Phil Keoghan Interview: ‘The Amazing Race’

Season 30 of “The Amazing Race” proved pivotal in more ways than one. Not only was it a milestone number for the 10-time Emmy winner to hit, but Phil Keoghan believes it revitalized the long-running series. “I think there were some doubters about where the show was at a year ago,” the host tells Gold Derby in an exclusive video interview (watch above). “I felt like we needed this jolt of Vitamin B, if you’d like. We needed to do something, we needed to make a little turn just to say to people, ‘Hey, guess what? We haven’t gone away. We can still make a really great show.’”

Billed as the most competitive season yet, Season 30 featured some familiar faces, including 10-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating champ Joey Chestnut and 2016 IndyCar champ Alexander Rossi, and a very controversial “Big Brother” showmance, Cody and Jessica, who won the $1 million in one of the tensest finales ever. There were new twists, the Head-to-Head challenge and the Partner Swap — the former of which will be back next season — suspenseful, unpredictable legs, and a new Wednesdays-at-8 timeslot that contributed to a ratings boost.

Keoghan credits CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl, the network’s longtime head of scheduling who was promoted in May 2017, for sticking with the show — and sticking it in “Survivor”’s usual timeslot when “Survivor” was in between seasons. “I gotta give a shout-out to Kelly Kahl for having the belief in us and for having the belief to give us that timeslot and see what we can do with it,” he says. “New timeslot, a great timeslot, a coveted position on a network primetime schedule lineup, the confidence of the president of the network to give us that shot — and I feel like we delivered. It’s such an amazing, collaborative team who make ‘Amazing Race.’ I think everyone felt like they wanted to step up for 30.”

The renewed success comes after a few years of living dangerously on the bubble. Reduced from two seasons a year to one and becoming a utility player when one of CBS’ new shows failed, “Race,” in the eyes of many, appeared to be on its last legs (no pun intended). And Keoghan says the threat of cancellation was very, very real.

“I think every season you have to fight to have your place,” he says. “CBS is the No. 1 network in the world. They are the best of the best. We’re fighting for our position in the lineup every single season, so yes, very realistic that we could’ve gone by the wayside. I think that’s the way it should be. I think if you’re a great player on an NFL team, just because you made it on the team, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gonna make it on the team the next season because there’s always young people coming up who want to push you out of the way.”

Keoghan is also grateful to the fans and his peers for their continued support of the show. “The fact that we continue to get recognized by our peers and that the show is still relevant in 2018, we’re very thankful for that,” he says. While he has no expectations for “Race” to reclaim the Best Reality-Competition Program Emmy — “’The Voice’ is on a bit of a roll right now” — he does propose a couple of new Emmy categories.

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UPLOADED Jul 12, 2018 2:12 pm