Author Topic: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS  (Read 20574 times)

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Online couchracer

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2013, 12:35:16 AM »
Thanks sooo much for the interview info. I loved seeing it.
 I love how Elise came up with the idea, and Bertram connections could make it work.
And Yay to CBS for seeing the potential.

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #51 on: June 20, 2013, 04:48:20 PM »
Emmys: How 'The Amazing Race' Fights the 'Been There, Done That' Syndrome
After 22 seasons, 850,000 miles and close to 100 countries -- and after winning nine of the 10 Emmys for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program -- what hasn't it done?

Published: June 20, 2013 @ 1:10 pm
This story appears in TheWrap's EmmyWrap Reality Issue.

It has happened before, and it will surely happen again. The brain trust of “The Amazing Race” will be sitting around a conference table in the show’s headquarters, located conveniently close to Los Angeles International Airport, when one of the newer staffers will come up with an idea.

“We have people who’ve been here since the beginning, and then we’ll have new people come onto the staff,” said Elise Doganieri, co-creator and co-executive producer of the CBS show with her husband, Bertram van Munster.

“The new ones might not have seen or remember every episode, and they’ll say, ‘Oh I have a great idea for a challenge!’

“And we have to say, ‘Nope. We’ve done that.’”

Of course “The Amazing Race” has done that, and been there. After 22 seasons of racing around the world, after 850,000 miles and close to 100 countries and who knows how many bungee jumps and tricky clues and eating challenges and roadblocks and detours and U-turns and fast forwards, and after winning nine of the 10 Emmys that have been given out for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, what haven’t they done?

And as the era of reality television moves through its second decade, “TAR” is hardly the only show to have that problem.

“Survivor” host Jeff Probst can get through most shows uttering phrases he's already used dozens of times; “Dancing With the Stars” pros like Karina Smirnoff and Derek Hough are probably sick to death of easing a new clumsy celeb through the Paso Doble.

There’s a reason the singing shows are playing musical chairs with their judges -- because when you’re going into double-digit seasons on a show whose format is more or less set in stone, what once seemed novel can start to feel downright pedestrian.

“Keeping it fresh after 22 seasons is a real challenge,” Doganieri told TheWrap, as she and van Munster sat in their production offices surrounded by props and souvenirs from a decade’s worth of global excursions. “There are only so many things you can do, but we have to keep trying to find ways to do it differently.”

“To keep it fresh comes in many different forms,” added van Munster. “It comes in little tweaks, little mechanical tweaks. But it is also the fascination with what are you doing, what are the challenges.”

It’s a tricky balance reality producers must strike -- trying to figure out how much you can change the format that drew viewers to the show in the first place, or how long you can keep it the same before it reaches its sell-by date. While van Munster insisted, “The format doesn’t need to be changed -- it’s been good since the beginning,” Doganieri took a more nuanced view.

“We like to keep the format of the show true to what it has been since Season 1,” she said.

“There’s always a roadblock, detour, pit stop, fast forward, route marker. But sometimes it’s nice to spice things up a little bit and throw the contestants off, so they’re not going into Season 23 thinking, ‘I know what to expect.’ You try to keep the show fresh without changing the format.”

On a travel show like “The Amazing Race,” another problem is that if you go to Paris, you’d better show the Eiffel Tower; if the teams are racing through Sydney, viewers probably want to see the Opera House in there somewhere. “You have to hit the iconic buildings and places and statues,” Doganieri said, “but maybe we’ll be in a scout car and see something you’re going to find in the Let’s Go: Europe book. This is stuff that’s way off the beaten path, the stuff that makes it fun.”

One example from van Munster: “We were scouting in Azerbaijan, driving down some back alley because the driver couldn’t find his way at a market. And what do I see? I see a Russian car filled with apples. The trunk is filled with apples, and the entire back seat and the front, except for the driver’s seat. Filled with 1,700 kilos of green apples. I said, ‘Back up the car -- what is this all about?’ It turns out they have a group of apple salesmen that drive to the market once a week, that come 100 miles from the interior. So we did a challenge with that.”

Even as they prep the show’s 22nd and 23rd seasons, van Munster said he still scouts every location. He and Doganieri are a hands-on producing team on a logistically complex show.

Their LAX-adjacent offices have rooms for planning, rooms for editing, rooms for meetings -- but also an on-site travel coordinator, a person who just handles visas for the contestants and the 70 crew members who hit the road with them, and others to deal with security (which countries should we avoid this month?) and the legal fine print that must be met by a game show that gives away a $1 million prize.

And they do it on a budget that van Munster said was cut significantly by CBS a few years ago. (That means if the race goes through Europe, which is expensive, they have to find cheaper places to save money elsewhere on the route.)

“It’s like planning a military operation,” Doganieri said. “The producers go a week or so in advance to the country the contestants are going to, and they have their checklists: make sure the clue boxes are in the right locations, the safety checks are done, the security team knows what’s happening and where we’re going.”

If the contestants have to make a long drive in a place like India, van Munster added, the production will station ambulances at intervals on the road, just in case of emergency.

“We contact hospitals in the cities and countries where we’re operating,” he said. “We know the names of the doctors and the surgeons. We know the helicopter operators, the numbers of the helicopters we’re using. We know the records of the pilots we’re using.” They also know that if they’re going back to somewhere they’ve been before, they need to find a twist -- though to hear Doganieri tell it, she’d just as soon map out a course full of uncharted territory.

“We have a nice little ceremonial thing that starts off each season,” she said. “Bertram and I sit in what we call our War Room, which is the room where we put up all the creative on the walls. We have a giant map of the world there, and we sit in front of it and talk about where we want to go and where we don’t want to go.”

She laughs. “I always want to go to the most random, bizarre places, and Bertram is always, ‘How are we going to get into and out of there?’ I would love to go to Easter Island. I don’t know what we would do there, but I would love to go.”

“You can fly to Easter Island,” said van Munster calmly. “I just looked into it, as a matter of fact. The problem is you fly there, and then you walk around for a few hours, and then you have to get on the same plane back. And it’s a long flight.”

“But places like that fascinate me,” Doganieri said. “We would love to go to Antarctica. We still haven’t gone to Israel. The list has 50 to 100 more countries where we want to go. We need more seasons. If we keep getting picked up, we will get to all those places.”
"Our fans are pretty good. They don't give away too much. Sometimes people love dropping spoilers, but our fans are good. They tend to do it in such a way that doesn't ruin it for fans who don't want to know."--Phil Keoghan

Offline Alenaveda

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #52 on: July 01, 2013, 04:52:26 PM »

Frequent Flier
The Drama of Travel, Made Into Television
Published: July 1, 2013

Q. How often do you fly for business?
A. I used to fly all the time, probably about six months out of the year. Now, it’s about twice a month. When we’re filming I can fly every other day and go to nine or 10 countries in three weeks.

Q. What’s your least favorite airport?
A. Heathrow. If you’re switching planes, it can take forever to get to your gate.

Q. Of all the places you’ve been, what’s the best?
A. I love Asia, especially Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. Asia is just very culturally rich, and anyplace I go on the continent is fascinating.

Q. What’s your secret airport vice?
A. I catch up on movies. I think my record is four movies during one flight.

MY very first international trip was on TWA back in 1990. I went to Madrid and went backpacking with my college roommate for about five weeks. I went with $1,000, and we lived on wine, cheese, bread and chocolate. That trip changed my life.

I met my husband, Bertram van Munster, about five years later, and we both loved travel. I remember talking about how travel always has a lot of drama and how you can build relationships. I still keep in touch with people I met on my first trip abroad. So long story short, “The Amazing Race” was born somewhat from our own real love of going places.

I do talk to seatmates on occasion during my trips for the show, but I don’t really tell them exactly what I do. All I will say is that I work in television and I’m traveling for business. Even that takes a while for me to admit. First, I’m very private and where we travel for the show is a secret until it airs. Even my parents have to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Traveling for the show is a lot of fun. It’s also a lot of work since the logistics are crazy.

But I’m privileged in that my business trips are really out of the norm. My husband and I have a lot of maps of the world in the office, and we try to pick places to film that may not be travel destinations for most Americans.

I’ve had some amazing experiences.

I remember flying from Adelaide to Coober Pedy, Australia, which is the opal capital of the world. I was on this tiny Cessna with four other passengers and one pilot. I decided to take flying lessons when I got home because I couldn’t help thinking what would happen if this one pilot passed out. Fortunately, he didn’t and we wound up filming for one week in underground homes called dugouts, which really are a lot nicer than the name implies.

I was in Botswana in a plane called a Caravan. We were flying over the Okavango Delta while herds of elephants ran throughout the bush. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Flying into Reykjavik, Iceland, was like landing on the moon. Even though it’s only five hours from J.F.K., it’s like no other place on earth.

We took off at night and arrived in the morning to the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen. I’ve also flown apparently to the end of the world when I flew to Punta Arenas, Chile and then onto Ushuaia, Argentina, where I had my passport stamped “The End of the World” on Isla Redonda Tierra del Fuego. That was very cool.

Aside from finding places that are not usual destinations for many Americans, we try to keep things local or culturally significant regarding the challenges that our contestant teams have to perform.

People really seem to enjoy sky diving and bungee-jumping. I went bungee-jumping for the first time in New Zealand during season two. It’s called the Nevis Bungee Jump and you drop about 440 feet. I must have stood on the ledge over the gorge for about five minutes. I knew if I didn’t do it I would regret it. So I did it. I couldn’t even catch my breath to scream. I was out of my mind, but I would do it again.

Sky diving is another story. I told myself I would do it once, and now it’s off my to do list, but more power to our teams and every other person out there who thinks that it’s fun. Jumping out of a perfectly good plane makes absolutely no sense to me.

By Elise Doganieri, as told to Joan Raymond.
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains--however improbable--must be the truth." --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"No person deserves your tears, and who deserves them will not make you cry." - Gabriel García Márquez

Offline theschnauzers

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2013, 05:52:43 PM »
Apparently Phil isn't the only producer who does the tasks filmed for TAR. That's good to know.

And I can confirm that Elise really doesn't tell people she produces TAR; when I met her and Phil at TARcon 3 a decade ago, I didn't know who she was except that she came to the event with Phil (and they were standing together); I didn't realize it was Elise until later when I saw someone else's posted photos that identified Elise in some of their photos.
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Offline georgiapeach

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #54 on: January 09, 2014, 11:33:13 PM »
Bertram hs been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director of a reality show.
Directors nominated for reality shows include Matthew Bartley for "The
Biggest Loser," Neil P. DeGroot for "72 Hours," Paul Starkman for "Top Chef," J.
Rupert Thompson for "The Hero" and Bertram Van Munster for "The Amazing
"Our fans are pretty good. They don't give away too much. Sometimes people love dropping spoilers, but our fans are good. They tend to do it in such a way that doesn't ruin it for fans who don't want to know."--Phil Keoghan

Offline georgiapeach

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"Our fans are pretty good. They don't give away too much. Sometimes people love dropping spoilers, but our fans are good. They tend to do it in such a way that doesn't ruin it for fans who don't want to know."--Phil Keoghan

Offline Leafsfan

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #56 on: September 30, 2014, 07:45:46 PM »
Amazing Race success an amazing surprise to show creators

BEVERLY HILLS—Bertram van Munster, 74, and Elise Doganieri, 47, are Hollywood royalty, the reigning power couple of quality reality TV. The show they created, The Amazing Race, has become a ratings behemoth as well as a critically acclaimed show, earning its 10th Primetime Emmy Award recently.
The win means the show has swept every award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program except when it lost in 2010 and 2013 to Top Chef and The Voice.
This year, the show bested Top Chef, The Voice, Project Runway, Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.
“I can assure you we didn’t expect this at all,” said van Munster, somehow managing to look genuinely surprised. “The world is not a bad place.”
The show has spawned more than a dozen international franchises in China, Latin America, Scandinavia, the Philippines and Canada. In the process, van Munster and Doganieri have found themselves ensconced on the Hollywood rich list and have spawned a legion of imitators.
The Star caught up with them as they were putting the final touches on The Amazing Race Season 25, which premieres Sept. 26 on CTV. And they reveal that there is nothing they are prouder of than their Canadian franchise, which became the most watched show in Canada this summer, with best friends Mickey Henry and Pete Schmalz winning $250,000. CTV announced Monday that casting has started for Season 3.
How involved were you with the Canadian edition?
Van Munster: We’re very involved. Phil (King, president of CTV programming and sports) and his team came to Scotland at one point just to see what we were doing before they took it on. It was so smart how they did it. Not surprised they are the No. 1 show in Canada. They looked, they listened. We spent days with them. It’s a very complicated show. Lots of people think they know what they are doing, but they don’t.
Doganieri: You know what I love about the Canadian Amazing Race? They (producers) came down to our office and spent the time to make sure it was spot on. The production value is as high as ours. They have the same standards of integrity and creativity.
Given your schedule and the number of franchises you oversee, do you have time to even watch the Canadian edition?
Van Munster: Yes, as a matter of fact, I just watched an episode this morning. We’re very involved. Canada is important to us. I want to say Canadians are just about the biggest fans of the race.
There was some controversy when the Canadian edition only focused on Canada in what was supposed to be a TV show that traditionally featured the world.
Van Munster: I told these guys, ‘You have a beautiful country with so much diversity. You don’t have to leave, it’s such a spectacular place. Stay in your own backyard.’ I think it worked great.
Why do you think it does so well? Not just in Canada, but internationally.
Van Munster: It’s very relatable to anyone around the globe. Before Amazing Race, we were doing a show called Wild Things. It was also about global adventure. When we got cancelled, we had an infrastructure to produce this stuff. We had a lot of connections, governmental and creative. No reality show was thinking on this kind of global scale. I think the reach of the show, showing so many cultures, is why it is so relatable. When we went to CBS and (network CEO) Les Moonves, he knew I was a credible guy, I wasn’t making this up, that we could deliver a show that people around the world would want to watch.
Casting is key to any reality show. But you guys seem to have made it a science. You were also at the forefront of diversity before other shows, particularly scripted television.
Doganieri: We did it without even thinking about it. We just wanted to know what’s a great cast. We wanted people from different walks of life.

So what’s the secret after all these years?
Doganieri: It’s so hard to tell. We see a casting tape that’s three minutes long and it’s sometimes difficult to imagine that it’s the same person running around the world that you see on television. Sometimes, you still go by your gut after all these years.
Much has been made of diversity in casting. Sometimes reality producers do stunt casting to get different people in one place to create conflict. You seem to have taken the high road on that.
Van Munster: If you know what you’re doing, you don’t have to cast for conflict or tell them to make conflict. If you cast it right, there will be conflict. Because if you and I get in a car, you will want to go right and I will want to go left.
Doganieri: It’s human nature.
Van Munster: I think it’s confidence. If you’re not sure of yourself, some people, they think they have to interfere with the process and jazz it up. We have not done that. Viewers can tell what is authentic. That is why they relate to the show.

Amazing Race Canada Season 2 is off to a strong start. And you’re already getting ready to launch the U.S. version in September. What can you tell us about it?
Van Munster: I think it’s a very strong season. It’s very original. We did bring in all new contestants. It’s a brand new route and several countries we have never been before.
Doganieri: Seriously, this is the most competitive group we have ever seen.
That’s saying a lot coming from you.
Doganieri: Yes. They are on total adrenalin. They studied the show. Some of them had statistics. One of the teams analyzed everything like a science project. This season is high energy insanity.


Offline Jobby

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #57 on: October 14, 2014, 02:11:09 PM »
Everything You Wanted To Know About How They Make 'The Amazing Race'
The Huffington Post    | By Suzy Strutner

In the often dodgy realm of reality television, "The Amazing Race" is a shining beacon of quality. While other shows tend to turn tangled, tacky or just downright scripted, "The Amazing Race" holds to a standard that few have matched. The televised race around the world -- now in its twenty-fifth season! -- has won 15 Emmys, including 10 for "Outstanding Reality-Competition" -- a reality program's top honor.

Elise Doganieri accidentally birthed the idea for the show while complaining to her now-husband, producer Bertram van Munster, about how "there were no good shows on TV." He challenged her to come up with something better. She remembered the pains and joys of backpacking Europe after college with a best friend. Why don't we do something like that?

A star was born -- one that would permanently change how we perceive travel.

"The Amazing Race" has visited an estimated 82 countries on six continents over the years. And with one host, 22 contestants per season and as many as 2,000 crew members around the world working on the show at any given time, there is a lot to coordinate. HuffPost Travel talked with Elise Doganieri, now the show's executive producer and a co-creator along with her husband, about the logistics of weaving such an intricate, time-sensitive and travel-heavy program.

Turns out the system is a lot more nonchalant -- but no less complex -- than you might think. Here's how they do it.


To plan the route, they literally just play with a massive map on the wall.

Doganieri and van Munster start as any masterminds of a 30-day world tour would: in a place they call The War Room, with a wall-size map of the planet. And very little is off-limits. "We think, 'what's exciting?,'" Doganieri says. "'Where haven't we been?'" To that end, the couple has multiple shoeboxes of old passports -- Doganieri estimates her husband has filled more than 25 of the extra-large kind.

They visit EVERYWHERE first.

After mapping out a basic route, van Munster scouts the actual locations while Doganieri stays home to cast the teams. On his scouting tour, van Munster might talk with hotels, meet with local producers or survey spots for the show's famous Roadblock challenges. When he comes back, Doganieri has a slate of contestants ready to go. That's when the couple heads to The War Room, where every episode of the season gets mapped out on a wall along with Roadblocks, challenges and Pit Stops. It's a giant puzzle of the most exhilarating kind.

Doganieri and van Munster at Al Jahili Fort, United Arab Emirates during Season 23

Crews are staked out in every country ahead of time...

After being in the media business for decades, van Munster has production contacts all over the world. The show works with "local facilitators" in each season's host countries to coordinate filming permits, hotel rooms, translators and hire local cameramen, who take extra shots to supplement the cameramen that travel with the teams. By this point, "each country has all the details about what we have to do," Doganieri says. "It's kind of like a military operation."

...but the cameramen must be within 20 feet of contestants, no exceptions.

Doganieri is adamant that "The Amazing Race"'s traveling camera and sound crew is the show's secret weapon. "They don't get enough credit," she says. "They're running with a camera. They're the best at what they do." This involves staying within 20 feet of the contestants at all times -- every team of two contestants is assigned a cameraman and sound technician, who must be present with them for all plane flights, cab rides and mad roadside foot races. The show's story team follows too, to keep track of emerging plot lines and start the editing process even as the race continues to unfold.

Cameraman Alan Weeks films two contestants at Eastnor Castle, England during Season 17.

Sometimes, they have to pull last-minute location swaps in the middle of the desert.

Yup, like when a sandstorm hit Tunisia during Season 1. "We had this beautiful Pit Stop, and everyone was dancing around the campfire," Doganieri remembers. "Then we got an alert for a sandstorm, and tents starting to wobble." The crew and contestants were forced to pack up in the middle of the night, drive 50 miles to a tiny hotel, and double-bunk until morning. THAT became the episode's new, impromptu Pit Stop. Whatever pops up, there's no stopping in a race as meticulously planned as this. "When nature happens, you just have to change plans," Doganieri says.

The crew has missed flights before, putting them behind the contestants.

About 10 seasons ago, Doganieri recalls, the contestants were on their way to Italy when the production crew's flight was cancelled. The crew had no flight and only hours to traverse Europe before filming resumed. After quick work with the show's travel coordinator, they hopped a bus, rode for 11 hours and made it to the location just in time. "We've been very lucky," Doganieri says. But contestants haven't always been so charmed. "Once, a team missed a flight and got so far behind that the show had to eliminate them in the airport," she says. Another took nine hours to complete a challenge in Switzerland Sweden  :res: -- and the production schedule just didn't allow enough time for them to keep trying. "We had to go out in the field in the dark and say, 'You're done.' It was really sad."

The crew gets to test every stunt.

While the camera and sound crew travels with the contestants, the production team usually gets to each pit stop about two days before, Doganieri says. They'll do run-throughs at each location and test Roadblock challenges so they're ready to go -- this includes physically assembling desks in the world's largest IKEA, boating, biking and even bungee jumping in New Zealand.

Doganieri scouts locations for Season 23 at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.

Contestants are truly booking their own flights, in real time.

Producers will reserve tickets for the first episode, but after that contestants are on their own. You'd think producers would give them a little help -- but Doganieri says all her team does is monitor flights to anticipate which ones contestants are likely to take. After reading a clue, contestants will search on computers or run straight to the airport ticket counter, begging for the speediest route. "It's completely organic," Doganieri says. "Sometimes they'll find deals that get them there 20 minutes earlier by hopping from flight to flight. And we're just like, 'Wow.'"

Contestants are terrible at reading clues.

Doganieri says she's routinely surprised at how contestants rush through clues -- even though producers might tweak them for clarity on location after running through the challenges. "Contestants will read two lines and just start running," Doganieri says. "We're always saying to each other, 'Read your clue!'"

And the secret to winning? Be nice.

Doganieri says her favorite contestants -- and those that tend to be most successful -- take time to smile at locals, ask politely for help and show respect for the culture of the country they're racing through. This can result in game-changing advantages. "If you give just a little respect," Doganieri says, "you will get it back tenfold."

For more behind-the-scenes peeks, follow @EliseDoganieri on Twitter. "The Amazing Race 25" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

(Think this has been posted somewhere as well?)
I treat people nicely... if only you are nice in the first place.

Offline theschnauzers

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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2015, 12:51:24 PM »
Bert has been nominated (again) by the Directors Guild of America for their 2015 DGA Awards in the category of Reality Television -- But it wasn't for TAR!
Elise was also nominated (for the first time) in the same category.
Bert and Elise's nomination was for an episode of "The Quest," which aired this past summer on ABC. Jack Cannon was also included as a nominee for the same episode.
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Re: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri NEWS
« Reply #59 on: June 24, 2015, 10:09:39 PM »
Bertram van Munster on 'The Amazing Race': "Instrumental in Bringing People Together Around the World"

by Annie Howard - 6/24/2015 11:30am PDT

"I think that 'The Amazing Race' is almost like a business card around the world to show that we are actually nice people, and we're good people."

"They're so obsessed with racing that this kind of stuff almost doesn't occur," producer Bertram van Munster told The Hollywood Reporter during its Reality Emmy Roundtable, referring to the absence of typical reality drama on his show, The Amazing Race. "[The show] is all done in real time so, no, we don't have these moments."

Van Munster prides himself on being one of the early pioneers of developing franchises of reality television. "In the beginning, nobody ever heard of reality until Mark [Burnett] and myself showed up on the scene, and there was the brave Les [Moonves] who saw the potential of this and said, 'These are franchises,' which was miraculous. This was 15, 16 years ago when nobody had ever heard of this. The only show that was on was Cops."

"I also think that The Amazing Race is almost like a business card around the world to show that we are actually nice people," says the 10-time Emmy award-winning producer. "We're good people. It's phenomenal when you bring people really together. I think The Amazing Race has been instrumental in being a good partner around the world, and bringing people together."

The producer joined Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance), Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, The Voice), Julie Chen (Big Brother), Craig Piligian (The Ultimate Fighter) and Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance) for the Roundtable, where the producers and hosts shared what it takes to create content that has lasted more than a decade in a genre that seemed like a fad.

The full Reality Roundtable can be seen on Close Up With the Hollywood Reporter when it premieres Sunday, Sept. 13, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Sundance TV and
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains--however improbable--must be the truth." --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"No person deserves your tears, and who deserves them will not make you cry." - Gabriel García Márquez