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Looking Behind the Scenes: An Interview With Phil Keoghan, Host of ‘The Amazing Race’by Phil Kural -- 05/29/2003
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Phil Keoghan has now hosted four editions of The Amazing Race. In this interview, Phil talks a little about what goes on behind the scenes of the show, how it has become such a hit series, and what he has been up too while the race is not filming. Not only do we get insight about the race, but we also get to find out more about Phil himself, and get to find out why he decided to host the show and his feelings about certain teams.
RealityNewsOnline: What did you like most about the show that made you want to host it?
Phil: My two loves in life: People and travel. I get paid to do the things I love most.
RNO: Has there been a place thus far on the show that you have yet to visit but would really like to go?
Phil: There are many places that I have been personally that I think would be great to take the race to. I'm hoping to make it happen so better that I not disclose the locations just yet.
RNO: What has been your least favorite place and why?
Phil: I really don't have any. Each country offers something new and different.
RNO: Has there ever been a team that you have secretly found yourself rooting for?
Phil: In the past, I was most disappointed for Nancy and Emily (Race 1) because they proved to everyone including themselves, that they could race with the best of them and because of one small mistake, they were eliminated.
RNO: Do you have a good idea about who is in the lead, or is everything new to you as each team makes their way to the mat?
Phil: We are constantly getting updates from production so we have a pretty clear idea at any point in time what the race standings are.
RNO: Did you expect the show to have the devoted fan base that it has?
Phil: Not to this extent.
RNO: How do you feel the teams from the fourth season of TAR stack up against seasons prior? Does there seem to be more/less drama?
Phil: I think we're getting better and better at making the show. I also think we're getting better and better about picking people for the show.
RNO: Was there ever a team that you felt should have won but didn't? If so, who would that be and why do you think they would have deserved to win?
Phil: The teams that won the race deserved to win the race. It's not about woulda, coulda, shoulda, it's about who arrives first and they did it.
RNO: What teams did you think would do well and floundered once they hit the ground?
Phil: It's impossible to tell who is going to do well in The Amazing Race. We've never been able to predict who will be eliminated first or who will win. That's one of the great things about this show is that it's completely unpredictable.
RNO: How has 9/11 affected The Amazing Race? How has it changed the locations and travel arrangements for the show?
Phil: Obviously, we go to places where we're welcome and where we can ensure the safety of the teams. While traveling in the U.S. has changed dramatically, it really hasn't changed that much in other parts of the world. America has just sort of caught up.
RNO: What do you think makes the show the success that it is? Is there one thing that TAR has that other shows lack?
Phil: What makes it a success is that it's a high concept show that has real substance. What makes Race unique is the fact that we have couples in pre-existing relationships. There's no honeymoon period. Right from the start the teams dive in head first.
RNO: What do you think it takes to win TAR? Is it just good luck, or does more come into play?
Phil: Luck is a huge part but ultimately, it comes down to how well couples work together, how well they communicate and whether they make the right decisions under pressure.
RNO: Have the camera crews ever lost track of any of the teams or had great difficulty keeping up?
Phil: At no point are the crews separated from the teams. It's against the rules and they're all responsible to look after each other.
RNO: Is there any other time besides when you see them at the pit stops that you are able to interact with any of the teams? Do you offer them words of encouragement?
Phil: Where I can, I hang out with them to gather insight about their experience which I can use during the lengthy interviews I do with all of them every time they come into the mat.
RNO: What happens to a team immediately after they're eliminated? Do they get to go to a spa or someplace like that to recuperate?
Phil: Rest assured the teams are very well taken care after their elimination. The first thing that they want is to just relax, take a shower, and get some sleep.
RNO: How do you manage to reassemble all the eliminated teams at the finale? Haven't they already returned to their "normal" lives?
Phil: They become my posse. Every time I travel to another country, they join me on the "Philimination" trail. I'm kidding of course. All the teams stay with production until the race is finished.
RNO: Besides TAR, what else have you been up too?
Phil: I've been working on my book and a television series to go with it which I hope will go into production at the end of the summer.
RNO: If you had to pick three adjectives that sum up your experience on TAR as a whole, what would they be and why?
Phil: Thrilling, captivating, and rewarding. Race is one giant thrill ride. It's packed full of adrenaline, great scenery and of course, engaging people who provide the entertainment.
RNO: Thank you, Phil, for taking the time to do this interview, best of luck with the book, movie, and fourth edition of The Amazing Race.
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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