored of all reality-competition shows was beginning to look a bit played out. Less is more. CBS should make this show feel like an event, and the best way to do that is not to schedule it season-round. Leave us wanting more, and maybe more will come.Moving Without a Trace back to its old Thursday slot: Good idea. This season, it helped establish CBS' new Sunday strategy of a crime block to counter ABC's popular soaps. Now it can go back where it truly belongs, restoring some luster and stability to the toughest, most competitive night of the week. (And selfishly, I've had nothing to enjoy watching Thursdays at 10 pm since ABC yanked Men in Trees from its lineup. It'll be good to have Trace once again behind CSI.)And a big whew for CBS' mid-season renewal of The New Adventures of Old Christine. I love that show, and was worried that the mystifying succ...
Oprah Winfrey's production company has enlisted the four-time Emmy-winning Amazing Race's creators, Bert Van Munster (no relation to Herman) and Elise Doganieri, to serve as show-runners for Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give. Ope's first reality-TV venture hands 10 people riches and resources and then they're charged with helping others. The best philanthropist has his or her wildest wish granted unless of course the wish is for me to cease reporting on Britney Spears.
Question: Why do you keep picking on all-star seasons of reality shows? Yes, Survivor wasn't great, but Big Brother was a different story. I thought it offered a lot of great comedy with a semi-terrific ending. However, I think Amazing Race is different, because it's a race, and not a claustrophobic living space or a secluded island. Amazing Race All-Stars is delivering the kind of great stories that previous Races have had in the past. I love the fact that Charla and Mirna are proving to be great bumbling villains, that Dustin and Kandice are allowed to get along with the other teams and that Romber got their asses kicked. The Amazing Race is not like other reality shows where scheming and plotting get you far. It's all about travel, adventure and determination. So don't go harping on this season just because it's all-stars. Take the time to revel and enjoy the scenery, the competition and the great personal stories of the contestants, because that's what makes this show great.
Topic One: Dancing with the Stars. One long grin, that show is. Id forgotten what a fun lark it can be, after the last few months of watching American Idol take itself way too seriously. Nothings really at stake on the Dancing show, except minor issues like dignity and rescuing B-list reputations from the celebrity coal bin. Early front-runners: Joey Fatone (especially if he keeps shedding the pounds as he dances) and Apolo Anton Ohno, the closest thing the show has to a hottie. (Possible miscalculation of keeping up his skating schedule when he should be perfecting his dance moves. He wasnt nearly as electrifying as he needs to be.) And because a female is overdue a win on this show, lets not count out Laila Ali, an interesting mix of athleticism, aggression and (when it matters) unexpected grace and charm.Charm really is the selling point of this ABC phenom. Even a klutz like Billy Ray Cyrus probably earned a few pity points for being a good sport. And I...
David and Mary by Robert Voets/CBS
I love David and Mary from The Amazing Race. They just seem like genuinely good people — generous, curious, caring and all that. I like to think that if we ran into each other on the street, we could be friends. Theoretically. I know that in reality Id swear too much for them or theyd discover that Im just too shallow or jaded for their kindhearted goodness. Plus their kids might get on my nerves. See, there I go with the shallow already. But, wait, let me explain. I like kids. But, honestly, half the time I think OPKs — other peoples kids — are only fun when theyre doing the cute things I expect them to do and not when theyre being the independent little sentient creatures they actually are. But anyway, long story short: I talked to Mary and David again after they were eliminated from TAR: All-Stars. The truth they spoke about Charla and Mirna made me love them even more. (Really, what's with Team Li'l Bit?!) Here are some highl...
Rob and Amber Mariano, The Amazing Race: All-Stars
The southernmost tip of Argentina — aka the end of the world — marked the end of the road for professional reality stars Rob and Amber Mariano. The couple — who met on Survivor: All-Stars, were engaged on the Amazing Race 7 and married on yet another reality show — seemed to be the team to beat on CBS' The Amazing Race: All-Stars, winning each of the first three legs. But following a fluke series of unfortunate events (one of which involved the spelling of "Philippines"), they lost their lead and came in last. TV Guide spoke to the pair the day after their eliminat
Question: Last Sunday's Amazing Race was the biggest farce I have ever seen! I will never believe that Rob and Amber would come in last for any reason other than something beyond their control. It was amazingly clear to me when they spelled Philippines incorrectly (as I might have) that they were just making obviously ridiculous mistakes. The whole thing was ridiculous! My intelligence was insulted. Do you think that they bring certain people back for ratings, knowing that they will not let them win?
Answer: Let them win? What show are you watching? There's no question Rob and Amber were brought back for ratings (not that this all-star edition is going exactly gangbusters), which is why I was actually more amazed that when Rob and Amber stepped last on the mat, we didn't magically learn that this was somehow an earlier-than-usual nonelimination round. I'd bet the show's producers regret losing this team so early, though as I noted in my Dispatch earlier this week, and I'm sure to fe ...