Reality show on the prowl
'Amazing Race' auditions teams in Salinas
By Anne Riley-Katz
SCOTT MACDONALD/THE CALIFORNIAN
Brothers Matt, left, and Michael Blair, firefighters from La Selva Beach, try out Monday for 'The Amazing Race' at an open casting call at KION-TV in Salinas. Tom Lopez of KION, in shadows at left, conducts the two-minute taping.
The fifth season of "The Amazing Race" will air on CBS in early summer 2004.
The gubernatorial recall contest wasn't the only race under way Monday on the Central Coast.
More than 45 teams of two showed up for an open casting call for the CBS reality show "The Amazing Race" at KION-TV studios in Salinas.
The show features 12 two-person teams from across the United States competing in a race around various continents and countries, searching for clues that point them to their next destination. Teams arriving last at a destination are eliminated each episode, and the winning team receives $1 million in prize money.
CBS contacted KION, its local affiliate, about the open casting call nearly two weeks ago, and it took the station about three days to set up for the taping, said KION program manager Eric Casella.
The casting call started at 3 pm., but some hopefuls arrived much earlier. "We had one couple show up at 8 a.m.," Casella said. "They brought folding chairs and a pot of coffee -- the whole thing."
By 3:30 p.m., more than 30 potential "Race" teams had stepped in front of one of several cameras and taped a two-minute video segment at the studios.
"Most teams come in with prepared statements," Casella said. "One couple lifted each other up, and another talked for one other. Some were very creative -- we had a good mix."
Contestants at Monday's audition ranged from mother-daughter and brother-sister pairs to acquaintances of a few months.
Jill Kleiss of Monterey and Roger Brann of Napa met in August on the Web site Match.com and said their teaming was last-minute.
"He's my 'C' plan; I hoodwinked him into doing it," said Kleiss, who called Brann when her first- and second-choice partners couldn't make it to Monday's audition. The pair has never traveled together before.
"If we get picked and make it through this, then we'll be better friends for it," Brann said.
Best friends Niki Okamura and Kelli Bostwick, both of Seaside, said they are total opposites but travel well together.
"She's the navigator, and I'm directionally challenged," said Bostwick, who's known Okamura for 17 years.
"We work as a team," Okamura agreed. "We just get things done."
Friends Cy Barbree and Billy Brubaker also have traveled together, but without much success.
"I don't think we'll be a good team at all, but it'll be comical," said Barbree, a contractor from King City. "We're like the odd couple, but worse."
When he and Brubaker, who lives in Paso Robles, traveled in Europe, they didn't get along at all, Barbree said.
"He almost left me in an Amsterdam train station," he said.
CBS expects to receive between 15,000 and 20,000 contestant applications, and casting will be completed by early November. Casella will send all of Monday's completed applications and tapes to the network today and said he hopes a team from the Central Coast will be selected to compete.
"It's TV; there are roles to be filled -- the crazy couple, the mean couple, the fun couple," he said. "Hopefully someone from our market will be able to fill one of the roles."
Originally published Tuesday, October 7, 2003
~It's so great to hear that this show is actually coming back on the air..
My yahoo group is very active we thought that we said our goodbyes ~ ;DI'm happy~