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FREQUENT FLIERS' RERUN
'AMAZING RACE' BRINGS BACK ALL-STARS
By DEBORAH STARR SEIBEL
February 11, 2007 -- When host Phil Keoghan first heard the concept for the upcoming installment of "The Amazing Race," he thought it was a terrible idea. "The Amazing Race: All-Stars"? No way. That kind of "Where Are They Now?" grab bag of old contestants was for shows like "Survivor," where deprivation on a deserted island doesn't get any easier with experience. But with "Race," reasoned Keoghan, "the appeal of the show is that we've always had fresh faces, people who have never traveled the world going out and experiencing things for the first time. I thought if the same teams came back, they'd be a bit jaded and more blasť about the whole thing."
But what Keoghan hadn't counted on, he says, was how entertaining it would be to watch these 11 teams try to travel smarter. The contestants aren't all winners from the show previous 10 installments. In fact, only one team, Uchenna and Joyce, actually grabbed the million bucks, in season seven. But they're some of the intrepid globe-trotters viewers loved and hated the most: David and Mary, the Kentucky coalminers (season 10). Rob and Amber, the inescapable reality show lovebirds (season seven). Charla (the little person) and Mirna, the cousins who wouldn't let size dictate their ability to hang tough (season five).
The question quickly became: Could these teams improve on their past performance and out-strategize teams they had watched from home? Or was everybody destined to make the same mistakes all over again?
"It's not like people have gone through a whole personality change," says Keoghan. But there are differences. In Keoghan's mind, lifelong friends Kevin O'Connor (40, an accountant from Bayonne, N.J.) and Drew Feinberg (41, a court officer from Staten Island), are the most changed. They were part of the very first Race in 2001.
"Time has passed," says Keoghan. "They're married. And they're older. So it's more difficult for them to get around, physically."
But it isn't a cakewalk for anybody. It's still 28 days, five continents and more than 45,000 miles. And the strategizing can only get you so far. "In the end," says Keoghan, "the race can still knock you out."
( NY Post