Last year, the seven-year winning streak of “The Amazing Race” at the Emmy Awards was halted when “Top Chef” won Best Reality Competition Series. That this CBS staple lost was a surprise in itself but that it was not beaten by ratings powerhouse “American Idol” came as the real shocker. That hugely popular talent show had never won this award but was thought to have its strongest entry ever with the season finale that included a surprisingly touching tribute to departing judge Simon Cowell.
For its 18th edition which begins Sunday, “The Amazing Race” is bringing back 11 teams that fell short of the finish line. Dubbing the season “Unfinished Business,” executive producer Bertram van Munster explained to Craig Tomashoff of TV Guide, “We’re giving people a second chance. It’s the American way.”
All of the returning teams made costly errors along the route and are looking for redemption. When it came to deciding which of the also-rans to include, producers only went back as far as the 12th installment in 2007 so as not to make it too difficult for viewers to remember them. Five of the teams hail from the 14th cycle including ultra-competitive mother and son Margie and Luke Adams, sisters Jen and LaKisha Hoffman whose bathroom break cost them a place in the final three, and actor/director Mike White and his father Mel.