‘The Amazing Race’: How the Show Addressed the Global Shutdown

by Leanne Stahulak

“The Amazing Race” returned for its 33rd season last night, but next week’s episode promises to look vastly different.

The premiere episode that aired last night was filmed in February 2020. We all know what came shortly after that period: A global shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, how did “The Amazing Race” manage to wrap up the season?

According to TV bloggers Matt & Jess Carter, the two-hour premiere showed the 11 teams racing around London, England. And the preview for Episode 3 next week revealed that the remaining 10 teams would travel to Scotland next. But at the end of the preview, host Phil Keoghan revealed to the teams that the COVID-19 virus had worsened and caused the world to shut down. Therefore, “The Amazing Race” would have to be suspended as well.

Fast forward to fall 2021. A year and a half after suspending the race, the competitors finally returned to complete the next leg. Per the Carters, we should see that change emphasized between Episodes 3 and 4. Episode 3 will likely be the last episode filmed in pre-COVID times, while Episode 4 should showcase the race as it was filmed a few months ago.

So, we know that Keoghan will prep teams for the bad news next week. Now, it’ll be interesting to see how COVID safety protocols impact “The Amazing Race” competitors from there on out. One big change that we know about so far is that the show chartered its own plane for contestants to travel on.

This greatly mitigates the exposure that contestants have to people in busy airports. So, we won’t get any chaotic airport running scenes this season. But Keoghan did say that the contestants don’t know what their next destination will be. So there is an air of mystery to it.

‘The Amazing Race’ Host Phil Keoghan Speaks on 20 Years of the Show

Earlier this week, “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan spoke with TV Insider about the show’s 20th year on the air. After two decades of hosting, Keoghan knows better than anyone what makes the show so great.

“I think more than ever, ‘The Amazing Race’ is an important show to be on the air. Because we need to start celebrating some of the better things in the world,” Keoghan told the outlet.

In what’s been one of the craziest moments of our lives, Keoghan sees the show as an opportunity to reflect on the bright side.

“We’ve been getting stuck and weighted down with what’s wrong. And ‘The Amazing Race’ is a lot about what’s right and opening people’s eyes up to some of the more positive things that we should be celebrating. Including the human spirit,” Keoghan said.

Make sure you catch the new episode next Wednesday on CBS.