Viewers can expect some major changes in the 12th season of The Amazing Race. According to executive producer Jonathan Littman, the new edition will run two episodes shorter and will no longer have non-elimination Pit Stops. Such changes have been applied in order to “create more excitement.”
Non-elimination pit-stops have been an essential part of the reality series since its debut in Fall 2001. During the show's first two seasons, the statement, “The last team to arrive will be eliminated,” was placed at the end of the clues that teams received before each Pit Stop. However, during non-elimination legs, the statement was taken out of the clues, making it easier for the remaining teams to figure out when they were coming up.
In seasons 3 and 4, the non-elimination process became a bit more complicated. Pre-Pit Stop clues from the first half of the race contained the statement with the “will be” phrasing. However, for the second half, the statement became, “The last team to arrive may be eliminated,” creating a sense of uncertainty as to whether or not the next Pit Stop would be a non-elimination one.
Every leg, with the exception of the first, on the series' fifth edition had Pre-Pit Stop clues using the phrase “The last team to arrive may be eliminated.” This kind of format has since been used up through the eleventh and latest season, The Amazing Race: All Stars.
It was also during the fifth edition of the reality competition that teams who arrived last at non-elimination Pit-Stops were penalized. The last team to reach the non-elimination Pit Stop was told to give up all their remaining money and begin the next leg without any new funds.
For The Amazing Race 7, the penalty was made more severe. Aside from having to surrender all their money, teams that arrived last at the non-elimination legs were required to give up all their possessions as well, with the exception of the clothes on their back and their passports. This kind of penalty system was enforced through the series' ninth season.
For the 10th season, the penalty system was revised again, this time with the last teams getting “marked for elimination.” Instead of surrendering their clothes and money, they had to arrive first at the next Pit Stop. If they failed to do so, they would receive a 30-minute penalty, giving other teams the chance to check in before them and possibly face elimination. This carried on to the following All-Star season.
The 12th season of The Amazing Race will air midseason, and thus, will not be part of the network's initial fall television schedule. However, Littman expressed much optimism about the upcoming edition, despite not clarifying the reason behind the delayed premiere.
"The countries are very exotic," Littman said. "We're going to a couple of places that I don't even know where they are on the map. I've had to go look them up... This is a tough group [of teams]. They'll be younger. We still have a good balance."