Group picture !!
Seattle was the starting point for the latest season of CBS's "The Amazing Race." Teams include (left to right, front row) Vipul and Arti, Kellie and Jamie, Lyn and Karlyn, Erwin and Godwin, Kimberly and Rob, Sarah and Peter (left to right, back row) Tyler and James, Duke and Lauren, Tom and Terry, Mary and David, Dustin and Kandice and Bilal and Sa'eed.
Diversity is the word as 'Amazing Race 10' starts in Seattle
Monday, July 17, 2006
It was a rainy May morning when 13 teams of people charged down the hill in Seattle's Gas Works Park -- the official start of the 10th edition of CBS' reality show "The Amazing Race."
It was the beginning of a five-week journey around the world -- a journey that has now been completed and whose winner has been decided, but one not everyone would finish. At most stops along the way, one team would be eliminated until only three remained. The first pair to finish the show's final segment would split $1 million.
Although the race began two months ago, it was only Sunday that the network let go of what had been a carefully guarded secret -- the race starts in Seattle.
As in seasons before, the winning team would need "the right combination of brains, brawn and teamwork," as stated by the show's host, Phil Keoghan, during last season's premiere in Denver.
But when Keoghan gave his signature bolero-inspired wave in Seattle, a signal for the race to begin, there was something different about the pairs that dashed toward the SUVs at the bottom of the hill: In different ways, each was a tribute to Hollywood's interpretation of diversity.
Some teams were predictable. There was the obligatory pair of beauty queens (and a pair of attractive college cheerleaders as a bonus), the father-daughter duo and the married couple.
But there was also a pair of single mothers, a woman with a prosthetic leg and her motivational-speaker friend, a coal miner husband and his wife, a gay couple and a pair of Muslim cousins.
Executive producer Bertram van Munster, who co-created the show with his partner, Elise Doganieri, took a break from filming atop Gas Works Park hill to comment on the many societal subgroups represented.
"We have a very diverse cast," said van Munster, clad in a green plastic poncho to help ward off the rain. "It's almost a true representation of what America is all about."
Summing up America with only 26 people might seem like a daunting job, but van Munster is a man who thinks big. Everything about the show is big, including its worldwide backdrop and grand scenery, and it was only a matter of time before the show came back to Seattle.
In 2002, the show's third season ended in Seattle, also at Gas Works Park.
"I've been coming to Seattle for many years for different projects," said van Munster, who used to be a cameraman for "Cops," the long-running Fox series. "Most people in the film industry travel a lot."
Van Munster took every opportunity to capitalize on signature features of the Northwest while filming this season's premiere.
The contestants arrived on seaplanes, and a fireboat shot arcs of water out of Lake Union in front of a misty city skyline.
Van Munster surveyed the scene from the top of the hill.
"Who is communicating with the fireboat?"
"Brittany is," said a drenched crew member.
"Can you tell them it looks fantastic?"
Maybe the rain on the lens did make filming a little difficult, and maybe more than one crew member did slip and fall on the wet grass, but "The Amazing Race" isn't a show for the faint of heart.
Both the crew and contestants had their work cut out for them, moving westward out of Seattle to 13 countries, among them China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Kuwait and Madagascar, logging more than 40,000 miles in about a month's time.
"We race around the world in five weeks," said Van Munster. "It is really tough."
"The Amazing Race" premiered in 2002, but since it does two editions a year this latest is considered the 10th "season."
When it returns in the fall, on a date to be determined, the show will air on a new day and at a new time -- Sundays at 8 p.m. -- on KIRO/7.