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Thread: How To Save ‘The Amazing Race’ From Elimination

  1. #1
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    How To Save ‘The Amazing Race’ From Elimination

    With another season of The Amazing Race winding down, I've been pondering the ratings for this outing, and scratching my head at why more viewers don't tune in on a weekly basis. This is, in my opinion, the best reality show of the bunch. It has everything - heart-pounding action, strategy, endurance, teamwork, sabotage, and great location shots. So why then does it only average a nine share in the ratings week after week, consistently getting a beatdown from The West Wing and whatever drivel ABC and Fox throw against it? CBS, listen up, because here is the result of all that pondering:

    * Fewer teams -- For the first four episodes, The Amazing Race is all but unwatchable. Sure, there's lots of action and plenty of great location shots. But, you can't form any kind of bond for a team, because the sum total of airtime is less than 5 minutes per team. Start with a maximum of 8 teams, utilizing more non-elimination legs to keep the 13-episode commitment if necessary (see below).

    * Less action, more team focus -- The only time we get to see the actual teams is when they're competing, about to compete, or doing something clueless for a cheap laugh. We'd really like to be invested in the teams and their performance. Seeing the teams and how they handle the pressures of the race is more interesting to most viewers than watching them actually adding up the numbers on a clock face, or count trees for the umpteenth time.

    * More non-elimination legs -- By now, we know there aren't going to be any non-elimination legs until the 7th or 8th episode, and we can pretty much guess how they're going to be. Nothing ruins the excitement more than watching a furious footrace to the finish amongst two of your favorite teams, and realizing that it won't mean one gets eliminated. Mix it up - have an elimination leg in the second episode, and one again in the third if you want. But don't let us in on it.

    * Apply the rules consistently -- Over the past three seasons, we've gotten to know the rules fairly well, even though they're a closely guarded secret to non-competitors. The problem is, we all see rule violations on a regular basis, and nothing gets done about it. And while you're at it, make littering with your clue envelopes grounds for immediate elimination from the race, won't you?

    * Forget about phone calls from home -- These are cheap Survivor gimmicks, and totally unnecessary to the race. What's great about TAR is that it's completely unlike any other reality show out there. It's all about the race - let's keep our eye on the ball.

    * Don't end it with a footrace -- We all know, when it gets down to two teams in the finale, the more in-shape team is going to win, because it always ends with a sprint to the finish line that most long-distance runners would hesitate at. I know it's great footage, watching people run and run and run, and then just a little more running. But it's so predictable.

    * Involve Phil more -- For all I know, Phil Koeghan is cryogenically frozen, having taped all of his standard lines during the first season. How many times do I need to hear "a roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform" in one season? Let Phil off his leash, and prove to us he's alive. He could be the star of the show, if you dare to let him.


    I think by applying some or all of these alterations, you'd have viewers with a more vested interest in their teams, and thus the show. Of course, you also have the problem of having had two seasons in a row with a team that had absolutely no redeeming qualities that made it far into the game, which also makes for bad viewing. But, if you can complete those challenges, you won't be eliminated when you reach this pit stop. And who knows, you might just win a Kodak EasyShare camera!

    To reach the author of this article, please e-mail John at admin@fansofrealitytv.com

  2. #2
    COMBAT MISSIONS junkie! BravoFan's Avatar
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    These are all great things John.

    In addition, ALL AR lovers should go to the CBS web site, scroll to the very bottom (lower left corner) and click on "FEEDBACK", and send comments to CBS about how much you love this show.

    They need to hear from the fans!
    "They can only edit what you give them. They cannot manufacture a fictional character out of thin air." (Bill Rancic - 4/04)
    Regarding editing reality TV: "You can't edit IN a bad personality." ("Cali"-11/02)
    BB8 - A "conveyor belt of human garbage." ("Pono" - 9/07)

  3. #3
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    Great article John.
    I fully agree with all the points listed above.

    I am really enjoying this season of TAR.
    I loved the original show too, but could not get into the second series at all after finding the first couple of episodes simply too manic.

    The footrace ending is my biggest bugbear.
    I didn't like Wil and Tara, but it was heartbreaking to see the Boston boys over take her and go on to victory.
    Without wishing to whine like Flo, a footrace ending simply isn't fair and I don't think it's a fitting way to end a great show.

    I love Phil and any moves that give him more screen time are ok by me.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  4. #4
    metwin1
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    Great article.

    The race gets nicer as more teams get eliminated. The first few episodes are really unwatchable.

  5. #5
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    The phone calls from home is a sweet addition, but as you say John, hardly necessary. They have probably only been away from home for about three weeks at this point. The phone call seems a bit gimmicky.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  6. #6
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    You know, I can see why it's necessary on Survivor. They're sequestered away from human beings, and without knowing any of the other 7 people.

    On TAR, they at least have someone they know with them, and they're surrounded by people everywhere they go. There's a ton of interaction, including the Pit Stops. There's really no time to miss your friends and family on a show like this, unlike Survivor where you spend the majority of your time sitting in the sand on the beach with no one to talk to.

  7. #7
    Princess
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    Great points, John! I really hope CBS reads this. I really don't start to watch the show unytil there are about 8 teams left, so that sounds like a good number. Agree completely about the footrace in the end - please drop that one!

  8. #8
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    To be honest with you, I think they could drop the family element from Survivor too.
    It's not as though they're even gone that long and you know Burnett only includes it for tears and possible fall-out, not because he thinks the Survivors need to see their families for comfort.
    "That's Numberwang!"

  9. #9
    Soccer Kicks Balls cali's Avatar
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    The littering... you know that one bugs the heck out of me!
    I'm not sure about my feelings for non elim rounds. I guess if you started with fewer teams it would be OK, plus they should stop putting, "Last team to arrive will be eliminated" on the final clue. They should never know whether or not it is an elim round.
    I don't get the phone call from/to home. Seems pointless to me to. I think I will wait until we see how it plays out Wednesday though.
    I also think they should air this show at 8pm instead of 9.
    More Phil is cool with me
    Great article John!
    "Rice is great when you're hungry and want 2,000 of something' -- Mitch Hedberg

  10. #10
    Yoffy lifts a finger... fluff's Avatar
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    The littering is annoying, perhaps they should provide a bin for the contestants to put the strip of paper from the clue in.
    I don't really think it's grounds for elimination though.
    "That's Numberwang!"

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