“Would we have done things differently? Absolutely”

Even the Goggleboxers are hating on intruders in The Amazing Race Australia, questioning the fairness of dropping in contestants halfway through the race.

It’s a complaint that’s been levelled by fans on social media but while 10 has noticed the feedback it also points to the difficulties of producing a show under severe restrictions last year.

The race had to be adjusted by producers Eureka to meet the stripped show requirements.

“We did make it during COVID. The producers have done a phenomenal job and it’s holding up very well against very strong competition,” says Beverley McGarvey, Chief Content Officer & EVP, ViacomCBS Australia & New Zealand.

“In an ideal world, would we have done things a little bit differently? Absolutely.

“The way the race works today, there’s only a certain amount of contestants you can start with, so you can actually engage with them. You can’t have eliminations in every episode or you’d have to start with, you know, 50 people. It’s just the nature of the format. In the same way Survivor episodes have twists and turns, as opposed to direct elimination.”

Challenged by border limits and quarantine rules, the series filmed across Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and the ACT.

Despite the limitations the series has won praise for casting diversely and showcasing the country.

“It was a very challenging series to make but it’s been phenomenal to be able to show Australia off. I think probably the audience are used to seeing something that they perceive to be a bit more exotic and chaotic,” she continued.

“We are thrilled with this season’s performance. We’re really glad that we got to make an Australian series, because the situation forced us to do it. We might not have otherwise considered it.

“But I think in the future, we’d like to get it out of Australia.”

22 Comments:

  1. I’m really enjoying this season of The Amazing Race and I’m glad they managed to get the show filmed during Covid and I hope next season is in Australia too.

  2. Ultimately the problem is it feels like the producers don’t trust (or even understand) the format. So we’re getting twists that don’t suit the race dynamic, challenges that are almost universally either bad or boring or stolen from other shows (the Survivor endurance challenge most notably, but we’ve also had challenges liberally borrowed from The Biggest Loser and Big Brother: Friday Night Live, and at least four locations in the Tasmania legs alone that were used in the first season of The Mole), a limit on the actual racing, and a de-emphasis on the teams so they can turn it into The Beau Ryan Variety Hour. Undoubtedly some of this is Covid-related, but it was like this last season too. How are we supposed to care about a show when it’s clear producers don’t?

    • The reason I disagree is producers are commissioned to deliver X amount of episodes, which as we can see has been extended due to COVID (because 10 would have had to build another show, far more expensive). Let’s not forget Eureka make Holey Moley 1 hr a week in USA but were expected to strip it to Australia. I think it comes back to commissioning.

      • The producers basically trying to do every major reality show *except* the one whose brand they’re using for promo purposes isn’t the fault of being asked to make more episodes though. There’s evidence in other countries for how to successfully pull off local filming, stripped broadcasts, and big casts, yet it’s like the show is being made by people who view the race itself as an impediment. More episodes because of Covid is fair, as is a slight decline in quality as a result, but we’re seventeen episodes in and there’s been enough decent content for maybe three episodes, at a stretch, and almost all of that’s because of two teams who are now eliminated. Scapegoating the pandemic doesn’t change that the season’s been terrible and hasn’t resonated with viewers.

        • Frankly even getting a travel show in the can at a time when some parts of Australia wouldn’t let you travel more than 5km from home is an achievement in itself. You mention stripped shows in other countries… I’d suggest all of which were shutdown at the same time. Most of the criticisms were not levelled during the previous season. So of course the pandemic has impacted on quality. 10 has acknowledged they would do things differently if they had their time over.

  3. I stopped watching it after the Intruders arrived. Completely ruined the dynamic of the show. Covid or not, this is the Amazing Race, not Survivor.

  4. There definitely needs to be some tweaks made for the next series. The first class/sabotage/salvage didn’t work. As previously said it takes away the suspense regarding it being a non elimination leg. It also gives one of the bottom 2 teams with the salvage an unfair advantage on the next leg over teams who finished above them.
    The penalties were also too inconsistent and short. Some challenges only incurred a 30 minute penalty. Teams would have been better off giving up on a difficult challenge and taking the penalty.The penalty should have been a minimum of 2 hours across the board. Also, it appeared teams basically started each leg at the same time in the order they finished rather than starting at different times. This meant the teams at the front lost their advantage at the beginning of the next leg. This was further evidenced last episode when the cowboys and the other team were…

    • I suspect the timing issues, which I agree with you diminish the race significantly, were probably the biggest required changes due to covid. They needed to keep the teams relatively close together, for the sake of the challenge venues, which is why some challenges “closed” after a certain time limit. And why the teams seem to start almost together. There is a big lack of transparency around timing, and I think that is because they are trying to minimise that for the viewers.

      Also, they wouldn’t have been allowed to travel separately or make their own arrangements. That part would have been very, very carefully choreographed, to keep the show hub intact, and protect other travellers from the teams moving in and out of states.

      That said, I can’t see any genuine covid reasons for the other changes eg sabotage/salvage, extra teams inserted, a “survivor” type challenge that…

  5. I can understand why Ten had to strip this show due to covid and the unavailability of Survivor but TARA is not a show that should be stripped in future seasons.

    The inclusion of so many “non elimination legs” just to milk more episodes has diluted this season for me. I don’t mind the odd one or two if it’s layed out beforehand but it’s been ridiculous this season.

    Plus there wasn’t enough “route info clues” that gave the contestants a chance to build a lead or get lost travelling to seperate locations. Too many challenges makes it feel like it isn’t racing. Scrap the first class pass crap. Fans wanna follow their teams every episode.

    12 teams next time, 10 well produced 90min episodes please.

        • Last season was 12 episodes. This one is 17 episodes so far with 6 teams left still. So they have really drawn it all out with the addition of so many non-elimination legs plus the stowaway teams. It has drawn a lot of the tension/jeopardy out of it.

          Plus not to mention Channel 10 advertising the next night’s episode in the last commercial break of the episode showing a team who is in a race to avoid ‘elimination’ in the next segment

    • I don’t mind the non-elims, but the three things I haven’t liked :
      1. First Class Pass/Salvage/Sabotage – get rid of it. As soon as the audience sees that, we know it’s a non-elim, as does the last placed team when they are arriving at the mat. No suspense at all.
      2. Stowaways : Why didn’t these teams just start with the others?
      3. Random penalties. Make the penalties across the board eg, if you flake on a challenge, it’s a 1 hour penalty.

  6. I’m actually enjoying this Australian-only season. I predict Season 6 will be aimed again in Australia (maybe focusing on WA and Victoria?), but then hopefully COVID has cleared up, allowing Season 7 to film internationally!

  7. Here’s an idea, don’t strip a show that wasn’t designed for it. It’s had over 30 seasons in the US, and it still works because they only make the slightest changes to the game. And they learned what the viewers hated – viewers didn’t want more of the so-very-minor celebrity season again (YouTubers it Instagrammers) or themed/stunt casting (meet on leg one, couples only etc).

    • harrypotter1994

      Exactly but apparently Australian FTA TV can only afford stripped reality shows in 2021. Too bad CBS own 10 because an Amazing Race Australia series on Netflix or one of the other streaming services could’ve been fun.

  8. The only thing I really dislike with this season of the show is the way Beau hugs the contestants at the end of every leg. What happened to those covid restrictions? Other than that I have loved seeing Australia on grand display and most of the contestants just getting in there and getting it done without complaint.

    • I think the “restrictions” may have eased somewhat during filming as they shake hands and hug the clue givers most of the time as well. And I would imagine they chose places to visit where COVID had been non existent or at a minimum.

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