From TVGuide Online :
Amazing Race 4
(8 pm/ET, CBS)
As the fourth edition of the 45,000-mile race around the world concludes in the western U.S. tonight, the question foremost in the minds of many Amazing Race fans isn't which team will win the $1 million first-place prize; rather, it's will there be an Amazing Race 5?
"I don't know," says host Phil Keoghan. "It's probably going to be left right up to the last minute before they make a decision. I think they'd be crazy not to pick us up." The reason for CBS's hesitancy to renew the Emmy-nominated reality series is its lackluster weekly rating. Although the show attracts over 8 million viewers per episode, it consistently falls short of its competition on Thursday nights, which is a repeat of Friends. While the series has never drawn blockbuster numbers, it does have a loyal fan base.
"The one question I get more than any other is how come this show doesn't have higher ratings?" says Keoghan. "I think it has to do with the fact that the show requires some investment. It's a show that you sit down in front of and become completely immersed in the action and in the characters. And you get taken on a whirlwind trip in some remote part of the world. It does require a commitment to follow the story."
But that commitment is richly rewarded. As Keoghan says, "The show does offer something that inherently is so much richer than so many of these other [reality] shows that are vacuous in nature." What other series takes you to Italy, Austria, France, the Netherlands, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Australia all in one season? Or features bungee jumping, face-first rappelling, swimming under a frozen lake, and spinning around on a windmill while being tied to it? Not to mention breakneck dashes by teams to avoid being eliminated each week.
And that brings me to the other question on every AR4 fan's mind: Who will win the final leg of the race and capture the prize money? Will David and Jeff hang on to their slim lead or will their archrivals Reichen and Chip overtake them? Or will engaged couple Kelly and Jon improve their communication skills enough to pull themselves out of last place and stage a dramatic comeback like Flo and Zach did last season?
After screening a tape of the finale, which did not reveal the winner, I can attest that tonight's ending is suspenseful. The challenges include skydiving in Australia and swimming in Hawaii. And it appears the dash to the finish will be extremely close.
"We've always had very exciting endings," Keoghan says. "I can assure you that we get the same thing again here, with the teams head-to-head to the finish line. There are twists and turns and quite dramatic changes right up to the last minute."
Unfortunately, it will probably also be right up to the last minute before CBS decides whether to renew TV's best reality series. So, catch it while you can. — Tim Holland