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Phil-o-mania

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  1. TAR Host Phil Keoghan

    The Watcher A Chicago Tribune Web Log by Maureen Ryan 'Race' Fans Get Their Phil An interview with Phil Keoghan of "The Amazing Race" Phil Keoghan at a meet-and-greet book and DVD signing with his fans for his new tome, 'No Opportunity Wasted.' Last Friday, Phil Keoghan, host of "The Amazing Race," did a book and DVD signing at the Borders Book Store on State Street [Chicago]. Here's a transcript of the interview I did with Keoghan after his marathon meet-and-greet with 'TAR' fans: The Watcher: Does it ever surprise you how much fans are invested in the show? Keoghan: It always surprises me, because to imagine that I would be in a Borders in Chicago with 150 people . . . . I would never have imagined in the beginning that I'd be in a bookstore selling the first season of "The Amazing Race" with "Amazing Race 8" on the way, and talking to people about the history of the 'Race' and their passion for the 'Race.' It's sort of, like, 'How'd that happen?' TW: What did you think when you heard they were going to do a family edition? Were you into the idea? Keoghan: I wasn't nervous, because I knew or felt that after seven seasons it would be good to do something a little different, just to mix it up a little bit. We've made some adjustments along the way, like the [changes to] the roadblock rule, the [addition of the] yield. It just seemed appropriate after seven seasons to change it up. And the reality is that the biggest fans of the show are families, so why not let them run the 'Race'? TW: It doesn't seem as though families with younger kids are doing any worse on the race, in fact, sometimes they seem to do better. Keoghan: It's so cool to see them run this 'Race.' I think people have a genuine concern with these kids [running the 'Race'], but if anything, it's the adults having to deal with crushed egos is the problem. That's the issue. TW: Does it feel like it's different from other 'Races'? Keoghan: It's the 'Race' that we have all come to love. The format is the same, the difference is, it's four people, so we've had to make some adjustments, and there are kids. TW: Do you think that makes it better? Keoghan: I don't think that makes it better, I think that makes it different. And I think it's an opportunity for us to speak to that core audience who love our show, the family, and maybe to bring on some new people, who are attracted by the idea of [a] family [edition]. I don't think we're going to put off people who love the 'Race.' They're still getting their 'Race.' It's just that I think maybe we've broadened the appeal. I think it was a smart move, especially right now, there's a lot of talk of family [in the culture]. TW: Is it a chance to show off North America, too? Keoghan: Part of that was just to throw off the teams, because the teams are just expecting that they're going to be on a plane going overseas. That was another thing we put in there. We're always trying to change it. TW: But the teams travel less mileage overall, right? Keoghan: I think in terms of the miles of the 'Race,' it might be less than the average is. But it's not about how far they travel, it's about what they do. Some people thought that it was just [travel within] America, it's not just America. It's an international show still. It's the 'Race.' You have to have that. We've just mixed it up a bit. TW: Were you surprised they put the first season of "The Amazing Race" out on DVD -- it's been four years since it premiered. Keoghan: No. I think it was inevitable. We were at the tipping point with the show [in terms of popularity], but there were still so many people that hadn't seen [the first seasons]. It's such a long time ago, and when we came out, the ratings were nothing like what they are now. I don't know if there's another show that has grown like our show. It doesn't happen. TW: There were quite a few nerve-wracking moments for fans in the early days, when fans thought it might not come back. Keoghan: I can't speak for anyone at CBS or anybody else in production, but from my point of view, I was like, 'We need an award, or we need [something to help the show].' Because at the end of the day, there's a certain math that has to take place. You've got to have a certain number of people who watch the show to keep the show going. The show got good ratings, but they were by no means great ratings, and now we are getting great ratings. And a lot of that is attributable to who's attached to the project, [Jerry] Bruckheimer's attached to the project, and a lot of that is attributable to these [Emmy] awards. And then to me, the tipping point was Season 5. That was the season with Charla and Mirna, Chip and Kim. Over that summer, suddenly we became water cooler talk. Instead of people coming up to me and saying, "Aren't you that guy from 'The Great Race'?" people would come up to me and say, "You're from 'The Amazing Race!'" The difference with people recognizing me on the street was night and day. . . . We've actually got to the point now where it's appointment viewing. TW: And once people start watching the show, they're hooked. Keoghan: That's what I say to people. Just watch it once. If I had a dollar for every person who's said to me, "I don't watch reality television, but I watch 'The Amazing Race,'" I would be a gazillionaire. I would venture to say I cannot remember the last day where someone didn't say that to me. Phil Keoghan at a recent book signing event. TW: I asked Phil what have been the most memorable moments for him from the past seven seasons of "The Amazing Race": Keoghan gave this list of his top memorable moments: Charla and Mirna carrying meat in Season 5: "I'm sorry, it just doesn't get much better than that." Emily and Nancy trying to find a clue in an Indian marketplace in Season 1: "It was just such an amazing example of culture shock, which to me, the audience connects with, because they understand, 'If I were there, I would be so out of my element.'" The head shaving with Uchenna and Joyce in Season 7: "It's extremely touching. Part of what makes that so powerful is that when Brandon and Nicole were faced with the same fast-forward, they decided not to do it, and they didn't win 'The Amazing Race.' I asked Brandon and Nicole, 'What would you do for a million dollars?' Keoghan explained. Phil continued, "Brandon and Nicole looked at me, and I said, 'Would you shave off your hair for a million dollars?' They realized what I was asking them, and I said, 'Well, clearly you wouldn't, because you don't know if you just gave up a million dollars.'" Speaking about Uchenna and Joyce, Phil said, "I don't think we've ever had more popular winners. Same with Chip and Kim." The challenge in New Zealand, when racers rolled down a hill in a giant ball called a Zorb: "That's a friend of mine, that's my friend's farm. I drove about 500 miles to find that location; they'd never taken the Zorb off-site before, so I tested it with my friend, down this hill. I just remember screaming, 'We've got to get that in the show!'" In Season 5, when the Bowling Moms were doing the rock-climbing challenge, Phil wished that Christie had done that challenge instead of Colin: "That's when I wished there had been the rule about [teammates having to do an even number of] roadblocks. Colin was doing most of the roadblocks, and I would have loved to have seen Christie go head to head with Karen [of the Bowling Moms]." John of the team John Vito and Jill eating the cheese in Season 3: "It was just funny." Uchenna and Joyce at the orphanage in South Africa. In Season 6, Gus and Hera at the Goure Island in Africa, where slaves were shipped to the New World: "To me it's one of the greatest moments, where the show really slowed down and was breathing. The whole show slowed down. It was extraordinary." TW: Do you still keep in touch with ex-racers? Keoghan: Yeah, I'm meeting up with one tomorrow. I get e-mails from them all the time. TW: The online community is another huge source of 'Amazing Race' fandom. Keoghan: They're an essential part of the support for the show. They've stuck with the show from the beginning. They know the show inside and out. They have just been there and stayed there. They're certainly very opinionated about what they like and don't like, but I really believe that they have had a major impact on keeping the show alive. TW: Would the producers ever license the concept to producers in other countries? Are there other versions in other countries? Keoghan: There are other countries that are apparently planning to make their own versions. I don't know the details of that, I'm not involved in that. To make an international version, when I go overseas, I get bombarded with people saying, 'How come Canadians can't be in it? How come Australians can't be in it?' [The show is quite popular in both countries, Phil says]. This is CBS' show, though, so the show is made for America; it just so happens that it sells overseas. TW: Finally, a burning question prompted by years of watching the show: Does the show pre-book seats for contestants on various flights? Keoghan: We do, as production [staff]; we have to cover [flights for] ourselves for production. But with teams, unless we actually tell them, 'You have three choices: You must choose between this flight and this flight,' where we've said, 'There are three flights, the first one leaves at [such and so time, etc.],' then we've pre-booked the flights. Otherwise, we're not holding any seats for them. TW: So, flights may be full, and that's that. Keoghan: Well, that happens all the time. They have to get seats based on availability. TW: By the way, at one point we were chatting about the possibility of an all-star version of "The Amazing Race," but from what Phil said, it didn't seem like it would happen all that soon. As I recall (I didn't get this part recorded), Phil said it was something the fans were talking about more than 'Amazing Race' producers and CBS executives were. Still, it sounded like it could happen one day. Finally, "TAR: Family Edition's" Godlewski Sisters showed up at Borders but were under strict rules not to talk to the press, so they just waved, smiled and quickly backed away from me.
  2. The Linz Family

    cbs.com The Linz Family ~ Cincinnati, Ohio Team of Four Siblings: Tommy, 19, Megan, 21, Nick, 24 and Alex, 22. The Linz Family is from Cincinnati, Ohio. This close-knit team is comprised of three brothers and one feisty sister who are so deeply rooted in Cincinnati that they have over 50 first cousins living in or near the Cincinnati area. The Linz's parents have been married for more than 28 years. Nick is the oldest on the team at 24 and works in sales in Buffalo, New York. He describes himself as hardworking and friendly. Alex, 22, recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati and works as an emergency room technician. He says he is optimistic and proud. Tommy, 19, is currently enrolled at Miami University of Ohio. Tommy, who played on the Miami University lacrosse team, is willing and outgoing. Megan, 21, is the only female on the team. She also attends Miami University of Ohio and is studying Strategic Communications. Megan enjoys cheerleading and field hockey. Although she's outnumbered by the boys, she and her brothers are very close. The Linz siblings are well-traveled, athletic, very competitive and ready to embark on a race around the world on "The Amazing Race."
  3. The Bransen Family

    cbs.com The Bransen Family ~ Park Ridge, Illinois Father and His Three Grown Daughters: Lindsay, 20, Walter, 51, Elizabeth, 25 and Lauren, 22. The Bransen Family team, from Park Ridge, Illinois, is made up of a father and his three daughters, who once appeared together in a Pert shampoo commercial several years ago. Walter, 51, the self-proclaimed leader of the group, has been married for 31 years. He works as a CFO and is a native of Chicago. The proud dad of five children, Walter describes himself as being reserved and analytical. He is also a history buff in regards to anything about Abraham Lincoln and belongs to the Abraham Lincoln Association. Elizabeth, 25, is the oldest daughter. She recently obtained a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois. Elizabeth describes herself as personable and trustworthy and has a fear of heights. She and Walter have similar personalities and sometimes their stubbornness can cause friction between the two. Lauren, 22, recently earned a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Business Management from Hope College. Punctual and adaptable, Lauren admits she can be impatient. Lindsay, 20, is the youngest of the sisters. Currently, she's enrolled at Hope College, also majoring in Social Work. Lindsay complains that her older sisters are always telling her what to do. The Bransens are well-traveled and eager to compete on "The Amazing Race" as a family for the chance to win the $1 million prize.
  4. The Weaver Family

    cbs.com The Weaver Family ~ Ormond Beach, Florida The Weaver Family features one mother and her three children. The Weavers include Linda, 46; Rebecca, 19; Rachel, 16 and Rolly, 14. The Weaver Family hails from Ormond Beach, Florida. Linda, the mother of three, lost her husband and their father almost two years ago in an accident at Daytona International Speedway. Linda's children are Rebecca, 19; Rachel, 16 and the lone man of the team, Rolly, who is 14. Since her husband's death, Linda, 46, has been forced to play the role of both breadwinner and nurturer. Linda is an elementary school teacher who is hoping her experience on "The Amazing Race" will alleviate some of the heartache from the past couple of years. Rebecca, 19, is the oldest child who enjoys surfing and horseback riding. Her proudest accomplishment is getting through the turmoil of losing her father without going crazy. Rachel, 16, is a junior in high school. Rachel likes four-wheeling and riding horses. Rolly, 14, is the youngest team member. Rolly enjoys football and basketball. He admits that he's running 'The Race' for his father.
  5. 'Amazing' Runners-Up Finish 'Race' Online by Josef Adalian and Ben Fritz 'Amazing Race's final three families race to the finish line: (L-R) Bransen Family, Linz Family and Weavers Family. Next week's "The Amazing Race" Season Finale won't actually be the finale. In a first for the CBS reality series, the 'Race' will continue online after the action ends on TV. That's because producers taped a runner-up challenge in which the second- and third-place teams competed to win a new car. Rather than air the bonus segment on-air, however, CBS designed the challenge to be an Internet exclusive. As a result, the so-called "mini-race" will be featured exclusively on CBS' Web site, www.CBS.com. The six-minute segment will be available for streaming immediately after the West Coast broadcast of the 'Race' finale wraps at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13. It's not the only CBS content going digital. The network has signed a deal with Verizon Wireless to make video from its entertainment and news shows available as part of the cellular provider's V Cast subscription multimedia service. Content will include clips and behind-the-scenes segments from "Entertainment Tonight," "CSI," "Survivor" and late night chat fests. While the network has made sports and news info available via wireless, this is the first time it has put video content onto mobile devices.
  6. The Gaghan Family

    cbs.com The Gaghan Family ~ Gastonbury, Connecticut Family of Four: Carissa, 9, (daughter); Bill, 40, (dad); Tammy, 42 (mom) and Billy, 12, (son). The Gaghan Family, from Glastonbury, Connecticut, consists of Bill, 40, Tammy, 42, and their children, Billy, 12 and Carissa, 9. Bill works in jet engine sales and admits his biggest pet peeve about himself is his lack of patience. Bill is hoping 'The Race' will show his family the importance of working together as a team and the benefits of never giving up. Tammy is a substitute teacher for her local school district. Having lived in Korea for over three years, Tammy and Bill have traveled extensively. Both compete in marathons across the country and are planning to run one in each state. Billy is entering seventh grade and describes himself as outgoing and adventurous. His mother says he's currently going through typical pre-teen mood swings and hopes that this won't interfere with his ability to focus on 'The Race.' Billy's favorite activities are football and running. He intends to show his dad that he has what it takes to compete in 'The Race.' Carissa, who will be in the fourth grade, is playful and silly. While she is one of the younger Racers, her dad feels her keen eyes and fighting spirit will make up for her small size. She enjoys running with her dog, Blaze, and playing soccer. Carissa wants to show her parents that she is a tough competitor ready to take on the adults in 'The Race.' The Gaghan Family has traveled around the world and are hoping those experiences have prepared them for the competition in "The Amazing Race."
  7. The Godlewski Sisters

    cbs.com The Godlewski Sisters ~ Des Plaines, Illinois 'Race' Team of Four Sisters: Michelle, 42, Christine, 37, Sharon, 39 and Trisha, 26. The Godlewski Family is a team of sisters from Des Plaines, Illinois. The four siblings, from oldest to youngest, are Michelle, Sharon, Christine and Tricia. Each sister has her own personality, which might cause some roadblocks of their own along the way. Michelle, 42, is the most direct of the team. She describes herself as excitable and competitive. Sharon, 39, works as an insurance claim consultant. She says she's alluring and personable and admits that she thrives on challenges. Christine, 37, is a bit obsessive. A homemaker and the mother of four, Christine's biggest pet peeve about herself is not being able to defend herself when she gets into an argument with her siblings. Tricia, the youngest of the team at 26, is always forced to play the role of peacemaker. Tricia is hoping 'The Race' will show her big sisters that she has what it takes to endure "The Amazing Race." All four sisters live within thirty minutes of one other. Although they have traveled extensively together, 'The Race' will surely put their relationships to the test as they embark on a much different kind of family vacation.
  8. The Paolo Family

    cbs.com The Paolo Family ~ Carmel, New York The Paolo Family includes Tony, 52; DJ, 24; Marion, 52 and Brian, 16. Tony and Marion Paolo, from Carmel, New York, are the proud parents of two sons, DJ and Brian. The bickering is constant for these lovable New Yorkers. Tony, 52, is a sanitation worker in New York City. He describes himself as hardworking and charismatic and says the most exciting moment of his life was coming to the United States from Italy. Marion, 52, is a proud homemaker who considers herself to be persevering and hard-headed. Marion's pet peeve about Tony is that he lets his sons get away with two much. DJ, 24, works in title report production. Spontaneous and stubborn, DJ admits to having a fear of heights as well as a big mouth. His brother, Brian, 16, is entering his senior year of high school. Brian is painfully embarrassed by his family and is convinced he's the only sane one in the bunch. Neither son thinks their mother will be able to last long on 'The Race.' No matter how much picking and nagging goes on amongst this foursome, the Paolos are ready to put all of that aside for the chance to win $1 million on "The Amazing Race."
  9. The Paolo Family

    Feisty Paolos Lost The 'Race' 'The Amazing Race's' explosive Paolo Family appears on 'The Early Show' (L-R) Marion, D.J, Brian and Tony NEW YORK, New York
  10. The Schroeder Family

    cbs.com The Schroeder Family ~ New Orleans, Louisiana The Schroeders are a blended family team made up of Mark, 40; Char, 39; Stassi, 17 and Hunter, 15. Mark and Char Schroeder are from New Orleans, Louisiana. Mark's two children from a previous marriage, Stassi, 17 and Hunter, 15, round out the well-traveled family team. Mark, 40, is an architect. He enjoys painting, working out and is admittedly arrogant and confident. Mark hopes 'The Race' will teach his family how to rely on each other. Char, 39, works as a public relations director. Focused and friendly, Char is the family mediator and is forced to step in to resolve family conflicts from time to time. Stassi, 17, is the queen of the family. Outgoing and adventurous, she is entering her senior year of high school. Stassi is Mark's daughter from a previous marriage. Her younger brother, Hunter, 15, is also Mark's son from a previous marriage. Hunter is entering ninth grade this fall. He describes himself as preppy and hyper. Several of Hunter's teammates complain that he can be lazy at times--a trait not commonly found in 'The Race.' As they embark on the ultimate family vacation, the ultra-competitive Schroeders are ready for any challenges "The Amazing Race" throws their way.
  11. Best Prize Ever!

    Even with all the limitations on the gas prize, I still say it's a pretty terrific prize. The father is already 51 and more than likely won't be driving at 101 so as long as he doesn't go over his $1,200 per year gas allowance, he won't be buying any gasoline soon. Even the youngest driver is 20 which means her gasoline allowance doesn't run out until age 70. If they want to give me the same prize deal, I'll be glad to take it and do the happy gas guzzler dance.
  12. Best Prize Ever!

    Is 'gas for life' too good to be true? An 'Amazing' Prize by Ilene Rudolph The Bransen Family won the third leg of the 'Race' and received 'gas for life.' The lucky drivers are: Lindsay, 20, Walter, 51, Elizabeth, 25 and Lauren, 22. With gasoline currently hovering around $3 a gallon, the Bransen family must've been pumped when they found out their reward for winning "The Amazing Race's" third leg was gas for life at any BP or Arco station. (The chains are sponsors of this season's 'Race.') But it turns out the free supply of unleaded isn't unlimited. The Chicago-area foursome's prize is actually $1,200 a year each on gas cards--for 50 years. For the three sisters and their dad, that adds up to $240,000. If you ask us, that's pretty 'Amazing.'
  13. The Aiello Family

    cbs.com The Aiello Family ~ Mansfield, Massachusetts Father and His Three Son-in-Laws: Tony, 57, Kevin, 31, Matt, 31 and David, 26. When Tony Aiello first met the men who would eventually capture the hearts of his three beloved daughters, he never thought he'd end up racin around the world with them. "Forget about it," he'd quip. Compelled by a gnawing curiousity about how his three son-in-laws would handle such a competition, Tony, leads the unlikely foursome from Mansfield, Massachusetts, for their first official trip without their wives by their side. Tony, 57, is the leader in both age and experience. He works as a restaurant consultant and describes himself as protective and competitive. Even though his favorite movie of all time is "The Godfather," his tough exterior melts away when it comes to his three daughters, who he says are his greatest accomplishment. Kevin, 31, is married to one of Tony's twin daughters. His successful career in public relations for a high-tech cmopany has honed his diplomatic skills. The father of two is a self-described risk-taker with a love for travel and adventure. Matt, also 31, works as a corporate project manager and is known for his fearlessness and sense of humor. Matt, married to Tony's other twin daughter, is a father of two as well. David, 26, is the youngest of the team, but the most well-trained. His career as a police officer in Rhode Island is preceded by eight years as an infantryman in the U.S. Marine Corps. He's married to Tony's youngest daughter. "The Amazing Race" will surely show these in-laws the different sides to each other as they are forced to bond outside the familiar comfort of their family circle.
  14. The Black Family

    cbs.com The Black Family ~ Woodbridge, Virginia Family of Four: Reggie, 42, Kenneth, 11, Austin, 8 and Kimberly, 40. The Black Family is from Woodbridge, Virginia. Reggie and Kimberly, who met in undergraduate school, have been married for over 17 years. Their two sons, Kenneth, 11, and Austin, 8, round out this team of four who compete competitively in Tae Kwon Do tournaments. Reggie, 42, is the team leader. He is a high school teacher who describes himself as calm yet competitive. Reggie graduated from Norfolk State University with a degree in mathematics. Kimberly, 40, is a fifth grade teacher who considers herself to be witty and determined. She earned her Masters in Education from Marymount University. Kenneth, 11, is entering sixth grade. His favorite hobbies are soccer and Tae Kwon Do. Kenneth earned his black belt in Tae Kwon Do over two years. At 8 years old, Austin is the youngest contestant ever to compete in "The Amazing Race." He will be in the fourth grade and has an advanced brown belt in Tae Kwon Do. Austin plans on earning his black belt within the next few months. The Black Family is the epitome of dedication and heart. Despite their limited traveling experience, they are determined to show they have what it takes to compete on "The Amazing Race."
  15. Meet the Families on 'Amazing Race 8'

    There is an interview with Phil Keoghan that answers a LOT of questions about "The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition" as well as "The Amazing Race" in general. Just follow the link: TAR Host Phil Keoghan
  16. Racing Through My 'Hood

    There is an interview with Phil Keoghan that answers a LOT of questions about "The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition" as well as "The Amazing Race" in general. Just follow the link: TAR Host Phil Keoghan
  17. Will the Teams be leaving the Country?

    There is an interview with Phil Keoghan that answers a LOT of questions about "The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition" as well as "The Amazing Race" in general. Just follow the link: TAR Host Phil Keoghan
  18. The Rogers Family

    cbs.com The Rogers Family ~ Shreveport, Louisiana The Rogers Family consists of Britney, 22; Denny, 46; Renee, 42 and Brock, 19. The Rogers Family is from Shreveport, Louisiana. This team of Southerners consists Denny, 46; his wife, Renee, 42 and their two children, Brittney, 22, a former Miss Louisiana and her younger brother, Brock, 19. Denny, 46, has been in the car business for 26 years and is a self-proclaimed workaholic. He enjoys hunting and fishin and describes himself as being goal-oriented and stern. Renee, 42, owns a boutique shop and also works as a beauty pageant trainer. Outgoing and talkative, Renee says that she is responsible for holding the family together. Brittney, 22, currently works in pharmaceutical sales. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Brittney is talkative and sassy. She likes shopping and kickboxing. Brock, 19, graduated from high school and is entering college this fall. He enjoys wakeboarding and golf and admits he has little patience. The Rogers Family are competitive and ready for 'The Race.' Denny's motto regarding "The Amazing Race" is: "We never enter anything unless we intend to win."
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