|The Amazing Race|
|Created by||Elise Doganieri|
Bertram van Munster
|Original work||The Amazing Race (United States)|
|Films and television|
|Television series||The Amazing Race (see international versions)|
|First aired||September 5, 2001|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (U.S.)|
Disney Media Distribution (International)
The Amazing Race is a reality television game show in which teams of two people race around the world in competition with other teams. Contestants strive to arrive first at "Pit Stops" at the end of each leg of the race to win prizes and to avoid coming in last, which carries the possibility of elimination or a significant disadvantage in the following leg. Contestants travel to and within multiple countries in a variety of transportation modes, including airplanes, hot air balloons, helicopters, trucks, bicycles, taxicabs, cars, trains, buses, boats and by foot. Clues provided in each leg lead the teams to the next destination or direct them to perform a task, either together or by a single member. These challenges are related in some manner to the country wherein they are located or its culture. Teams are progressively eliminated until three are left; at that point, the team that arrives first in the final leg is awarded the grand prize.
Created by Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster, the original series has aired in the United States since 2001 and has earned thirteen Primetime Emmy Awards, ten of which being for the award for "Outstanding Reality-Competition Program". Emmy-award-winning New Zealand television personality Phil Keoghan has been the host of the U.S. version of the show since its inception. The show has branched out to include a number of international versions following a similar format.
Typically, each cycle of the Race features eleven teams. Each team is composed of two people with a pre-existing relationship, such as dating, married, and divorced couples; siblings; parent and child; lifelong friends; sports team colleagues; and co-workers. However, some seasons have introduced twists on this concept: the second All-Stars season featured a team made by the production due to illness befalling an original competitor while season 26, which has a theme of only people who are dating each other competing, featured five of the teams participating in a "blind date". A similar twist was used on season 29, with a cast of individuals participating in a draft before setting off on the Race. Dynamics of the relationship under the stress of competition is a focus of the show, and are often described by the teams during interviews held before, during, and after the teams have raced, and through discussion with the show's host when they arrive at the Pit Stop. The stress of racing with one's partner, staying ahead of the competition, completing the assigned tasks, and dealing with little sleep or luxury combined to create "killer fatigue", a phrase coined by fans of the show. Often a team's inability to cope with the fatigue is what is ultimately responsible for a team's elimination from the Race.
Original Race rules required that teammates have had a pre-existing relationship longer than three years, and no previous acquaintances with other racers during that cycle. However, these requirements have been dropped in some cases; Dustin and Kandice from seasons 10 and 11 knew each other from the beauty pageant circuit, and from seasons 9 and 11, Eric and Danielle met on the Race and had begun dating when asked to be on the All-Star edition. Individual racers must be of a specific nationality and meet specific age requirements; this is necessary to allow teams to obtain the necessary passport documentation to travel across the world without incident.
The team format has varied in some seasons. Four seasons featured 12 teams of two rather than the standard 11, while the "Family Edition" featured ten teams of four players, some of which were young children. Season 29 featured 22 complete strangers who chose their race partners based on first impressions made during a pre-race challenge. Some formats featured as little as eight (as seen in the Chinese celebrity series) or as much as 14 teams divided into two groups of seven teams (fourth and fifth seasons of the Israeli version).
Normally unseen, a two-person audio and video production crew accompanies each team, recording them as they race. Generally, teams may not travel without their production crew. Production crews are switched among teams after each leg to avoid biases from developing.
At the beginning of each leg of the race, each team receives an allowance with their first clue, from which all expenses (food, transportation, lodging, attraction admission, and supplies) must be purchased during the Leg. Selected tasks have also required the teams to use their money to complete the task. However, teams are given a credit card which they must use to purchase airline tickets, and, in the case of the "Family Edition," the purchase of gasoline. While early seasons of the U.S. version of the show allowed for teams to use the credit card to reserve flights outside of an airport or travel agency, recent seasons have prohibited this use.
Allowance money is usually given in the same currency as the show's nation regardless of location; U.S. versions of the Race usually provide racers with U.S. dollars, (although in one exception, teams were given money in the currency of Vietnam at the start of that Leg). The amount of money varies from leg to leg, and has ranged from no dollars to hundreds of dollars. The teams are allowed to keep any unused money for future race legs, barring certain penalties for finishing last.
If team members spend all of their money or have it taken away in a non-elimination leg, they may then attempt to obtain more money in any way that does not violate the local laws; this includes borrowing money from other teams, begging from locals, or selling their possessions. Since season seven, teams have been prevented from begging at United States airports, and teams may not use their personal possessions to barter payment for services.
Teams have reported on the existence of an emergency fund of approximately $200 that is carried by their crew and can only be used in extreme circumstances, but generally not as a means to pay for any activity related to the race. However, the exact amount is not known, nor are the exact circumstances when it can be used known.
Route Markers are uniquely colored flags that mark the places where teams must go. Most Route Markers are attached to the boxes that contain clue envelopes, but some may mark the place where the teams must go in order to complete tasks, or may be used to line a course that the teams must follow.
The original Route Markers used in season one were colored yellow and white. They were changed to yellow and red in The Amazing Race 2, which has remained the standard Route Markers color scheme thereafter. Occasionally, different color schemes are adopted for certain legs, seasons, or versions of the race.[a][b][c][d][e]
When teams start a leg, arrive at Route Markers, or complete certain tasks, they normally receive a letter-sized tear-away envelope that contains their next clue inside a vertical-fold folder. The clues themselves are typically printed on a vertical strip of paper, although additional information is often provided inside the clue folder. After retrieving the clue, teams open the envelope and read aloud the instructions given on the clue sheet and then follow those instructions. Teams are generally required to collect each clue during each leg and keep that information with them until they reach the next Pit Stop, surrendering them once they have checked in. Teams may not take an additional clue from the clue box should they lose their first one, otherwise they are assessed a penalty. Teams are not directly penalized for misplacing their clue but will lose time either searching for it or trying to learn from other teams of where to go next.[f]
At Route Markers, clue envelopes are placed inside a box mounted to the Marker. In early seasons, the box contained exactly the number of clues for teams on that leg, allowing teams to indirectly determine their current placement in the leg by counting envelopes. In more recent seasons, extra envelopes are left in clue boxes to prevent this from occurring.
In some cases, clues - most often of the Route Info type - have been provided by more unorthodox means, such as in an advertisement in a local newspaper or on some item related to the task just performed. A common unorthodox means in the U.S. version is to place the clue at the bottom of the Roaming Gnome, the mascot of Travelocity, the sponsor of the U.S. version.
In the fourth Canadian season, the sponsor of the show's Canadian version, Bank of Montreal, had its employees hand racers a tablet where the clue was prerecorded by each racer's family members versus the traditional method.
Route Information clues instruct the teams where to go next. Such a clue usually provides only the name of the team's next destination; it is up to the teams to figure out how to get there. The destination may be given in a cryptic manner, such as a flag representing the country whose capital they are to fly to, or an obfuscation such as the "westernmost point in mainland Europe". In these cases, teams may use any resources, such as the help of locals or borrowing an Internet-connected device, to learn of the required destination.
Route Info clues will sometimes specify one or more modes of transportation that teams must take. This may include pre-arranged travel, typically done for the first leg of most seasons, or for charter flights, buses, or boats for more remote locations. Teams may also be provided with a rented vehicle which they need to navigate themselves to the next Route Marker and often for later tasks on that same leg. Route Info may restrict teams to specific modes of transport, commonly requiring them to walk to their next destination when specified. Failure to follow travel instructions usually result in a penalty at the next Pit Stop, although in some situations teams were instructed to go back to the last location and travel on the specified mode of transport to correct the mistakes. If no mode of transport is specified, teams are free to use any option available excluding private vehicles.
A Detour presents the team with a decision between two tasks, "each with its own pros and cons," as often stated by the host. The two tasks are named, often based on rhymes or puns such as "Plow" / "Fowl" to differentiate between a task involving plowing against a task involving corralling ducks. Teams are given several details about both tasks, but may need to travel a short distance by foot or car to the different task locations. The two tasks generally involve different skills, often pairing physically-demanding or fear-challenging tasks alongside tasks that rely on intelligence or craftsmanship. The decision about which task to attempt lies solely with the team, though due to logistical constraints some Detours may impose additional limits, such as how many teams may attempt one of the tasks at one time, or the hours when a task may be available. A team may choose to switch tasks as many times as they wish with no penalty other than the time lost in attempting the tasks and traveling between task locations. Unless otherwise instructed, teams can work together to finish a Detour option. Once a team has completed one of the tasks, they are given the clue to their next location. If a team was unable to complete either Detour option, they will incur a six-hour penalty (originally 24 hours).
Occasionally there may be a twist to the Detour format. Season 25 introduced a "Blind Detour" where competitors were only given the name of their tasks and the destination in the clue to decide from, rather than a short description of the tasks also provided in the envelope. Season 26 featured a "Roulette Detour", where the Detour choice was determined by a spin of a roulette wheel (with Red leading to one task and Black leading to the other). The seventh Canadian season's new twist, One Way (see below), forces a team to perform a specified Detour task.
A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform. A Roadblock clue is given as a cryptic question, such as "Who's really hungry?" (leading to task involving exotic food) or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task related to laundry). Based on this information and observation of any other racers at the task, the team must decide which member will complete the task before reading the full task description. Once a team announces its decision of who will complete the Roadblock, it cannot be changed or taken back.[g] The Roadblock task is performed only by the selected racer while his or her partner waits in a designated area, although the partner is sometimes able to supply words of encouragement and advice. Further, unless directed by the task instructions, the selected racer can gain help from other racers that have been selected to do the Roadblock or from locals. Some Roadblocks may involve the non-selected racer, such as leading a camel his or her partner rides, or helping his or her partner solve a puzzle. On completing the Roadblock, the selected racer receives their next clue which they then return to their partner to read. Should a racer either unable to complete, or opts to quit a Roadblock, the team must take a four-hour penalty, which either starts when the next team arrives at the Roadblock, or if all teams are present, when they reach the Pit Stop for that leg. Some legs feature two Roadblocks, often the first and the final legs when this occurs, in which the second Roadblock generally require that the non-participating racer from the first Roadblock perform that one.[h]
Through the first five seasons, there was no limit on the number of Roadblocks that a single team member could perform throughout the race. This often led to one team member performing the majority of Roadblocks during the race. On one occasion in season five, it may have led to the elimination of a fan-favorite underdog team, the Bowling Moms, against several younger male/female couples in the penultimate leg of season five. In season six, a rule (often referred to by fans as the Bowling Moms Rule in reference to season 5) was introduced that limited a team member to a maximum number of Roadblocks he or she could complete (typically six, about half the number of Roadblocks on the race), effectively making both racers share an equal number of Roadblocks. In season nine, the Roadblock limit was increased to a maximum of seven for a 12-leg race. In season 18, the rule was further modified to state that team members could not complete more than five Roadblocks prior to the final leg. Since at least season 24, a further modification was changed, limiting racers to a maximum of six Roadblocks through Leg 10 of a given race, with no Roadblock restrictions for all remaining legs.
A Fast Forward is a task that, once completed, allows the team that completes it to bypass all remaining tasks in the leg and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. The Fast Forward clue is given with another task clue (usually a Roadblock or Detour) and is a separate task from the others. Only one team may complete a Fast Forward in any given leg, and a team may only complete one Fast Forward in the entire Race. The exception to this rule is in seasons wherein the Fast Forward is offered in conjunction with the Intersection, in which case a team may win the Fast Forward both as an individual team and as a team working with another as part of the Intersection instructions. Teams that win the Fast Forward are not guaranteed a first-place finish for that leg and still face elimination if they arrive at the Pit Stop last. Multiple teams may undertake Fast Forward tasks, but only the first team to complete the task gets credit; if a team fails to get the Fast Forward (either by quitting the task or being beaten to it), they must return and complete the leg as normal, thus creating a risk in going for the Fast Forward and potentially losing time with the other teams for that leg.
Fast Forwards were initially offered on every leg of the Race, excluding the final leg. To reduce costs of production involved with unused Fast Forward tasks, the number of Fast Forwards available was reduced to two on each Race starting in season five, and then down to one as of season 14.[i] Fast Forwards are often not shown if no team opts to take the Fast Forward or if all remaining teams have used their Fast Forward. As a result, some later seasons have not featured any Fast Forward but it is unknown whether there was one offered or not.
A Switchback is a helpful concept introduced in which teams encounter a task from a previous season that was markedly difficult or memorable. The Switchback is associated with the same country or city as the original task, and often done at the same specific location. For example, Season 15 featured its first-ever Switchback from season six's hay-rolling Roadblock in Sweden, or in Season 27 featured a Switchback from the first season, where teams had to re-perform the very first task in The Amazing Race history: free fall 200 feet (61 m) into the Batoka Gorge and swing above the Zambezi River.
Besides clues, teams may encounter the following that may or may not affect their placements or possibly slow them down:
The Yield, introduced in season five, allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time, typically on the order of 10 to 15 minutes though the exact length was never given. The Yield Marker is placed near a Route Marker, and teams are forced to stop at it to state their intentions to employ the Yield. If a team Yielded another team, they would place a photo of the Yielded team, along with a "Courtesy of" photo of themselves, on the stand. When the Yielded team arrived at the Yield, they would then turn over an hourglass and wait for the sand to drain before they could continue to the Route Marker. A team may only use its Yield power once on the race, and only one team may be Yielded when the Yield is available, although a team may be Yielded multiple times during the same Race. If a team loses its "Courtesy of" photo, they also lose their Yield power. If the team that is Yielded has already passed the Yield, the Yield is nullified.
During season five, teams were not aware of the upcoming Yield. In subsequent seasons, clues have alerted teams that a Yield would be present at the next Route Marker via wording on the clue sending them there. Yields were present in every leg except the last of season five, while only three were present in seasons six through eight, and two in seasons nine through eleven. While the Yields have not been present in the U.S. Race since season eleven after a revised format of the clue, the U-Turn, Yields are still present within the foreign editions. Some twists were also featured for the Yield:
The U-Turn, introduced in season 12 as a replacement of the Yield, is similar in format to the Yield; however, it is usually placed immediately after a Detour (seasons 27 was the first race overall which had legs where the U-Turn was placed before the Detour, and had been used in every season since except 28). At the board, a team may exercise their U-Turn ability to force another team to backtrack and complete the Detour option they did not previously complete (though they can still do once if a team used their Express Pass, see below).[j] Like the Yield, the team placing the U-Turn places a photo of the team they are penalizing along with their own "Courtesy of" photo on the U-Turn marker stand. Also prior to season 19, if a team had lost their "Courtesy of" photo, they would be unable to use their U-Turn power for the remainder of the Race. When choosing the teams, the users are aware which teams are still in the race, but are not told what teams, if any, have passed the U-Turn sign, thus creating a possibility for a team to U-Turn a team that has already passed the U-Turn (or skipped it by means of a Fast Forward), nullifying its effects, and sometimes that U-Turn will be unaired on television. A team may exercise their U-Turn power once throughout the race, with the exception of U.S. Season 29 and The Amazing Race Canada, where teams can use the U-Turn twice if they desire. From seasons 19 to 22, the U-Turn sign was remade to use computer touchscreens, removing the need for teams to carry their "Courtesy of" photo, though teams could still only U-Turn another team once per race. Teams are warned of an upcoming U-Turn either before the leg when the teams leave the Pit Stop, when the teams arrive at the Detour, and/or at the Route Marker clue after the Detour. Whenever teams are warned of the upcoming U-Turn has varied in more recent seasons of the Race.
As like a Yield, there were various twists for U-Turn:
Introduced in the seventh Canadian season the One Way is a variation on the Double U-Turn board. Appearing before a Detour, the team who chooses to exercise the One Way forces a second team to perform one specific task of the Detour. The One Way featured on the debut was a Blind Double One Way, where two teams could slow down two other teams while remaining anonymous.
The Intersection, used in U.S. seasons 10, 11, and 16, requires each team to pair up with one other team and perform all tasks and make decisions together until further notice. Should there be no other teams present when a given team arrives at the Intersection Route Marker, they must wait there until another team arrives, although they do not have to partner with that team and can opt to wait for another team instead. Teams are free to choose their partner team if multiple teams are present. Teams are not warned when an Intersection is coming. The Intersection may have teams simply working together on standard Route Marker tasks, or they may have to work together on Roadblocks (where one member from each team must complete the task) or Fast Forwards. The first season of the Australian version featured two separate Intersections during its run, with the second Intersection having a unique set of penalties for quitting part way through the task.[k] The second and third China celebrity editions had a different procedure on pairing their intersected teams, where teams voted for the team they wished to pair with.
A special variation of the intersection; titled a "Nation vs Nation" challenge, was used on The Amazing Race: Australia vs New Zealand, where all of the remaining teams of a country must team up to complete a task as one group before continuing on with the race.
The Head-to-Head is an obstacle which has teams compete against each other in a specific task. The winning team is given the next clue, while the losing team(s) must wait for the next team's arrival to start the task over. The team that loses the last round will receive a penalty. Most often, losing team(s) must wait out a pre-determined time penalty (usually 15 minutes) before receiving the next clue. This was first introduced in second Latin American version where it was called the Intersection (despite the extremely different rules to the regular Intersections). Other names vary from different versions, where the Israeli version is called "Double Battle", the Canadian and Chinese celebrity versions were called "Face Off" (the latter was previously called "Versus" in the first two seasons), and in second season of the Philippine version it was called "Duel". The second season of the Norwegian edition retained the naming of "Intersection".
In season 3 of the Canadian edition, if teams gave up at the Face Off, they incurred a four-hour penalty at the Pit Stop. If all the other teams passed the Face Off (either by beating another team or by penalty), the remaining team would not be incurred a time penalty. In the 2nd Chinese Celebrity version, if the teams cannot finish the Face Off, the team would incur a 30-minute penalty (a standard 15-minute penalty, and another 15-minute after the last team).
It was officially introduced to the U.S. version in Season 30, naming it "Head-to-Head". The rules of the challenge remain mostly the same, with the main difference being that the challenge was played at the leg's Pit Stop, with the team who lost the final Head-to-Head being immediately eliminated from the race.
"Intersection with Integration Versus" was first introduced on the second Chinese celebrity version, as a combination of both Intersection and Versus. Where first, the four teams will need to choose which team they want to be intersected by "voting"; the team who voted each other would be intersected for the entire leg. Throughout the leg, teams will need to do some task in some point by using head-to-head or timing in a best-of-five format. The team that wins the head-to-head challenge or the faster time will win two points. After five rounds, the teams who won the most points will be given joint-first and were immune from elimination; the losing teams were required to compete one more head-to-head challenge, with the team who lost the final challenge being eliminated from the Race. Similar rules adopted in Season three but teams were only intersected on one challenge (instead of the entire leg) and faced head-to-head against another intersect team in certain location, and the team who won the previous leg determined the pairing of intersected teams, instead of a vote.
Each leg of The Amazing Race generally consists of teams leaving from the previous Pit Stop and traveling to a different location (often in a different country), where they perform two or more tasks, generally including one Detour and one Roadblock, before being given instructions to go to the next Pit Stop. It is each team's goal to complete each leg as quickly as possible, as the first team to check in at the Pit Stop will win a prize; the prizes have included all-expenses paid trips, new cars or other vehicles, money, entertainment provided during the Pit Stop, and recently advantages to be used during the race (see Express Pass, Salvage Pass, and Double Your Money). The last team to arrive at the Pit Stop will generally be eliminated from the competition, but occasionally the team is allowed to continue racing although they will be given a race-imposed disadvantage in the next leg (see Non-elimination leg). When teams are otherwise not performing tasks or traveling during a leg, they are free to use their time as they see fit, although they will often resort to eating cheaply or sleeping outside a location to save their Race money.
First introduced in season 15 (and not repeated until season 18 and being used in most seasons since), the Start line of the Race has featured a task that teams had to complete before being allowed to continue racing (earlier seasons simply had teams run towards their backpacks and first clue). The task generally features an item that provides a hint to their first destination, such as a number plate particular to the city or the name of the country's national airline. Teams that complete this task first may be given tickets for the first of two or more departing flights to their first city, giving those teams a time advantage on the first leg. In the 18th and 19th seasons, the last team to complete the task was given a penalty on top of having their last place departure; in season 15, the last place team was eliminated after having been unable to complete the task (out of 12 teams, there were only 11 clues and sets of plane tickets for their first destination).
In the fourth and fifth seasons of the Israeli edition, a twist was featured where the 14 teams were divided into two groups of seven on the first leg; each group began the race at separate starting lines, and had separate tasks to complete before reaching the Pit Stop, which is a standard end-of-leg elimination. The groups were then merged at the start of the second leg, where the 12 remaining teams compete on the same leg and completing the same tasks as usual.
The Express Pass, introduced in season 17, is usually awarded as a prize on an early leg (usually the first leg, though it was awarded on the second leg of season 21, or the sixth leg in season 28), but in some cases the Express Pass was offered to teams on some tasks with a risk of possible elimination. The pass allows the team to skip any single task (including Roadblocks, Detours, and miscellaneous tasks, but not the Fast Forward task), once, during the race. The choice of which task to skip is at the team's discretion, but the power, if unused, expires at leg 8 or 9 depending on season. The Express Pass was also named Pase Directo (following the change production companies in season three of the Latin American edition) or Fripass (in the Norwegian version). Throughout other seasons, various other twists were used in conjunction on the Express Pass:
Including all international editions, the Express Pass has been awarded to 62 teams (three via optional tasks, six via mandatory challenges, and 18 from the second Express Pass). 30 of the teams have made it to the final leg of the race, and seven teams (including two teams who did not use their pass. and one who received as a second pass) have gone on to win the grand prize. A total of seven Express Passes were forfeited (three teams were eliminated without ever using it).
The Salvage Pass, introduced in the second Australian version, is awarded to the winners of the first leg. The team who receives the pass may choose to give themselves a one-hour head start for the start of the next leg of the race or save the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop from elimination. This pass was also used alongside the Express Pass in Philippine version; however, teams in the Philippine version have the option of using it to gain a 30-minute advantage at a task rather than an hour at the start of the leg. For instance, it was used to enter the location of a clue box 30 minutes before opening time. The Salvage Pass was also featured in the third Israeli season, and later on the sixth Vietnamese season, with the latter function as an Express Pass.
The Save, used in season 25, is awarded in place of the Express Pass to the team that comes in first on the first leg, and allows the team holding it to avoid elimination once until the end of Leg 9. In the event that a team attempts to use it on a non-elimination leg, the Save is returned to them to use once more. The Save can also be given to another team to use if desired. The Save also appeared on season 26 as an unaired task, but it did not return again after season 27.
A twist also called the Save was introduced in the Chinese celebrity edition where the team who won it was required to bring another team back into the competition. In the third season, the Save was renamed to Return Ticket, and the team who won the ticket could bring back another team before the fourth leg. The sixth Israeli season also incorporated the Return Ticket by bringing back previously eliminated teams to compete a leg with the winner earning the Return Ticket and the ability to return to the Race.
The Hazard, seen in season 19, is a penalty applied to the team who came in last at the starting line task. After completing a task (in season 19 it was a Roadblock), the team was given a different clue that directed them to another location where they found the Hazard clue. The Hazard consisted of a task that only one of the team members had to perform. The Hazard did not reappear since season 20, despite the inclusion of a similar task at the starting line.
Season 21 featured the Double Your Money prize, where if the team that finished first on the first leg won the race, their grand prize would double from US$1 million to US$2 million; however, the team that won the prize was eliminated before the final leg and no one was eligible to win the increased prize money. The Double Your Money prize was replaced by the two Express Passes on subsequent seasons.
The Invade was first introduced on the second Chinese celebrity version, where the intruders will be starting the race at the start of a given leg. For their invasion, the intruders must place in the top (Ninth leg) or top two (seventh leg) to continue racing - if they fail their invasion, they may be eliminated from the race; if they succeed, the last team to check-in may be eliminated, and the intruders will keep on racing in future legs. This was removed on the season 3 of the Chinese celebrity version.
The Pit Stop is the final destination in each leg of the race, and where all non-eliminated teams go after checking in at the mat. During Pit Stops, teams are given lodging (from simple accommodations as tents or cots to complete hotel service) and food free of charge. Teams forfeit Race materials such as clues to the production staff at this time. Teams will also give interviews with the production team to describe their activities from the last leg, which are interspersed during Race footage of that leg on subsequent broadcast. Teams are generally sequestered to the lodgings but may otherwise use their time freely. In early seasons, teams were allowed to "eat, sleep, and mingle" with each other, as described by the host, often creating friendships between teams. From around season 14 to season 25, teams were sequestered from each other during Pit Stops, and would often not learn of the previous elimination until they saw other teams on the next leg. Following season 25, teams have once again been allowed to mingle with other teams during Pit Stops.
Once the Pit Stop is complete, the team is given their next clue and allowed to start racing again. Each team's Pit Stop was originally 12 hours long starting from the time they reached the mat, or made longer with additional 24-hour segments as needed as to appear 12 hours long during broadcast.[l] In more recent seasons, Pit Stop times have varied both longer or shorter to avoid teams loitering in airports or other areas. Penalties from the previous leg may also be applied to a team's Pit Stop time. Teams are responsible for being ready to leave at the correct time, and are given no time credit should they miss their departure time. In most cases, teams leave from the same location they ended the previous leg at, but some Pit Stops have been on mobile housing, such as riverboats, with their point of departure changed during the course of the Pit Stop.
Some Races have included a double-length leg, also called "to be continued" Legs (or dubbed as "Super Leg", in the Philippine edition), shown either on two separate episodes or a single two-hour-long episode,[m] where teams are not checked in at a Pit Stop but instead given a clue to continue racing. The clues that precede the midpoint of the double-length leg often will hint at a Pit Stop but will not include the normal language found in clues for normal-length legs that direct teams to the Pit Stop. In some cases, the host has been present along with the check-in mat to give teams their next clues. Double-length race legs were born out of necessity during season six. The sixth leg in Hungary was originally planned to be two legs, with a non-elimination point between the legs which would have stripped the last team of their money and not given them any at the start of the next leg. Producers, however, discovered during the race that begging is illegal in Hungary, which would have made it nearly impossible for the last place team to acquire the money needed for the upcoming leg, and quickly devised the extended leg to mimic the effects of a non-elimination leg (keeping the same number of teams in the race), and using a simple video message clue to provide teams the goal for the first task of the second half of the leg.
A different variant of a "Double-length" leg, first seen in seasons 18, where teams who checked-in at the Pit Stop was immediately given their next clue (usually no prizes were awarded, in the case of the first-place team) and were told to continue racing without breaks, while the last team was also given their next clue without taking a "non-elimination leg" penalty, which serves as two legs. It has since been featured occasionally on later American seasons, as well as every season of the Australian version and one leg in every seasons of the Canadian version (except season two).
First seen in Season five, on some occasions, after all the remaining teams had checked-in, in the event the team was currently still serving their penalty on the location site, or if the team was trailing very far behind from the remaining teams, the host may visit the location from where the team was currently located at, to eliminate them from the race;[n] however, some cases may instruct the team to reach the Pit Stop as requested by the producers without completing the entire leg, where they were eliminated as normal.
Should teams elect to withdraw from the race (such as injury or family reasons), they must state their intention to withdraw from the race to both the production team and the host before the team is allowed to be formally "eliminated" from the race, which usually held outside the Pit Stop, while the last place team arriving at the Pit Stop from the leg was generically not eliminated.
A number of legs on each Race are predetermined "non-elimination legs", where the last team to check in is not eliminated. Up through U.S. season four, there was no penalty for finishing last on a non-elimination leg; this was repeated on one of the legs in season 17 (to make up for a production error). The first season of the French edition also lacks penalties for non-elimination legs, the first among the non-American editions to do so. Beginning with the fifth American season, teams who have finished in last place in a non-elimination leg have been subjected to one of the following penalties in the next leg:
Other international versions of the Race had different non-elimination penalties that issued to the last-placed teams:
There have been many eliminations which have been unusual which may involve a team being eliminated outside a Pit Stop or more than one team being eliminated.
The final leg of the race is run by the three remaining teams. In earlier U.S. seasons, the leg was a non-elimination or double-length leg, with an intermediate destination in or near the home country (such as Hawaii, Alaska or Canada for the U.S. version) prior to traveling to the final city back in the home country. However, in more recent Races, final legs have been single legs, whereby teams are flown directly from the final foreign country to the final city in the home country. In some races, which first seen in the Brazilian version, the finish line was held outside the home country.
Teams still must complete all of the tasks in the final city before they are directed to the Finish Line mat (with a design of the series logo, though some versions used a Pit Stop mat, as seen in the Asian version) to claim the cash reward for the winning team as well as various prizes. In the U.S. version, the grand prize was a cash prize of US$1 million.[o] At the check-in mat, the host and in most cases the other eliminated teams [p] celebrate the arrival of the teams. Generally, all three teams are allowed to arrive, but in seasons one and four, the third place team was so far behind and outside the final city that they were given a clue at their next Route Marker that informed them of the results.
Starting with season nine of the U.S. version (and recent seasons of most foreign versions), the final leg usually feature a challenge which tests the contestants either on their time spent during the race, with examples such as knowing how well they understand their partner or the other teams, memory-based tasks based on their observation skills (such as finding items related to the race which they encountered along, usually in sequential order), or any tasks relating to the theme of the final leg (such as counting poker chips amounting to US$1 million, or participating in local physical-enduring activities); such task (either "Route Info" or a "Roadblock") usually appears as the second-to-last or last challenge before reaching the Finish line.
In the fourth and fifth Israeli seasons, while the Finish Line was still located outside the home country of Israel (which was usual in the series), teams who arrived at the Finish Line (an empty Pit Stop mat and the final clue box) was only told to return to Israel and travel to a specific location before being informed the final Race outcome. The French version was identical to the Israeli season, except that Finish Line was held at the home country of France.
In seasons 25 and 26, four teams raced the final leg, but at some point during the leg one of the four teams was eliminated from the race. This twist was also included on The Amazing Race Vietnam 2019 without the mid-leg elimination, effectively making the latter the first time in the franchise's history four teams crossed the Finish Line.
All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race. In a non-elimination leg, if the last team to arrive at the mat is checked in before a previous team has completed its penalty, any remainder of the penalty time will be applied at the start of the next leg of the race, beginning at the departure time of the next-to-last team.[q] In a no-break leg, the last team will be given their next clue immediately while any remainder of the penalty will be removed.
While the complete set of official rules has not been released to the public, certain rules have been revealed during the various editions of the race:
The teams are often given additional rules and instructions that apply specifically to a given leg or to a task supplied with one of the clues; these are usually not explained to the viewer unless they affect the Race results.
If a team trying to check in at the Pit Stop has committed an infraction during the leg, the team generally must return to the point of infraction and perform the task or action correctly before being allowed to check in. If it is impossible to correct the action, the team is instead asked to wait at a nearby spot to serve a penalty period before being allowed to officially check-in. The penalty for most rule infractions is 30 minutes, plus any time gained from breaking the rule. Minor violations for various tasks would have a penalty of 15 minutes, while some violations have longer penalties: two hours for bartering personal goods for services, up to four hours for failing to complete a miscellaneous task, four hours for failing to complete a Roadblock or Speed Bump, six hours for failing to complete a Detour (or completing a Fast Forward incorrectly), or 24 hours for flying outside of economy class, if doing so cost more than the economy class fare. Earlier seasons of the Race enforced a 24-hour penalty for not completing either Detour option, but by season 17, the penalty was reduced to six hours. If teams incur multiple penalties, they are cumulative.
A penalized team does not generally have to wait out its full penalty time at the Pit Stop if the team is in last place and all other teams have already checked in; unless if the leg was a non-elimination or a no-break, the team will be eliminated immediately; otherwise, either the remainder of the penalty will be applied to the team's start time on the next leg,[q] or in the event of a no-break leg, any penalty would be nullified. Occasionally, infractions have come to the production team's attention only after the team has checked in; in these cases, the penalty will be applied to the start of the next leg (with viewers given notification if it affects the departure order). In U.S. Season 3, such a situation resulted in changing which team finished in last place; production brought the penalized team back to the Pit Stop, where the host explained to the teammates what had happened before their elimination.
Should a vehicle (including cars and boats) break down through no fault of the team using it, a replacement vehicle is provided for them, but "no time credit is given for their wait in this unlucky situation."
Teams may also receive time credits, applied to the next leg, that results from "production difficulties." These are only revealed to the viewer if they affect the placement at the start of the next leg.
In most versions, there is a four-hour penalty for not completing a Roadblock, which is served upon arrival at the Pit Stop. On the U.S. version, the penalty can be enforced in a number of ways:
The production of The Amazing Race is a challenge due to its premise being a race around the world. Among the difficult duties that producers face, scouting out locations, designing tasks, selecting teams, and planning logistics for the entire course are the most important to accomplish in pre-production. During the Race, the camera crews need to keep up with the movement of the teams and the host. And when the footage for the entire season has been recorded and edited, team members, production crew as well as the local staff who hosted or facilitated the tasks are obliged to keep the details of the race confidential and not leak out anything that hints at locations, events, or outcomes of the Race. An exception is the television network that airs the show in a country which hosted one of the legs where they can air teasers such as "Who among the teams will come here to (the network's home country name)?" However, in recent U.S. seasons, CBS had released a map to show the locations that the racers would be visiting.
The show is broadcast on CBS in the United States and simulcast via satellite in various networks around the world.
Through its efforts, the U.S. version has received many accolades, including Primetime Emmy Awards and nominations in categories for audio and video production and editing. In 2010, CBS announced that season 18 of the show would be broadcast in high definition.
The original version of The Amazing Race is the American version, which debuted on CBS on September 5, 2001, with Phil Keoghan as the host. In October 2005, CBS optioned The Amazing Race for franchising to other countries.
The Amazing Race Asia was the first Asian version of the show. The regional version was bought by Buena Vista International Television - Asia Pacific (BVITV-AP) and Sony Pictures Television International in October 2005. Auditions were then announced that took place in February to March 2006. The show first aired on November 9, 2006, on AXN Asia and was hosted by Allan Wu. The show aired for three more seasons, with the last season having ended in 2010. After a six-year hiatus, the series was announced to be returning for a 5th season to air in late 2016.
In Israel, on April 8, 2008, the Israeli television network Reshet announced their plans to produce their version of the show, HaMerotz LaMillion (lt. The Race to the Million). Its first season premiered on February 5, 2009, on Channel 2. The first four seasons of the show was a co-production by Reshet and activeTV, an Australian production company that had also produced the Asian version of the race. Since the fifth season, the show has been produced in-house by Reshet, and in 2017 Reshet launched their own channel that became the new home of the show starting with the sixth season.
In March 2010, a Chinese version of the show, The Amazing Race: China Rush, was announced by the Disney-ABC International Television Asia Pacific. The show was produced by Shanghai-based international production company Fly Films; the company had previously produced Shanghai Rush in 2009, a show heavily influenced by The Amazing Race. The first season was filmed between March and April 2010 and aired in August 2010 by International Channel of Shanghai and was hosted by Allan Wu, who had also previously hosted the Asian version. The Chinese version ran for three series, with the last season having ended in 2012. In 2014, Shenzhen Media Group announced they had bought the rights to The Amazing Race and would be producing a new Chinese version of the program, unrelated to Shanghai Media Group's China Rush.
Australia then followed suit with The Amazing Race Australia. On July 19, 2010, Seven Network purchased the format rights to produce the Australian series. The show was produced by activeTV in association with ABC Studios and was distributed by Disney Media Distribution Asia Pacific. The host for the first 3 seasons was New Zealand-born actor Grant Bowler. Two series were produced in 2011 and 2012 and after a brief hiatus in 2013, another season was produced in-house and without activeTV in 2014. This season also included teams from both Australia and New Zealand. Following a 5 years hiatus, the show was revived by Network 10 in 2019. This new season was produced by Eureka Productions and hosted by former rugby league footballer Beau Ryan. The first season of 10's iteration - and the fourth season overall - premiered on October 28, 2019.
On March 26, 2011, it was announced that TV5 had acquired the rights to produce a Philippine version of The Amazing Race. The first season of The Amazing Race Philippines aired on October 29, 2012, and ended on December 15, 2012. Derek Ramsay hosted the show. The show aired a second season in 2014.
Vietnam bought the format as The Amazing Race Vietnam - Cu?c ?ua k? thú. It was announced on March 1, 2012, by BHD Corp. and VTV3. Dustin Nguyen served as the director, executive producer and host of the first season of the show. The fourth season is currently being broadcast with Phan Anh as the new host. The second, third, and fifth seasons were broadcast with Huy Khánh as the host, with Phan Anh filling in during the fourth season. After a three year hiatus, the show was revived with Song Luân as host.
During 2005, AXN Central Europe announced a version of the show to be called The Amazing Race Central Europe. Applications were closed with the submission of 2,500 applicants, with filming expected to have occurred in 2006 and broadcast from September 2006. The show was cast but was never filmed.
By October 2011, a Norwegian version of the show titled The Amazing Race Norge was announced by TV 2. Applications were open from October 11, 2011, to October 31, 2011. Filming took place in January 2012. ex-football player Freddy dos Santos is the host of The Amazing Race Norge. The first season premiered on April 11, 2012. The second and latest season ended on May 29, 2013.
On March 23, 2012, a French version of the show was announced. It was produced by Shine France for D8 with filming having occurred between June and July 2012. It premiered on October 22 of the same year.
In late 2006, a South-American independent production company announced that it would produce a Brazilian version in 2007, to be called The Amazing Race: A Corrida Milionária, and to be aired in a purchased time slot in the Brazilian network RedeTV!. Applications were open from January until July, and filming occurred during August and September. The first and only season premiered on October 13, 2007, and concluded on January 5, 2008.
On October 15, 2008, a Latin American version of the show was announced by Discovery Channel Latin America in association with Disney and Harris Whitbeck presented the show. The first season was filmed in early 2009 and broadcast late in that year across Latin America and the Caribbean and the second season aired in late 2010. In January 2011 it was announced that Space acquired the rights to produce the third season of the show. The fourth season also aired in Space on September 2012, but solely composed of Brazilian teams with Paulo Zulu as the host, replacing Whitbeck. In the fifth season, María Victoria "Toya" Montoya, a former contestant from the third season, replaced Whitbeck as regular host of the series.
On November 30, 2012, it was revealed that CTV would produce a Canadian version of The Amazing Race. An announcement made by Phil Keoghan aired on this channel during the December 2, 2012, episode of the U.S. version of the show. The show premiered on July 15, 2013 with Olympic gold medalist Jon Montgomery as host and has since aired seven seasons.
As of December 3, 2019, there have been 80 winning teams in over 14 franchises of The Amazing Race. The most recent winners are newlyweds Tim and Rod Sattler-Jones who won The Amazing Race Australia 4.
|The Amazing Race Asia||AXN Asia|
New Zealand (3)
|The Amazing Race Australia||Seven Network (1-3)
TVNZ (TV2) (3)
Network 10 (4-)
|The Amazing Race Australia v New Zealand||Season 3, 2014: Daniel Little and Ryan Thomas|
|Brazil||The Amazing Race: A Corrida Milionária||RedeTV!||
|The Amazing Race: Edição Brasil
The Amazing Race: Brazilian Edition
|Canada||The Amazing Race Canada||CTV||
|The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition|
|China||The Amazing Race: China Rush
Dragon TV (2-3)
|Allan Wu||Trip around the World|
|The Amazing Race
China (Season 3-4)
|France||Amazing Race : la plus grande course autour du monde !
Amazing Race: the biggest race around the world!
The Race to the Million
|Channel 2 (Reshet) (1-5)
Reshet 13 (6-)
|The Amazing Race en Discovery Channel
The Amazing Race on Discovery Channel
|Discovery Channel Latin America|
|The Amazing Race||Space
TC Televisión (6)
|The Amazing Race: Ecuador|
|Norway||The Amazing Race Norge||TV 2|
|Philippines||The Amazing Race Philippines||TV5|
|1+1||Season 1, 2013: Valeria Nikiforets and Bohdana Primak|
|United States||The Amazing Race
|The Amazing Race: Family Edition||Season 8, 2005: Nick, Alex, Megan and Tommy Linz|
|The Amazing Race: All-Stars|
|The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business||Season 18, 2011: Kisha and Jen Hoffman|
|The Amazing Race: Reality Showdown||Season 31, 2019: Colin Guinn and Christie Woods|
|Vietnam||Cu?c ?ua k? thú
The Amazing Race Vietnam
|VTV3 (1-2, 4, 6)
VTV6 (3, 5)
|Season 1, 2012: Saettie Baggio and Thành Phúc||Dustin Nguyen||300,000,000?|
|Cu?c ?ua k? thú
The Amazing Race Vietnam
|Huy Khánh (2-3) |
Song Luân (6)
Hng Giang (6)
|Cu?c ?ua k? thú
The Amazing Race Vietnam
(Celebrities vs. Fans)
|Cu?c ?ua k? thú
The Amazing Race Vietnam
The game features many locations previously visited on real races, as well as some new ones like Venezuela. Host Phil Keoghan provided voice-acting throughout the entire game.
Players customize their own characters and can race against other, pre-made characters. These existing teams are showcased in the opening, which closely mirrors the actual show's opening (including the use of the same music). However, when playing the actual game, no-one, not even the player, is referred to by name. Instead, teams are differentiated by color (ex. team yellow).
The rules of the race are fairly similar to the actual race. Teams receive money, fly to a location and complete various tasks (which were represented by a large collection of minigames). The last team to arrive is eliminated, unless they are saved by a non-elimination leg, in which the penalty is the team loses all their money they saved up to that point (unlike the show during seasons 5-9, the teams are still given money at the start of the next leg). However, teams all leave the Pit Stop at the same time.
Some of the clues had changes to their rules: while the Detour and Roadblock retain their rules, there is no limit on individual Roadblocks. Fast Forwards appear in the race, but they are not optional, and the team that completes it fastest gets a two-hour time credit. The Intersection marker was also present, however, the rules was changed where a task that all teams complete, similar to an additional task on the real race. The Yield, U-Turn, Speed Bump, and Express Pass are not featured in this game.
As an added bonus, completing various tasks and doing certain objectives in the game will unlock "video files." These are selected clips from the actual U.S. TV show; usually featuring notable clips selected from the first 15 seasons, such as extremely dramatic moments (examples are Uchenna & Joyce couldn't pay their taxi driver at the final Pit Stop and Chris & Alex making the closest finish in Amazing Race) or funny moments (such as when Fran & Barry kept walking past a clue that was within arm's length). The clips appear exactly as they did on TV, except that all logos are pixelated, even those that went uncensored on TV.
In 2015, a Canadian animated Amazing Race parody program titled The Ridonculous Race aired on Teletoon and Cartoon Network. The show itself is a spin-off the Total Drama series (which is, in turn, a parody of other reality shows, predominately Survivor). The animated show features 18 teams of two who will compete in a race around the world for C$1,000,000. The show is hosted by Don, who is modeled after The Amazing Race host, Phil Keoghan. The teams race to "Don Boxes" to receive their next "travel tip", which will instruct the teams to complete challenges and go to other locations. Like Amazing Race, there are a variety of challenge types. There are "either or"; in which the teams are given a choice of two choices (like a Detour), a "botch or watch"; which only one member of the team can complete the task (like a Roadblock), and "all-ins"; in which both members must complete the given task. At the end of each episode, there is a "Chill Zone" which the teams may rest until the next episode. Teams check into the "chill zones" by stepping on the "carpet of completion". The last team to set foot on the carpet may be eliminated from the race. The first team to reach the final "chill zone" will win C$1,000,000.