×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Remote Controlled: ‘Amazing Race’ Bosses on Why ‘Anybody’ Can Win

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with the creators and executive producers of “Amazing Race,” Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri. The Emmy-winning reality series just wrapped its 30th season on CBS, and is well into production on its 31st.

“Season 30, we really hit it out of the ballpark,” says van Munster. “We came up with good concepts, good ideas that worked around the globe.”

The producers say they don’t worry about keeping the format fresh for audiences: “We’re very fortunate that the landscape of the world is so vast that we have many opportunities for places we can go and drop contestants into, that it seems endless the possibilities for every episode and every season,” says Doganieri.

They also credit the timeslot — Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. — so that families could sit down in real time and watch the show. “It was key to the success of the show,” says van Munster. They’re hoping to get that slot again for Season 31.

They’ve also been aggressive about mixing up the format; last season, for example featured head-to-heads for the first time — where the team to lose was eliminated, as well as a partner swap. “It was pretty harsh, but it was a great challenge,” admits Doganieri. That said, the producers admit that fans don’t always love the new twists and turns. “We have to keep it really fresh and unexpected, otherwise you can’t stay on the air for 31 seasons,” says van Munster.

They say they prefer casting contestants who have never been on the show before. “But there is something to be said about bringing celebrities on,” says Doganieri, adding that it’s always a negotiation with CBS.

They wouldn’t confirm who’s been tapped for Season 31, but they acknowledge that they’ve read all the rumors. “It’s going to be a good surprise,” promises van Munster.

Over the course of 30 seasons, they’ve learned what it takes to win the race — and laugh about those contestants who arrive all muscled-up. “You don’t need those muscles,” says van Munster. “You need to be in decent shape, and you need to be logical in what you. This race can be won by anybody.”

He adds, “For me, the show is a success when I don’t know who’s going to win the race,” says van Munster.

So what does it take to win? “People who get along really well but are super-competitive,” says Doganieri. “And they read their clue.”

Adds Doganieri, “You get on plane, you land in Zimbabwe, the playing field gets evened out pretty quickly.”

Would the duo — who are married — ever consider doing the race themselves? “Not together,” says van Munster. Agrees Doganieri, “Yes, but with a different teammate.”

You can listen to this week’s podcast here.

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes here.

More TV

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: Rabbit in the

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of Feb. 11: 'Masked Singer' Easily Tops Competition

    Fox’s “The Masked Singer” was the highest-rated broadcast show of the week in both Live+Same Day and Live+3. For the week of Feb. 11, the unscripted singing competition series went from a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 to a 3.4, a rise of 42%. In total viewers, the show went from 7.8 million viewers to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content