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The Amazing Race is a reality television game show in which teams of two people, who have some form of a preexisting personal relationship, 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, jeepneys, 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, including every award from 2003 to 2012 for "Outstanding Reality-Competition Program", except in 2010 and 2013, when Top Chef and The Voice won the awards, respectively. 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. The teams represent the diversity of the country. 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. The 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, and 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 an additional team of two (for a total of 12, instead of the standard 11), while the "Family Edition" featured ten teams of four players and included young children.
Unseen by the viewer most of the time, teams are accompanied by a two-person audio and video production crew that records the team as they race, and must be able to travel with the team members. The production crews are switched among teams each leg to avoid familiarity.
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 will provide racers with U.S. dollars. 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 hundreds of dollars to nothing. 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 try to get 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. Additionally, 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.
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.[Note 1][Note 2][Note 3][Note 4][Note 5]
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.
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.
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. A notable exception occurs during the first leg of most seasons, wherein teams are provided with a list of two or three "pre-arranged" flights (in the sense that production guarantees that there are enough tickets for all teams spread out among the flights provided) from which teams must travel. In addition, when traveling to some hard to reach destinations, teams may be provided with airline tickets for a specific flight. However, in this situation, teams are still permitted to search for other flights and are not prohibited from booking tickets for a better flight than the one provided. Route Information clues may specify how the teams have to travel (such as by foot, by train, or by air), and instruct teams what type of location to travel to (such as a specific location in another city or country, another location within the team's present city, the Pit Stop of the leg, or the Finish Line of the race). Route Information clues have also provided cryptic clues about the next location, leaving teams to figure out where they must go. For example, teams have been given a small country flag and told to fly to that country, or have been told to travel to the "westernmost point in mainland Europe". In some cases, Route Information clues will require all teams to complete a non-Detour, non-Roadblock task before getting the clue to their next destination, such as taking part in a ceremonial observation. If a team goes to the next destination using the wrong type of transport, they will get a 30-minute penalty at the Pit Stop or Finish Line.
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. Typically, one task is less physically demanding than the other but is tedious or requires some amount of time or thinking to complete, while the other is usually a more physically demanding or frightening option that, depending on the team's ability, may take less time to complete. The decision about which task to attempt lies solely with the team, though due to logistical constraints some Detours may impose a limit on how many teams may attempt one of the tasks at one time. 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 does not complete a Detour, they will get a 6-hour penalty.
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?" or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" 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 taken back. The Roadblock task is performed only by the selected racer while his or her partner waits in a designated area, although the partner is usually able to supply words of encouragement and advice. 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. Normally, once the racer completes the Roadblock, the team receives its clue to the next Route Marker. In selected legs, two Roadblocks may be featured, with the person that sat out the first Roadblock required to do the second. Failure to complete a Roadblock incurs a 4-hour penalty (unless otherwise noted) which starts when the next team arrives, or if the last team, as soon as they announce the intention to take the penalty.
Early seasons allowed teams to distribute the Roadblocks between the team members as they desired, which allowed one team member to do nearly all the Roadblocks. This was changed in season six, which limited a single teammate to a maximum number of Roadblocks he or she could complete, thus forcing his or her partner to perform roughly half of the Roadblocks, as well. Subsequent seasons have not explicitly stated this rule but teams have maintained an even distribution of Roadblocks throughout the Race. Racers can be heard saying they've done "all my Roadblocks" or "saving the last one". In season nine, the Roadblock limit was increased to a maximum of seven which can lead to a 6–6 or 5–7 distribution. 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. The only time the limit was not enforced was during the "Family Edition", wherein some Roadblocks required two people from each four-person team to participate. When asked by a fan of the show on Twitter during the finale of season 24, Phil Keoghan explained that for several seasons already they had changed the rules such that up through leg 10 individual racers were limited to performing a maximum of 6 Roadblocks, but the final 3 Roadblocks on legs 11 and 12 were not subject to the limit. This change in rules results in a possible Roadblock split of 8-5, as possessed by season 24's winning team of Dave and Connor O'Leary.
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.
Fast Forwards were initially offered on every leg of the Race, including some that were not shown if no one took the task or if all remaining teams had won their Fast Forward. The number of Fast Forwards available has since been reduced to two on each Race since season five, and then down to one since season 14, to reduce the costs of providing Fast Forward tasks that would not be taken. Season 14 actually did not feature a Fast Forward option during broadcast; a later interview with a team on that season revealed it had been offered on a leg, but no one ultimately chose to participate in it. U.S. seasons 18 (Unfinished Business), 19, and 24 (All-Stars) also did not feature Fast Forwards, but it has not yet been revealed if this was an intentional choice by the production team or if the tasks were simply not chosen. On season 20 there were a total of three Fast Forwards available during the Race, all taken, making it the season with the most offered since the previously stated reductions.
The Switchback is a concept introduced in season 15, in which teams encounter a task from a previous season that was markedly difficult. The first Switchback was a remake of the Roadblock encountered by teams during the season six stop in Stockholm; the original Roadblock was notorious as Lena Jensen struggled for more than 10 hours, searching through large bales of hay for a clue envelope, before being told that she and her sister Kristy had been eliminated from the race. Another Switchback was incorporated into season 20 concerning a Fast Forward in India initially offered in both seasons five and seven: shaving off all of the hair from the racers' heads as part of a Hindu ceremonial ritual; when taken in season seven, Joyce Agu had her hair shaved off as her husband Uchenna (already bald) gave encouraging words (they ultimately won the season). Season 21 also featured a Switchback of a Roadblock in season 12's visit to the Netherlands where racers participated in fierljeppen, made infamous by 68-year-old Donald Jerousek's decision to strip down to his underwear during the task. Season 22 featured two Switchbacks: a task in season 14's visit to Switzerland, whereby racers transported four 50-pound (23 kg) wheels of cheese from a shed to the bottom of the hill using traditional Swiss cheese carriers, and a Roadblock from the Family Edition where a racer ran along Washington DC's Tidal Basin with a briefcase, whispering a code phrase to spies to exchange it for their next clue.
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. 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, it loses its 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. 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.
The second season of the Israeli version introduced a different format for the Yield and U-Turn. Unlike the original format, each team would have to vote at the start of most legs for the team they wish to Yield and the team with the most votes is forced to wait out the Yield at a certain point later in the Leg. Because of this, the limit of the number of times a team can Yield was removed.
The first season of the Philippine edition used three different formats of the Yield. Aside from the original U.S. format, the Israeli format of having teams vote at the start of the next Leg was used, known as the "Forced Yield". The third format to be used which debuted on the Philippine version of the show was the "Anonymous Yield", where the team who chooses to Yield another team does not have to reveal their identity. This format was adapted from the "Blind/Anonymous U-Turn".
The U-Turn, introduced in season 12 as a replacement of the Yield, is similar in format to the Yield; however, it is always placed immediately after a Detour. After completing their Detour option, a team may use their U-Turn ability to force another team to backtrack and complete the Detour option they did not previously complete. 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. It is possible 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 can only use their U-Turn power 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. When teams are warned of the upcoming U-Turn has varied in more recent seasons of the Race.
Starting in season 14, teams were met with a new variation of the U-Turn called a "Blind U-Turn." If teams use a Blind U-Turn, they do not have to publicly reveal themselves as the perpetrators with their "Courtesy of" photo. It was also featured in season two of the Australian version with the name "Anonymous U-Turn". From season 17, a "Double U-Turn" was introduced, in which two teams can each choose a team to U-Turn. Teams can only U-Turn once, and a team cannot be U-Turned twice in the same leg. In addition, a U-Turned team can U-Turn another team, and this can be done before they complete their extra Detour branch. Season 18 introduced an "automatic U-Turn", where the team who came in last in the starting line task would have to do both tasks of the first Detour (which was not incurred until Leg 2). An automatic U-Turn was also used as the "Handicap" penalty for Leg 10 in the Norwegian edition of the show and The Amazing Race: Edição Brasil. From season 19 to season 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. 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. In season 21, a Blind Double U-Turn was included. It incorporates the rules of a Blind U-Turn and a Double U-Turn.
Season two of the Israeli version introduced a different format of the U-Turn where, at the start of the Leg each team voted for who they wanted to receive the U-Turn. If two teams received the same number of votes, both would be U-Turned. This U-Turn format was also featured in season 2 of the Australian version alongside the regular format and season 1 of the Philippine version where it was known in both versions as the "Forced U-Turn". Season three of the Israeli version saw a different twist in a Double U-Turn, with the voting introduced in season 2 for the first U-Turn, but the team who was U-Turned was given the opportunity to use a U-Turn of their own.
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 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.
Season two of the Latin American version also featured a task called an Intersection, but the rules were extremely different from the U.S. and Australian Intersections. When two teams reached the Intersection, they competed against each other in a task. The winning team was given their next clue, while the losing team had to wait for the next team's arrival to start the task over; the last team to lose had to wait 15 minutes before receiving their clue. This element also appeared in season two of the Israeli version, but it was called a Double Battle instead. This style of Intersection also appeared on the second season of the Norwegian version except that instead of waiting 15 minutes for their next clue, they simply had to redo the task in order to get their next clue.
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 subsequent seasons), 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. 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 the 15th season, 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).
The Express Pass, introduced in season 17, is given as a prize on an early leg of the race (usually the first leg, though it was awarded on the second leg of season 21 - and on some international versions the pass is given out as late as leg 3). It 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 the end of Leg 8. The Express pass has since appeared in the Latin American edition as the Pase Directo (following the change production companies in season three) and in the Norwegian version as the Fripass. For season 22, the leg 1 prize was two Express Passes; however, the team that won them could only use one of them and had to relinquish the second Express Pass to another team before the end of the fourth leg, and for season 23 they need to relinquish the second Express Pass to another team before the end of the fifth leg.
Including all international editions, the Express Pass has been awarded to twelve teams. Eight of those teams have made it to the final leg of the race, and three of those teams have gone on to win the grand prize. Two teams have been eliminated before ever using it.
The Salvage Pass, introduced in season two of the 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 The Amazing Race Philippines; 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 season of the Israeli version.
The Hazard, introduced 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.
Several sources have reported that the Hazard will affect the team throughout the Race; this contrasts with an interview U.S. host Phil Keoghan had to promote the new season, where it only affected the team on the first leg. This built off of season 18's starting task, where the penalty was an automatic U-Turn at only the first Detour.
Season 21 introduced 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 absent from subsequent seasons.
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. Each Pit Stop is a mandatory rest period which allows teams to "eat, sleep, and mingle" with each other. The production staff provides lodging (from simple accommodations as tents or cots to complete hotel service) and food free of charge to the teams at the Pit Stops. During the Pit Stop, teams are also interviewed to provide commentary and voiceovers for the completed leg. While teams are restricted to where they can go, teams are free to use the remaining time for any purpose as they see fit. In recent seasons of the U.S. version of the Race, teams have reported that they have been sequestered from other teams during Pit Stops. During Pit Stops, racers are sometimes required to relinquish Race-provided material from the previous legs, including clues, maps, and additional instructions. Teams are responsible for being ready to leave when their Pit Stop time is over, and no time credit is given should a team miss their time to leave.
Pit Stops, mostly in earlier seasons, are normally twelve hours long, such that if a team arrived at 9:00 a.m., they will depart on the next leg at 9:00 p.m. When the show encounters production issues or if planned ahead of time, the Pit Stop is often extended by multiples of 24 hours, such that teams will still leave what appears to be 12 hours later to the television viewer. However, viewers have been able to use dates and times displayed during the show and post-Race interviews to determine where these extended Pit Stops occur and their approximate length. Beginning with season eight, the Pit Stops have included ones of various lengths between 12 and 24 hours as to prevent teams from loitering at airports or finding flights that may get them too much of a lead on other teams. One major clue when this occurs is when Phil does not indicate an arrival time for team departing first.
The longest known Pit Stop occurred during the first U.S. season when production was forced to relocate the Pit Stop in Tunisia due to a sandstorm. This was the first instance of a "mobile Pit Stop", which also appeared in seasons 3, 15, 16, and 18 three times in the second season of the Australian version and one time in the second season of the Norwegian version. During a "mobile Pit Stop" teams have been transported to another location during the Pit Stop, without any knowledge of their final destination.
Some Races have included a double-length leg, also called "to be continued" Legs, shown over two episodes or a single two-hour long episode, 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. Leg six 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 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.
More double-length legs were shown from seasons seven to ten, fourteen and season one of the Australian version. It has also been featured in two legs of season 18, one leg of seasons 19, 22, and 23, one leg of season two of the Australian version and one leg in The Amazing Race Canada. In addition, the season finale of the Family Edition contained a double-length leg similar to season six. This was repeated in all seasons of the Latin American edition; however, the final leg was broadcast as two different episodes. In the inaugural season of The Amazing Race Philippines, this double-length leg is called a "Super Leg"; however, in the season's final leg count the Super Leg is counted as two separate legs.
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:
In U.S. seasons five through nine, the last team to check in was stripped of all their money and was not given any money at the start of the next leg, forcing that team to literally beg for money from the local population of the city they were in for such expenses as cab, bus, or train fare. In addition, from seasons seven through nine, these teams would also be forced to give up all their bags and possessions therein, leaving them with only the clothes on their backs and the fanny pack teams use to carry their passports and Race documentation; this last penalty caused many teams, thinking themselves to be in last place, to wear as much clothing as possible before checking in.
In seasons 10 and 11 and most international versions, teams that came in last on non-elimination legs were "marked for elimination"; if they did not come in first on the subsequent leg, they would receive a 30-minute penalty upon check-in at the mat, offering trailing teams the opportunity to check in during the penalty period; were all trailing teams to check in during this time, the penalized team would fall to last place and be subject to elimination or another penalty at the end of the next leg.
From season 12 onward, the penalty for finishing last in a non-elimination leg is that the affected team will have to perform a "Speed Bump" task at some point during the next leg. Teams would be alerted to the upcoming Speed Bump by a Route Marker clue prior to it, while the Speed Bump itself is displayed in a manner similar to the Yield showing the affected team's picture at a stand near to the regular Route Marker. Once the team completes the Speed Bump task, they may receive the next clue that they would have gotten at the Route Marker, or they may have to backtrack to the location of the cluebox to get their next clue, depending on the task. If the team does not complete the Speed Bump, they will receive a four-hour penalty at the Pit Stop. The tasks that teams have been called on to perform are generally not very difficult or time-consuming, and the majority of teams that have been hit by the Speed Bump have recovered from it quickly enough to avoid immediate elimination.
In the Norwegian edition, the "Handicap" (Handikap in Norwegian) was introduced. Rather than instituting a different task for a team to perform, a specific task is made more difficult for the team with the penalty, such as increasing the output requirements for a task (e.g., teams only have to make 50 items at the task, but the team with the Handicap has to make 75) or a penalty may be given, such as requiring both Detours to be done.
In the Vietnamese edition, the team that comes in last on non-elimination legs must come first in the next leg or be stripped of all their money, and they are not given any money at the start of the following leg.
In the Ukrainian version, the team that comes in last on non-elimination legs will receive a 1-hour penalty at the next pit stop, regardless of their position.
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. On some versions of the race, such as the Australian version, the final leg may still feature an intermediate destination.
Teams still must complete all of the tasks in the final city before they are directed to the finish line mat to claim the cash reward for the winning team as well as various prizes. The mat has a world map in earlier seasons of the U.S. version, but changed to the series logo in later seasons. The grand prize for the U.S. version at the finish line is US$1 million.[Note 6] At the check-in mat, the host and in most cases the other eliminated teams celebrate the arrival of the teams. Generally all three teams are allowed to arrive. In rare cases, a trailing team may be so far behind and outside the final city that they are given a clue at their next Route Marker that informs them of the Race results. To date, this has only happened twice in the U.S. version, occurring in seasons one and four.
More recent seasons of the U.S. version and most foreign versions feature a challenge which tests the contestants on their time spent during the race, such as the locations they visited and/or how well they know their partner. Such task usually appears as the second to last or last challenge. Such a challenge is usually a "Route Info" task, but it sometimes appears as a "Roadblock" task.
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, then the remainder of the penalty time will be waited out at the start of the next leg of the race, beginning at the departure time of the next-to-last team.
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 infraction is 30 minutes, plus any time gained from breaking the rule. 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), and 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.
Roadblock penalties. If a player is unable to complete the Roadblock, the team is assessed a four-hour penalty. The penalty can be enforced in a number of ways.
Season Two of the Israeli version has only a one-hour penalty for not finishing a Roadblock task. One Roadblock in U.S. Season 20 only had a limited number of props for teams to use in attempting the task; if they ran out, they only had to serve a two-hour penalty before checking in at the Pit Stop.
A penalized team does not generally have to wait out its full penalty time at the Pit Stop if the team in last place and all other teams have already checked in. Instead, the team will be immediately eliminated, or, if the leg is non-elimination, the remainder of the penalty will be applied to the team's start time on the next leg. 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 host Phil Keoghan explained to the teammates what had happened and then officially eliminated them.
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 result from "production difficulties." These are only revealed to the viewer if they affect the placement at the start of the next leg.
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. A small 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 U.S. 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 The Amazing Race Asia, a few more Asia-Pacific versions of the race have aired in different countries.
On April 8, 2008, the Israeli television network Reshet had announced their plans to produce their version of the race, HaMerotz LaMillion. Its first season premiered on February 5, 2009, on Channel 2. The show is produced by Reshet and activeTV, an Australian production company that had also produced the Asian version of the race. The third series premiered on May 11, 2013.
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 showed 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 will 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 is produced by activeTV in assosiation with ABC Studios and is distributed by Disney Media Distribution Asia Pacific. The host for the show is New Zealand-born actor Grant Bowler. Two series were produced in 2011 and 2012 and after a brief hiatus in 2013, another season will be produced in-house and without activeTV in 2014. This season will also include teams from New Zealand.
On March 26, 2011, it was announced that TV5 had acquired the rights to produce a Philippine version of the 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 is set to return for a second season in 2014 as The Amazing Race Philippines: Biyaheng Asya (English: The Amazing Race Philippines: Journey to Asia).
Vietnam bought the format as The Amazing Race Vietnam – Cuộc đua kỳ 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 second season is currently being broadcast with Huy Khánh replacing Dustin Nguyen as the host. The second season also featured international travel.
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 is 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 be producing 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 and was hosted by Olympic gold medalist Jon Montgomery.
Currently broadcasting Still in production No longer in production Unknown or has recently finished
|Past & Current||Upcoming|
|United States||The Amazing Race||CBS||2001–||Phil Keoghan||24||1||US$1,000,000[Note 8]|
|Asia||The Amazing Race Asia||AXN Asia||2006–2008, 2010||Allan Wu||4||N/A||US$100,000|
New Zealand (2014)
|The Amazing Race Australia|
Australia vs New Zealand (season 3)
TVNZ (TV2) (season 3)
|2011– 2012, 2014||Grant Bowler||2||1||A$250,000|
|Brazil||The Amazing Race: A Corrida Milionária||RedeTV!||2007–2008||Rony Curvelo||1||N/A||R$500,000|
|Canada||The Amazing Race Canada||CTV||2013–||Jon Montgomery||1||1||CA$250,000,|
2 Corvette Stingrays,
unlimited air travel for a year with Air Canada
|China||The Amazing Race: China Rush|
|2010–2012||Allan Wu||3||N/A||Trip around the World|
|The Amazing Race||Shenzhen TV||2014||TBA||1||N/A||TBA|
|France||Amazing Race||D8||2012||Alexandre Delpérier||1||N/A||€50,000|
Hebrew: המירוץ למיליון
The Race to the Million
|Channel 2 (Reshet)||2009–||Raz Meirman|
|Latin America||The Amazing Race|
en Discovery Channel (season 1–2)
Edição Brasil (season 4)
|Norway||The Amazing Race Norge||TV 2||2012–2013||Freddy dos Santos||2||N/A||NOK 500,000,|
2 cars (season 1: Subaru XV,
season 2: Subaru Forester)
|Philippines||The Amazing Race Philippines||TV5||2012, 2014||Derek Ramsay||1||1||₱2,000,000|
Ukrainian: Великі перегони
|Vietnam||The Amazing Race Vietnam|
Vietnamese: Cuộc đua kỳ thú
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 get to 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. 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. The tasks are represented by a large collection of minigames.
Some of the clues had changes to their rules. The Detour and Roadblock retain their rules, although there is no limit on individual Roadblocks. Fast Forwards appear in the race, but they are not optional. Instead, the team that completes it fastest gets a two-hour time credit. Also featured alongside the Detour and Roadblock is the Intersection. However, the Intersection's rules are drastically different. It is 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. They are mostly extremely dramatic moments (such as when 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. Clips from seasons 1 to 15 are included.
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