Archive for the ‘The Amazing Race’ Category

‘Amazing Race’ Host Phil Keoghan – “(It’s) The Most Extreme Blind Date on Earth”

February 25, 2015

"The Amazing Race" (CBS)

“The Amazing Race” is coming back for its 26th season tonight with a pair of Olympic medalists, a New Kid on the Block, and an intriguing twist…

What if half of the teams were made up of couples on a blind date?

I had a chance to speak to “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan and ask him if the blind date teams were at a disadvantage, where the Race is headed, and if he has any early favorites…

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Gordon Holmes: I’ve been on some bad blind dates in my day…
Phil Keoghan: I think a lot of people have. (Laughs)
Holmes: But I’ve never been on one that’ll take me through a series of high-stress situations and dozens of countries. This sounds horrible. What are you doing to these poor people?
Keoghan: Well, let’s remember they signed up for this.
Holmes: Fair enough.
Keoghan: These are people who will do anything to find love. They’ll try anything. It just so happens that they’re about to try the most extreme blind date on Earth.
Holmes: Is that what you guys are calling it?
Keoghan: That’s what I say to them on the starting line. It’s the most extreme blind date, period.
Holmes: has nothing on this.
Keoghan: This makes look like a cup of coffee.
Holmes: I’m trying to imagine how bad a date would have to be to get me to walk away from a shot at a million dollars.
Keoghan: Yeah. But think of your worse date, then think that even though it’s terrible that you have to hang with that person for 21 days and 35,000 miles around the world.
Holmes: How did we end up with this twist?
Keoghan: Some people were worried that we were becoming a dating show. That we were changing formats. We had a format change when we tried the family edition. We did it because people wanted us to try something different. We did, and it didn’t work. Fans told us to stick with what we do well. We’ve listened to our fans. It’s not a format change. We’re not a dating show. It’s “The Amazing Race” as you know it, but we’ve said, “What would happen if we put single people into the race.” The idea for that really came from our fans. For years and years we’ve had singles come to us, this idea is not new. The fans have been talking to us about it for years. They’ve said, “Why don’t you try bringing people who don’t know each other to the starting line to switch it up.” Ultimately this was the fans’ idea.

Holmes: If I were to do “The Amazing Race,” I’d partner with my fiancée. She knows my strengths and weaknesses, she knows when I’m on edge. I’ve got to think these blind date couples have a serious disadvantage.
Keoghan: You’d think that, but sometimes when you first meet someone and you like them, you’re on your best behavior.
Holmes: They say you’re the best version of yourself.
Keoghan: Maybe you’re a better listener. Maybe you’re more trusting. Maybe you’re so naïve about what you don’t know about that person that you allow them to take more control. You fall into patterns with relationships where one person does one thing and the other one doesn’t.

Holmes: Who are our early favorites this season?
Keoghan: I never picked the Sweet Scientists to be the favorites to win considering who they were up against, including the Dentists who were the winningest couple last season. So, it’s impossible to have an early favorite. Do you pick Matt and Ashley because they’re super fit and strong and from New York? Do you pick Jenny and Jelani who are both very bright and also very fit and quite worldly?  It’s impossible. That’s why the race works. You’d think a professional athlete who is fit and an ultra competitor would just blitz the field. And that hasn’t always been the case.

Holmes: Where are we going this year?
Keoghan: One of the things we really pride ourselves on is always going to new locations and always having new and interesting challenges. Right out of the gate they go over the Pacific Ocean and fly to Japan. Japan is just a wealth of great opportunities to try new and interesting things. Then they go to Thailand, and it’s so rich with ideas. We go to Europe…we have three or four new locations that we’ve never been to. The cool thing is we’re 26 seasons in and we still have places we’ve never been to. We get down to Namibia and the southern part of Africa.
Holmes: Oh wow.
Keoghan: We were actually there in season two. Haven’t been back there for a long time.

Holmes: Are we going to see more of those shots where you’re standing there as the contestants run by?
Keoghan: Oh yeah. The fans loved that. They thought it was like a sideline report. It’s difficult to do when you’re shooting 12 shows in 21 days as I have to stay ahead of them. It’s hard to be there when they’re there. And if they do run in, we’re not sure which direction they’re coming from. And you get one shot at doing it. We can’t stop them. In the last episode this season, every piece I shot was shot live. And I was barely ahead of them. It was a tight finish.

Holmes: “Survivor” is your lead in tonight. It’s their 30th season. You’re on your 26th season. What is it about these formats that lends itself to still being fun after so many iterations?
Keoghan: It’s fresh because the locations, people, and challenges are all fresh. This is not the same people singing the same songs on the same stage. What I love about it is we have a diversity with our cast. These are not singers, or dancers, or designers, or cooks who all have something in common. They couldn’t be more different. Having someone like Jonathan Knight, who’s a huge fan of this race, it’s been a dream for him.

Holmes: People from my generation in particular are probably very excited to have a New Kid on the Block on board. Do you have a particular favorite NKOTB jam?
Keoghan: (Laughs) I used to host a music show when I was 21, and I interviewed a lot of these guys. I did not interview New Kids on the Block. I interviewed all the bands that came to New Zealand. That whole boy band era was…how old are you?
Holmes: I’m 38.
Keoghan: OK, I’m a little older than you. But, that whole era was huge. It was what I grew up with. You had Marky Mark doing his whole thing.
Holmes: So you’re more of a “Good Vibrations” fan than a “Hanging Tough” guy.
Keoghan: (Laughs) Yeah, I actually loved Red Hot Chili Peppers. I liked stuff that was a little harder than the boy bands.
CBS Representative: Gordon was probably really into the boy bands.
Holmes: Quiet, you.
Keoghan: (Laughs) Gordon was probably eleven and he had all of their CDs. And you would’ve known all the songs. I was more about UB40 and Seal and KLM.
Holmes: It’s not every day that CBS outs your music tastes.
Keoghan: That’s true. But they were huge. It was global.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “The Amazing Race” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm ET on CBS.

Olympic Medalists, New Kid on the Block to Try ‘The Amazing Race’

January 20, 2015

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. Every Monday after an elimination leg, we’ll have an interview with the team that was sent packing and the most recent episode. And, you’ll be able to watch all of the previous episodes. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

As if racing through foreign countries while competing in grueling challenges wasn’t stressful enough, now some players are going to have to do it while on a blind date. For the 26th season of the Emmy-winning juggernaut “The Amazing Race,” five of the game’s eleven teams will be made up of people who have never met before. To add to the fun, the teams will have a chance to win a special “Date Night” reward that will allow them to enjoy a special one-on-one activity.

CBS announced the cast for this unique new edition this morning and it includes a professional wrestling promoter, a pair of Olympic medalists, and a member of the legendary boy band New Kids on the Block.

Name: Aly Dudek
Age: 24
Hometown:Milwaukee, WI


Current Occupation:Athlete and Global Spokeswoman

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Winning an Olympic bronze medal and competing in two Olympic Games.

Name: Steven Langton
Age: 31
Hometown:Boston, MA

Current Occupation:Olympic Athlete

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? I’m most proud of winning two Bronze Medals at the Sochi Olympic Games in Russia and double Gold at the 2012 World Championships.

Relationship Status: Dating
Length of Relationship: 7 months

Name: Harley Rodriguez
Age: 41
Hometown: New York, NY


Current Occupation:Group Fitness Trainer

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?Uprooting my life on the West Coast and starting a new chapter with work on the East Coast.

Name: Jonathan Knight
Age: 46
Hometown: New York, NY

Current Occupation:Entertainer

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?Being fortunate to have the same career for 30 years that I started when I was 16.

Relationship Status: Dating
Length of relationship: 7 years

Name: Jeff Magee
Age: 57
Hometown:McCall, Idaho


Current Occupation: Airline Pilot

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Finishing my experimental (kit) airplane. (It took me 10 years!) Now I love flying it.

Name:  Lyda Grawn
Age: 49
Hometown: Scottsdale, Ariz.

Current Occupation:Flight Attendant

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? I am most proud of my family and trying to be a good daughter! We are all very close!

Relationship Status: Dating
Length of Relationship: We’ve known each other for 20 years and been dating for 4 years.

Name: C.J. Harris
Tuskegee, AL


Current Occupation:Information Technology

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Being the first male in my family to graduate from college in 4 years and being only the second male period to graduate from college in my family.

Name: Lebya Simpson
Age: 25
Hometown Tuskegee, AL

Current Occupation: Medical Support Assistant

Relationship Status: Dating
Length of Relationship: Known for 15 years, dating for 10.

Name: Matt Cucolo
Age: 30
Hometown:Scarsdale, NY


Current Occupation:Master Hairstylist

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Being a very successful hairstylist. It’s much more than just hair. It’s an amazing feeling making people happy.

Name: Ashley Gordon
Age: 28
Hometown:Scarsdale, NY

Current Occupation:Hairstylist

Relationship Status: Dating
Length of Relationship: Known for 10 years, dating for 3.

Name: Rochelle Nevedal
Age: 29
Hometown: Kalkaska, MI


Current Occupation:Contract Engineer

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Raising an 8-year-old son who is creative, unique and absolutely amazing!

Name: Michael Dombrowski
Age: 26
Hometown:Traverse City, MI

Current Occupation: Pro Wrestling Promoter and Truck Stop Manager

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Booking WWE Hall of Famers Mick Foley and Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall in my hometown of Kalkaska, MI. It was front page news here.

Relationship Status: Dating
Length of Relationship: 8 months

Name: Bergen Olsen
Age: 23
Hometown:Sunnyvale, CA


Current Occupation:Human Resources Project Manager

3 Words to Describe You:Energetic, driven and empathetic.

Favorite Hobbies:Watching and playing sports, especially volleyball. I love to cook and bake – my favorites include chocolate chip cookies, meatballs, pasta and mashed potatoes!   So naturally, I love eating all of my favorites! I also love to travel, even though I haven’t done much of it!

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?Not to sound cliché, but coming out and being proud of who I truly am to my friends and family, especially in a conservative Minnesota county, was one of my proudest accomplishments.  I’m also really proud of where I am at with my career at only age 23.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship? I can’t date anyone that smokes, does drugs, has poor personal hygiene or has a tendency to cheat and lie.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? A good personality, has a good sense of humor and someone who makes me feel special and loved.  I love nothing more than for my partner to make me laugh and smile each and every day!

Name: Blair Townsend
Hometown: Amelia Island, FL


Current Occupation:Physician

3 Words to Describe You:Versatile, brave and inventive.

Favorite Hobbies:Ironman competitions, sailing, scuba diving and golf.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Being a good son to my parents and a good brother to my sisters.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship?Lack of curiosity in the world, complacency and dishonesty.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Razor-sharp wit, bold confidence and a contagious smile.

Name: Hayley Keel
Age: 28
Hometown:St. Petersburg, FL


Current Occupation:Registered Nurse

3 Words to Describe You:Genuine, witty and passionate.

Favorite Hobbies:Going to the beach, anything active (biking, paddle boarding, working out), cooking, traveling, attending Cleveland/Tampa Bay sporting events and exploring new places (cities, restaurants, local attractions).

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?Becoming a registered nurse. It is simply amazing to be able to help people and make a difference in their lives.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship?Poor communication, lack of goals, no motivation, boring, bad attitude and laziness.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Confidence, loyalty and happiness.

Name: Jackie Ibarra
Las Vegas, NV


Current Occupation:Professional Dancer

3 Words to Describe You:Passionate, positive and adventurous.

Favorite Hobbies:Dancing, working out, cooking and traveling.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Other than being on “The Amazing Race,” when I was 18 years old, I headed out to Miami and auditioned to become a Miami Heat Dancer. Went up against about 300 women for a spot on the team and I made it!

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship? Deal breakers for me would be a man who does not want marriage or children, who is disrespectful or dishonest, or who does not take care of their appearance and body. Also, if they smoke cigarettes, stay away from me.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? I am looking for a respectful gentleman who is passionate, motivated and confident, with a good sense of humor. Being attractive with a great body doesn’t hurt either!

Name: Jeffrey Weldon
Age: 26
Hometown:Tampa, FL


Current Occupation: Account Executive/Sales

3 Words to Describe You: Outgoing, charismatic and intelligent.

Favorite Hobbies: Fitness, professional networking, spending time with family/friends and anything outdoors.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Launching a startup company with colleagues – Internet marketing/consulting firm.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship?Dishonesty, communication issues and cheating.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Great sense of humor, a woman who has passion/drive for success and a great-looking face.

Name: Jelani Roy
New York, NY


Current Occupation:Lawyer

3 Words to Describe You:Loyal, intelligent and fun.

Favorite Hobbies:Playing/watching sports, cooking and bar hopping.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?Passing the New York bar exam the first time I took it.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship? They have to be compassionate.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Pretty, laid back and fun.

Name: Jenny Wu
Los Angeles, CA


Current Occupation:Blogger/lawyer

3 Words to Describe You:Feisty, bubbly and adventurous.

Favorite Hobbies:Photography, attending music festivals and hiking.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?Coming to terms with who I am and what I want in life while letting go of my fear of being alone.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship? Selfishness, laziness, settling for the status quo and aversion to desserts.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Excellent banter skills, quick wit and a striking resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio.


Name: Kurt Jordan Belcher
Age: 24
Hometown:Butler, KY


Current Occupation: Pageant consultant

3 Words to Describe You: Gifted, abrasive (sometimes) and funny.

Favorite Hobbies: Karaoke, volleyball and pageants.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? Honestly, probably coming out as a gay man in high school. I’m from a very small town.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship?Controlling and lazy! I want somebody that’s loving and a hard worker.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Family oriented, funny and stability.

Name: Laura Pierson
Los Angeles, CA


Current occupation:Talent Booker

3 Words to Describe You:Outgoing, ambitious and positive.

Favorite Hobbies:Cooking delicious and healthy meals, going on adventures (hiking, exploring and traveling), yoga, DIY crafting projects and anything that has to do with fashion.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of?That I don’t snooze through my alarm clock on Monday mornings for my big girl job.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship? Unmotivated, emotionally inept, selfish, untrustworthy and cheap.

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate? Loving, genuine and optimistic.

Name: Tyler Adams
Santa Monica, CA


Current occupation: Co-Founder HORSE

3 Words to Describe You: Enthusiastic, adventurous and a dreamer.

Favorite Hobbies: Fishing, surfing, traveling, reading and cooking.

What Is the Accomplishment You Are Most Proud Of? This year I won Startup Weekend LA and decided it was time to quit my job and venture out on my own. Trying to start my own business has been incredibly challenging yet rewarding.

What Are Your Deal Breakers in a Relationship? If a girl has a negative/pessimistic attitude it is an automatic deal breaker. Life is too short – enjoy it!

What Are the Top 3 Qualities You Are Looking for in a Mate?  I’m looking for a girl that approaches life with a positive attitude. She must be up for any adventure and confident and comfortable in her skin.

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “The Amazing Race” on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

‘Amazing Race’ Champs Amy & Maya: ‘(Jim) Didn’t Think We Were Worth Much’

December 22, 2014

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. You can watch every episode from this fun-filled season online. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

Maya Warren: I’m sorry, Gordon. My voice is shot. So, I apologize.
Gordon Holmes: Were you excited about some recent event? We’re you screaming in joy too much?
Warren: (Laughs) Yeah, I partied a bit too much and screamed a lot. I don’t sound very sexy.
Holmes: Well, I told CBS I only want to talk to people if they sound sexy.
Warren: (Laughs) Well physically speaking, yes. But vocally, no.
Holmes: OK, I’ll make an exception this time.

Holmes: Amy, let’s start with you. The delivery challenge really took it out of you physically. You thought you were done. When Phil told you to keep racing, was your first though, “Awesome!” or “Oh no.”?
Amy DeJong: First of all, I was shocked. I was standing there and I didn’t know what to say or do. I was wrecked physically. I was dead. But, I was so excited to still be in it. We did not see that final twist coming. Just to know that we were still in it was indescribable. I knew I had to suck it up.

Holmes: I know the final challenge always seems to involve some grand recap of the entire season. Had you two been taking notes and studying?
DeJong: We had notebooks that we took with us through the entire race. We were taking very diligent notes on every single thing that had happened. When we were on the last leg at the airport we made lists of all of the memory challenges that we thought could happen and studied them.
Warren: We actually thought it was going to be like an island or water challenge. In our notebooks we had little countries drawn, bodies of water, we probably went overboard.
DeJong: Capital cities…you name it. We were ready for that last challenge.

Holmes: Maya, you might be the best judge of this. How much time passed from when you arrived at that final challenge to when you left? Because Jim had said something about it feeling like four hours.
Warren: It probably took a little over an hour from the time we got there to when we got in the taxi to go to the finish line. It didn’t seem that long. I was talking to Jim and Adam. We knew at that point that Brooke and Rob were gone. We were just recapping the whole season and reminiscing. And we were encouraging our teammates.

Holmes: Well, now that you’ve got that big check and you can sit back and look at your future, any thoughts of giving up science for stuntwork?
Warren: (Laughs) Why can’t I do both?
Holmes: Follow your dreams, Maya.
Warren: I wanted to do that. I was saying, “I love heights!” And then you see me stuttering up there. I did that jump about five times, but the first time I did it I got whiplash and my neck was throbbing. Those mats don’t take your impact like the boxes do. When you jump on the boxes, they collapse on themselves. But, maybe I do have a future in that. It was pretty cool.

Holmes: What was the time difference from when you arrived at the mat and the dentists and the surfers arrived there?
DeJong: Between us and the dentists it was a little under an hour. And then the surfers it was like an hour and a half.
Warren: It was like an hour and twenty. The dentists were like 40ish. We had a huge lead over them. I would’ve paid to see Jim’s reaction of us getting in the car. I would’ve loved to have seen that. He didn’t think we were worth much on the race.
DeJong: And another thing with the challenge, it took like five minutes for them to get the crane with the clue. So, we knew even if Misti had finished immediately, that they’d still have to wait for it.
Warren: And, their taxi driver wasn’t as good as ours. They got lost on the way to the crate challenge which is how we got there at the same time as them. Adam and Bethany had taxi problems too.

Holmes: Everyone I talked to said Jim was a very intense, very competitive guy. I’d have to imagine he’s got to be thinking, “We would’ve won if the Candy Girls had been eliminated at final four.”
DeJong: Probably! (Laughs)
Warren: It’s like we said to Brooke, we don’t make the rules.  It was about racing with the best, we didn’t need to bring anyone down. So, he might be saying it, he might be invited back for All-Stars. But we won fair and square.
DeJong: And we did it with integrity. We didn’t backstab. We didn’t talk bad about others.

Holmes: I actually wanted to talk about that. The wrestlers really tried to throw you under the bus that one time where you had to go to the five different locations. What was it like to learn about that after the fact?
DeJong: We knew that they had lied to us. It just wasn’t going to do us any good to fight with them. We had to stay focused and it was a new leg. We learned from our mistakes, we couldn’t trust them anymore.
Warren: It was our mistake, but it made for some great television. I’m very gullible. I trust until you give me a reason not to. They gave us a reason.

Holmes: So now that you guys are co-millionaires, what’re the plans for the check?
Warren: For me, I’m going to invest the money, be smart with it. I may not be a stunt person, I may open up an ice cream shop.
DeJong: I’m not sure yet, but I still have years left till my PhD, but it’ll be nice to not have to eat Ramen noodles. I have a lot of time yet where I’m making grad stipend money.
Holmes: Well, with my money I’m going to Maya’s ice cream shop.
Warren: Woop woop! (Laughs) We’re going to have “Amazing Race” inspired flavors.
Holmes: Like Keoghan chip?
Warren: Probably something with Detours, traveling the world…hopefully I’ll have an ice cream that looks like the world with blue and green and a little bit of white. We’ll see!

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Amazing Race’ Host Phil Keoghan – ‘The Favorites Right Now Are the Dentists’

December 19, 2014

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. This Monday we’ll have an interview with the new “Amazing Race” champion. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

Not many people know this, but “The Amazing Race” theme song has lyrics. It goes a little something like this…

“This race is…amazing!

See them race…amazing!”

There, now that’ll be stuck in your head tonight at 8 pm ET when you tune in to see the epic ending to the 25th season on CBS.

I had a chance to talk to the man who’s been there since day one, host Phil Keoghan, and asked him about the final four, Amy’s health, and how he feels about the show’s future…

Gordon Holmes: We’re heading into this finale and we’ve got four teams left. Put on your bookie hat, and tell me how you like each of these team’s chances.
Phil Keoghan: Well, based on their track records…I would say that the favorites right now are the dentists. They’ve won five legs. They’ve been attacking this race like a root canal. They’re going deep. They’ve got all their instruments out and their ready to inflict pain on the other racers. They want to win this bad and they think they deserve to win. I’d say the odds are in their favor.
Holmes: Good, I like the dentist analogy.
Keoghan: Then you have the most inspirational team with Adam and Bethany. They’ve had a very relaxed race. They seem to keep their cool like typical surfers. Everything is chill. They’ve brought that to the race and it’s worked for them very well. The pressure of a final challenge, we’ve seen the dentists and the other teams lose their composure, they seem to keep everything together.
Holmes: Who’s in third?
Keoghan: The wrestlers…they are very strong. Their strength and speed with which they move…their weakness is that they’re very flippant sometimes. They just charge in like a bull out of a gate without thinking things out too much. That could get them in trouble.
Holmes: And that leaves…
Keoghan: Yes, the least-favored to win would be the food scientists. I love these guys, but they’re the underdogs. Their strength is that they’re smart and Maya has so much energy. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone with as much energy as Maya.

Holmes: Why was the decision made to go with a final four and for them to keep on racing?
Keoghan: Just to throw them off their game. They’re expecting a final three and there’s been a final three for 24 seasons. The audience, looking at Twitter, they seem to like the idea.

Holmes: Was there any concern that Amy wasn’t going to be able to continue after how hard that delivery challenge was on her?
Keoghan: Yeah, there was. I knew they were OK because of the way the flights were going to be leaving after that stop heading back to America. I knew that there was a delay. It was a real concern. I pulled in a medic, we got her some hydration, we took her blood pressure, we looked at her vitals. We took our good old time. But, we were convinced that she was healthy and able to carry on.

Holmes: You’ve been doing something new this season that I really like where you’re doing a standup from inside the game. I think it’s really cool to have you explaining a challenge while a team runs by.
Keoghan: I also wanted to mix it up a bit. We always surprise people that we shoot 12 shows in 21 days. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but it’s been difficult to find the time to shoot what I need to shoot, then to be on the course as they’re coming through. I need to be ahead of the first team so we can drive the story forward. I think what people have liked about them is that it speaks to how the show is really shot as it’s happening. It’s not like, “Can you guys run back? I want to do one more take.” We’re catching them mid-race. It adds a different energy.
Holmes: It’s almost like a sideline commentator at a sporting event.
Keoghan: Well, what’s interesting is after all these years doing my introductions to the challenges, there are still people who ask if I go everywhere they go. Even though the shots show it. I think people disconnect that I’m actually there.
Holmes: They don’t green screen you in?
Keoghan: (Laughs) Well now people are saying, “Wow, you’re really on the course while they’re there.” And I have to say, “Yeah, I’ve always been on the course while they’re there.” We just shot a new season and we tried some new things again. But, I’m glad that you noticed that and appreciated it.

Holmes: OK, I said something nice, now I have to change the mood. How fair is it to have a surfing Fast Forward on a season with a pair of surfers?
Keoghan: Well, if you speak to anyone who does it, it’s different from regular surfing. One of our crew said it’s more like skateboarding than surfing. But, Adam and Bethany could have been eliminated in the first leg. They might have never gone for the Fast Forward. There’s always going to be the chance that something lends itself to a particular team.
Holmes: OK, but you have to promise me that when I go on the “Amazing Race” that there’s some kind of couch-sitting Fast Forward.
Keoghan: Yes, I’ve heard you’re the best at that.
Holmes: We all have our gifts.
Keoghan: The thing I love about the race is overall, it doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or a coal miner. At the end of the day you never know what you’re going to be doing or where you’re going to be doing it. You don’t know what skills are needed. Everything from milking a camel to walking on a tightrope. That, to me, is what makes it work.

Holmes: You’ve been there for all 25 seasons. What do you think you’re going to remember about this one when you look back at it when we hit season 50?
Keoghan: For me, I think it’ll be the way Bethany inspired our audience. I feel like she epitomizes the philosophy that I live by; no opportunity wasted. You focus on what you have and what you can do as opposed to what you don’t have and what you can’t do. She doesn’t talk about what she has. She doesn’t focus on the fact that she lost her arm. She wants to do something and she wants to do it well. It made our audience sit up and go, “Why am I talking about the fact that I’m short, or I can’t do this, when this woman is charging ahead and leading the way.”

Holmes: How do you feel about the future of “The Amazing Race.”
Keoghan: We’re still picking up audience members. And what I love now is that people are discovering the show and they’re going back and watching this body of work. It’s very addictive. If people sample episodes they’ll want to go back and watch more. So, be careful watching it, because it is addictive. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they’re new to the race and they’re going on binge-watching weekends. Which is crazy. There’s 25 seasons, close to a million racing miles.
Holmes: So there should be some kind of Surgeon’s General warning.
Keoghan: I think so. It could be hazardous to the life of your TV.
Holmes: And if you aren’t watching it with other people, it’s going to be hazardous to your social life.
Keoghan: It is a show that is about grandparents with grandkids and a broad range of demographics.
Holmes: My girlfriend and I will sit there and talk about which challenge we’d do, or which one of us would be better at the challenge. It’s like “Amazing Race” the home game.
Keoghan: I love that about our show. We’re blessed.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Amazing Race’ Host on Natalie’s Possible ‘Survivor’ Win: ‘What an Upset, Right?!’

December 17, 2014

'Survivor'/'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” This Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the season finale, and starting Thursday you’ll be able to watch the finale and read interviews with the new champion and the other castaways. Be sure to follow Gordon Holmes on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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Former “Survivor” players have been ripping open “Amazing Race” clues for years.  “Boston” Rob and Amber, Jenna and Ethan, and Keith and Whitney have all traded in their colored buffs for giant backpacks. And while their journeys were very different, they all ended with “Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan telling them that they were the last team to arrive and that they have been eliminated.

No team had ever gone the other way until “Race” favorites Natalie and Nadiya, “The Twinnies,” signed up for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water.”

I spoke with Keoghan on the eve of the “Survivor” finale and had a chance to get his thoughts on what could be an “Amazing Race” win if Natalie can make it to tonight’s Tribal Council and get the votes she needs…

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor:  San Juan del Sur” and “The Amazing Race

Gordon Holmes: The “Survivor” finale is tonight and Natalie of “Amazing Race” fame is in a decent position to win the whole thing. If she pulls it off, are you going to give Jeff Probst some grief?
Phil Keoghan: (Laughs) No.
Holmes: Cause I love to give Probst grief.
Keoghan: I think it’s amazing. It’s the first time, if I’m not mistaken that an “Amazing Race” player has gone over to another franchise like that. Goodness knows we’ve done it a few times. She’s representing and she’s there. What an upset, right?! Nobody saw that coming.

Holmes: I was debating this with some friends; Probst gets to go to one location for 39 days while you get to go to many locations for 21 days. He gets to know one place better, while you see a wide variety of places for shorter periods of time. Who has the better gig?
Keoghan: I’m sure we’d both have our arguments. I love that he owns his gig, he has a passion for “Survivor” and he’s really made that show his own. I can’t imagine that show without him. I was up for that show and now I can’t imagine having done it because I’ve been so involved in “Race.”
Holmes: But is it better to see many places quickly, or to take your time and get to know one place really well?
Keoghan: Well, what I like about my gig is I do get to see more and that it’s this frantic…I love the pace of the shooting. It’s without a doubt the toughest job I’ve ever done in my life as far as trying to stay on top of my game. It’s not easy. But, I feel really lucky that I’ve had this opportunity. I feel like it came in my career at the right time. There are very few gigs that would appeal to me like this. I think “Survivor” would be a fun thing to do, I was very excited about it when it was a possibility. But, ultimately it’s worked out for the best.

Don’t miss the finale of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” tonight at 8p ET on CBS.

And, don’t miss the finale of “The Amazing Race” this Friday, December 19 at 8p ET on CBS.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

‘Amazing Race’s’ Keith & Whitney – Shelley & Nici ‘Were Being Kind of Nasty’

October 29, 2014

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. Every Monday after an elimination leg, we’ll have an interview with the team that was sent packing and the full episode. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

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In “Survivor: South Pacific,” John Cochran felt like he was being bullied by the Savaii tribe. When given the chance he jumped ship and eventually sent Keith Tollefson and Whitney Duncan packing.

But, don’t feel bad for the duo, they found something much better than a million dollars…they found love.

Quick Note: I hate myself for writing that last line.

Anywho, fast forward a few years later to “The Amazing Race” where Shelley and Nici thought they were being bullied by “Team Nashville.” When given the chance, the mother/daughter team used their U-Turn and you know the rest.

I spoke to Keith and Whitney in the days following their elimination and asked about their run-in with Shelley and Nici, their unique style of communication, and when we’ll see them on “Big Brother”…

Gordon Holmes: I chatted with you two individually on a beach in Samoa before you two fell in love.
Whitney Duncan: Yes you did!
Holmes: So, it’s always kind of cool to have that picture of you two. These two are on this beach in the middle of nowhere and they can’t talk. But they’re going to fall for each other.
Duncan: Aww… That’s awesome.
Tollefson: You were there before it all happened.
Holmes: Not that I had anything to do with it.

Holmes: You delayed your wedding to run this crazy race. Has there been a wedding since then?
Duncan: Yes, we got married when we got back from filming in July. So, we’ve been married three months now.
Tollefson: Marital bliss.
Duncan: We just got a puppy too!
Holmes: What kind?
Duncan: We rescued him…he’s like a shar-pei…kind of a…
Tollefson: He’s a mutt.
Duncan: Yeah, he’s a mutt. But he’s a cute mutt.

Holmes: What exactly happened with Shelley and Nici after that challenge?
Tollefson: Everyone was trying to find the tannery where he had to bring our hides. Everyone is bringing their bikes back. The entire group came to the mat at the same time. When Nici got there, she basically ran right to her mother. I ran right to the guy that had the next clue. As soon as I get there, I’m about to hand her the receipt and she starts screaming and yelling at me. “We were here first!” And she grabs my shoulder and tries to pull me off the mat. And basically, I overreacted. I should have held my composure better. When she started pulling me off the mat, I yelled at her,“You’re not allowed to touch me. Don’t touch me.” And then she did it again. She was screaming in my face.
Duncan: She was screaming that his partner wasn’t there. I was carrying the bags. Basically, the guy wasn’t ready to hand over the clues yet. I wasn’t standing next to Keith. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t. I got there within a couple of seconds. I was standing behind them, they wouldn’t let me through. But the funny thing about the whole dang thing is there was no lead. Everyone was there. We literally got our clue within one second of each other.
Tollefson: We didn’t get an advantage by doing that. We made an enemy and whoever got to the U-Turn first was going to get the other team. Which is exactly what happened.  I would’ve thought; let’s U-Turn the dentists, they have a save and we have to get that out of play.
Holmes: Leave it to the “Survivor” guy to try to flush the idol.
Duncan: (Laughs) Exactly, right?

Holmes: If you’d beaten Shelley and Nici to the U-Turn, would you have U-Turned them?
Duncan: Emotionally I wanted to U-Turn Shelley and Nici. This is an ongoing thing. It isn’t the first time we’d dealt with them. Earlier that day they’d tried to get someone to not let us into the customs line. Shelley was going around saying, “Don’t let them through!” But, they were being kind of nasty. Strategically though, I think it was smarter to U-Turn Misti and Jim. And it wouldn’t have put them out of the game. It’d upset Jim and he’s so intense and scary, but it was very easy to say, “We’re not trying to make an enemy out of you, it was just to get the save out of the game.”
Holmes: As far as your reality TV nemeses go; where do Shelley and Nici rank vs. Cochran?
Duncan: The Cochran thing…it was so long ago. I have nothing against him. I think he made a dumber move than they did. It was a much bigger move in the game. I wouldn’t even call it a move. I don’t know, what do you think Keith?

Holmes: Did we lose Keith?
Duncan: Keith are you still there?
Holmes: I think we’ve lost Keith.
Tollefson: Wait, I’m back.
Holmes: We were talking about you when you were gone.
Tollefson: (Laughs)
Duncan: I knew something was wrong, I thought, “He’s letting me talk for way too long.” (Laughs)
Holmes: Well, that kind of leads into one of the things I wanted to ask you about. We didn’t get a great feel for your personalities on “Survivor.” But on “The Amazing Race” you were digging into each other and going at it. What was your family’s reaction to getting to see more of that side of your relationship?
Tollefson: They know us. It’s not us fighting. It’s just how we react to each other. We’re both extremely competitive. So, instead of being nice to each other, we’re just saying “What do you want to do? Tell me now, it has to be ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” It’s not as nice as Bethany and Adam where they’re like, “What do you want to do baby?”
Duncan: “I don’t know, honey! What do you want to do?”
Tollefson: (Laughs) It’s not a bad thing, we’re just a little more intense. I have a lot of respect for Whitney’s opinion, and I need it when I ask for it. I can’t be wishy-washy.
Duncan: He analyzes a lot more than I do. I’ll just make a decision.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Kym and Alli.
Duncan: Competitors.
Tollefson: They’re staying away from the pack. They’re being smart.
Holmes: Adam and Bethany?
Duncan: Sweet. Gnarly…in a good way.
Tollefson: They’re really nice. Nothing bothers them.
Duncan: In real life we would hang with Adam and Bethany.
Holmes: Tim and Te Jay?
Duncan: They’re funny. They’re so funny.
Tollefson: Unique.
Holmes: Shelley and Nici?
Tollefson: Miserable.
Holmes: Brooke and Robbie?
Duncan: Hilarious.
Tollefson: Entertaining.
Holmes: Misti and Jim?
Duncan: Intense for Jim, sweet for Misti.
Tollefson: Jim controlled the situation…arrogant.
Duncan: He is kind of arrogant.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Amy and Maya.
Duncan: They’re really nice girls. Down to Earth.
Tollefson: They’re the girls next door.

Holmes: So, when are we going to see you two on “Big Brother”?
Duncan: (Laughs) Never.
Tollefson: I don’t understand the game well enough. It seems complicated. And I’ve had enough problems with two reality shows already.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Amazing Race’s’ Scott & Michael: ‘We Kept Fighting, You Never Give Up’

October 15, 2014

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. Every Monday after an elimination leg, we’ll have an interview with the team that was sent packing and the full episode. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

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Teams on “The Amazing Race” have come to expect almost anything. Ponies that lose their minds, compasses that are nearly impossible to work, and marker-stealing realtors are pretty much par for the course.

But something as innocent as a low curb on a poorly lit street? Nobody goes into the game expecting to get hurt. “The Amazing Race’s” Boston Strong firefighters were able to overcome a freak injury but fell victim to some bad advice.

I had a chance to speak to Michael and Scott  in the days following their elimination and asked about their wrong step, their wrong turn, and markergate…

Gordon Holmes: First and foremost; Scott, how’s the ankle?
Scott Strazzullo: My ankle’s hanging in there, Gordon. It’s been a little bit sore. It’s like a high-ankle sprain. I’ve been doing some exercises and physical therapy with it. It’s been better.
Gordon: I guess they didn’t get footage of the actual accident. What happened?
Scott: Mike and I were running down the street at a good pace. We were really on a comeback. And the area we were at had a lot of cobblestones and high curbs. We were taking a peek at the map. I played a lot of football and I never got injured, then I get injured on a curb. I stepped on it and rolled forward and my own body weight went over the ankle. It blew up very quickly.
Gordon: Michael, did you give any thought to hoisting him up on your back?
Michael Ward: (Laughs) Gordon! I’m a strong guy. But a man’s got to know his limitations. I got a good view of it all and ironically the other times we had no problem. We were running from the start line to the train station. We wanted to get their quickly because if you miss it by a few minutes it could put you hours behind. We didn’t see anybody else out there. If you miss a train, you’ve got nobody else to blame. There was not much light, and he was running sideways and reading the map trying to read the light. There was a little curb and he caught his ankle the wrong way.
Gordon: So, no fireman’s carry? I watch wrestling, I know all about that.
Scott:  (Laughs) I think he was more likely to drag me.
Michael: We were actually going to use a wheelchair at one point, but we couldn’t get it off the boat.

Gordon: It seems like you guys still ran a really solid leg. No pun intended. You were even in the lead over Tim and Te Jay before you ended up getting some bum advice with identifying the pendant.
Scott: We got out of there and we were moving at a good clip. What tied us up is we couldn’t run and go look for things like we normally would. We went to a hotel and they didn’t know what we had there. People said we shouldn’t have gone to a bar. But it was the afternoon and people weren’t drinking. We thought the locals would know what they were talking about. People ask why we didn’t go to the museum, well we didn’t find it initially.

Gordon: To rewind a little bit, I spoke to Lisa and Michelle after they were eliminated, and they claim they were at the board first and that’s why it was OK for them to heartlessly tear the marker from your hands. What’s your take on that?
Michael: We love Lisa and Michelle. They’re sweethearts. If America had gotten to see them, they would’ve had a different impression of them. Nobody wants to get knocked out early. There’s a battle to survive. It’s understandable.
Scott: We had no malice towards them at all. I think we were first at the pole. We were there first and Mike definitely had the pen in his hand. I admire their moxie. You go all out. We went all out.
Michael: We had a pen first in our hand that we brought with us, to make notes. We had the pen ready. It was a grease board so that pen wouldn’t write. I had already written an “M” and an “I.” When I was writing, I then grabbed the grease pen because I saw they were going to dive for it. They pulled it out of my hand. It was all instantaneous.
Scott: It seemed like a cheaply done thing, but we weren’t going to cry over it.

Gordon: What’s the reaction been like back home?
Scott: They know us very well. I think a lot of people thought we were going to do better. But I also think it was one of those things where they saw what happened and they saw that we kept fighting. You never give up. You never know what’s going to happen. We were in the back of the pack, and I think if some of that stuff didn’t happen, we were going to take the lead. We were a fast team, even if you didn’t get to really see that.
Michael: We actually pulled into the parking lot at the museum. We were not stupid players.
Gordon: I never got that impression.
Michael: There was one team behind us. We didn’t know if they were 10 seconds behind or what. You have to assume they’re on our tail. For Scott to get in and out of that car was a lot of work. We pulled into the lot that said, “Museum Parking” but then we saw the hotel. You have to go with locals. You have to rely on people in each area for information or you don’t succeed. The woman didn’t know. We appreciated her honestly. It’s not like we could run up these hills. We didn’t have that option. So, the next building we saw was the bar. They were locals. They gave us the history of that brooch. He knew all about it. He said they make them up at this store. The store we went to sold them. They made them there.

Gordon: You guys always seemed to be at the back of the pack. But I think you’re going to leave behind a legacy of staying positive in the face of some bad luck.
Michael: We tried to find the good in things. We work under a lot of pressure. We see a lot of bad things.
Scott: Keep moving forward no matter what.
Michael: There were several teams that don’t get along so well with each other. Scott and I, we always try to encourage each other. Negativity breeds negativity.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Amazing Race’s’ Dennis & Isabelle: ‘We Didn’t Pee in the Boat and We Didn’t Quit’

October 6, 2014

'Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. Every Monday after an elimination leg, we’ll have an interview with the team that was sent packing and the full episode. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

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“Are you crying?! There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!” – Jimmy Dugan – “A League of Their Own

That might be the rule in baseball, but it certainly didn’t work like that on the most recent episode of “The Amazing Race.” Tears were flying from both teams as Dennis and Isabelle and Shelly and Nici raced for the finish line.

Unfortunately for Dennis and Isabelle, Shelly and Nici got the happy Hollywood ending.

I spoke with Dennis and Isabelle shortly after their elimination and had a chance to ask about the finer points of punt steering, Nici’s improvised bathroom break, and their emotional end…

Gordon Holmes: I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of a guy, so let me start by saying at least you didn’t have to pee on your boat on national TV.
Isabelle Du: (Laughs)
Dennis Hour: (Laughs) We didn’t pee in the boat and we didn’t quit the challenge.
Isabelle: We never quit, we just kept going.

Gordon: Walk me through the punt process. What was causing you kids so much trouble?
Dennis: It’s the current. And steering a boat with a stick in shallow water.
Isabelle: And there were parts that were deep.
Dennis: Yeah, some parts were deep. So, sometimes it would stick. And if you’re not used to punting, you don’t know where the shallow part is.
Isabelle: You’re literally taking a stick and digging it into the mud. And it’s kind of really murky. So, you couldn’t tell where it was. And the current at one point was pulling us in different ways. We were running into the rocks, we were running into the trees. All of us fell. Multiple times. Everybody. Everybody was screaming at each other.
Gordon: Was this a situation where some of the stronger players like Robbie or Keith would have more luck with it?
Isabelle: I don’t think so. If you got there early, the current wasn’t as bad. Later in the day the current got stronger. There was also a time issue. And if you have people like Bethany and Adam who are so used to the water, they’re going to know how to navigate it. Dennis and I are not always in the water. We’re not as familiar with currents. If anything, we wished we’d held onto the rocks more which is what the other teams did.
Dennis: By the time we figured out we were able to grab onto the wall, it was a little too late.

Gordon: How far ahead were Shelly and Nici by the time you finished the challenge?
Dennis: We were rolling to the docks and they had just finished. I saw them running and we grabbed our stuff and raced behind them.
Isabelle: We were very close.

Gordon: Isabelle, you got very emotional during that last sprint to the end. What was it that caused you to react so strongly?
Isabelle: (Laughs) We were so close. I don’t think people realize how far ahead we were of so many teams.
Dennis: When we got into London, we raced to the front of the pack very quickly.
Isabelle: It sucks when you’re so ahead and you fall behind in this one challenge. For us, I can’t believe I got so emotional. But, this is our dream. Can you imagine finally accomplishing your dream and being so close to it and then losing it all? It was really hard to swallow. We are huge fans of this show and we knew we were really behind. I know people made a lot of comments about me crying.
Dennis: It hurt because we knew we were that close. Our taxi driver could have driven faster or we could’ve gotten to the docks earlier.
Isabelle: There were barely any taxis around there. We were running around looking for one.

Gordon: You probably learn a lot about your partner on “Amazing Race.” Sometimes you’ll see a duo and the one of them will be like, “Babe! C’mon! Be faster!”
Isabelle: (Laughs)
Gordon: But it seemed like Dennis was super supportive. That has to be a nice takeaway.
Isabelle: It made me want to cry more.
Gordon: Oh, then you should’ve yelled at her, Dennis.
Isabelle: (Laughs)
Dennis: We fought beforehand. By the time we were in the middle of London we were working very well together.
Isabelle: We decided after that we should have fought more! We would’ve gotten it done. We were trying so hard to get along. We were trying so hard to be supportive that we lost track of the fact that there were other teams around us. And watching it, I’ve always known that I can feel Dennis’s love. I had tunnel-vision and I didn’t hear everything he said. So, to hear it again, it’s really comforting. I think it’s made us a stronger couple.

Gordon: That was actually my next question; are you still a dating couple?
Dennis: Yes, we are. Our new hashtag is #thedatingstrongcouple.
Isabelle: (Laughs) Yeah, and afterwards we really had to reevaluate our relationship together because we’d never had to work together as a team. “Amazing Race” really did bring us together. And then we started a blog together, it’s a style blog called “My Boyfriend’s Clothes” where I wear his clothes my way, and then he wears his clothes my way. It’s this project that we do together, it’s continued to glue us together.
Gordon: Any talk of you two becoming an engaged strong couple?
Isabelle: (Laughs)
Dennis: That is the #1 question I get! I’m not going to spoil anything.
Gordon: Good “Amazing Race’ partners don’t come around every day, you’ve got to lock that down.
Dennis: (Laughs)
Isabelle: Thank you! I like that.
Gordon: I’m starting to sound like my mother.
Isabelle: We’re in no rush, but we definitely talk about it.
Dennis: We know where we’re at.

Gordon: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Adam and Bethany.
Isabelle: Water savvy.
Gordon: Misty and Jim?
Dennis: White teeth.
Isabelle: Awesome.
Gordon: Kim and Alli?
Dennis: Intense.
Isabelle: Tough.
Gordon: Keith and Whitney?
Isabelle: “Survivor”? (Laughs)
Dennis: Can’t find the treasure.
Gordon: Tim and Te Jay?
Isabelle: Love them. Dynamite.
Dennis: Awesome.
Gordon: Michael and Scott?
Isabelle: Ridiculous.
Dennis: The funniest people I know.
Gordon: Brooke and Robbie?
Isabelle: Hilarious.
Dennis: Saucy.
Gordon: Amy and Maya?
Isabelle: Underdogs.
Dennis: Extremely bubbly.
Gordon: And we’ll finish with Shelly and Nici.
Dennis: Feisty.
Isabelle: I’m going to say ridiculous too.

Gordon: Did the game ruin pancakes for you?
Dennis: I’m OK with pancakes. I don’t want to ever see any kind of punting again.
Isabelle: I was pretty proud of my pancakes. I wish they’d zoomed in on my pancakes a little more.
Gordon: Maybe at the wedding reception you should have some kind of crepe station.
Isabelle: As an homage to the episode! (Laughs)

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Amazing Race’s’ Lisa and Michelle: ‘We Lost Over a Cab Ride’

September 29, 2014

'The Amazing Race' (CBS)

Note: XFINITY is the perfect pit stop for “Amazing Race” fans. Every Monday after an elimination leg, we’ll have an interview with the team that was sent packing and the full episode. Follow @gordonholmes on Twitter for immediate updates.

[xfinity-record-button id=”4975744712465744112″ program_type=”series”]

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

You reap what you sow…

Turnabout is fair play…

However you word it, Boston firefighters Michael and Scott didn’t feel bad about not letting Lisa and Michelle into their cab after the Miami realtors swiped a pen out of their hands.

I spoke with Lisa and Michelle after their elimination and had a chance to ask them about marker possession, shovel substitutes, and taxi affection interruption etiquette…

Gordon Holmes: Alright, tell me about the marker incident. My understanding is that people were trying to sign up for a flight and there was some confusion as to who had legal possession of the marker.
Lisa Thomson: It was the firefighters who claimed that we took the marker from them. Michelle and I were at the board too, so Mike grabbed the pen and then I grabbed the pen out of his hand because we were there first, which means that we should have been on the next plane. And we didn’t want to be on the last plane because we thought that was the pit stop. So, at that point we’d do anything to not be on the last plane.
Gordon: So you confess to pen theft.
Lisa: We took the pen from them, but we were there first.

Watch the Premiere of ‘The Amazing Race’

Gordon: How long were you guys out there for the digging challenge?
Lisa: Probably about four hours. It was a long time. It felt like ten hours. We were out there digging and digging. If you’ve ever used a shovel, it’s extremely difficult. My hands, I couldn’t even feel them. They were raw. They were bleeding. And unfortunately we still didn’t get the treasure.
Gordon: Keith was doing it too. He’s this muscular giant and he was having a hard time.
Michelle Thomson: Lisa can hold her own with the boys, let me tell you. She dug as hard as them.
Lisa: I was out there with Keith who is super tall.
Michelle: He’s a Survivor!
Lisa: I held my own. I wasn’t the one who wanted to give up. I wasn’t the one who wanted the penalty. I would have stayed out there for a week.
Gordon: He’s used to starving on a beach for a month and here he is wiped out.
Lisa: (Laughs) Poor Keith. I love Keith and Whitney, they’re great people.

Gordon: When you watched the episode and they showed where the chest actually was…that had to be heartbreaking.
Lisa: It was because of all the effort we put into trying to find it. We would have done anything.
Gordon: I’d rather not know where it was.
Lisa: (Laughs) At some point we wondered if it even existed. We were getting the same spot over and over.
Michelle: There was only like a foot-length distance every time it was measured. You had to measure it with the shovel and it was complicated to drag that heavy shovel.
Gordon: I was wondering if there was some way you could have used a shoelace or something lighter.
Lisa: We did.
Michelle: Lisa actually broke a branch, because it was lighter than the shovel. She used that for a while, but it ended up taking her to the same spot.

Gordon: Keith and Whitney made the call to forfeit the challenge. Walk me through what all goes into making that decision.
Lisa: Well, I was still digging and I think Whitney and Michelle spoke. Is that correct?
Michelle: Yeah, I couldn’t help Lisa, so I wanted to see how the other teams were doing. I saw that Scott and Keith were struggling. So, it got to the point where we’re watching them dig to China. And Whitney saw that Keith was really drained, so they decided to take the penalty. And they said the firefighters were going to take the penalty too. At that point, we knew if we didn’t find the chest before the penalty was up, that we’d be the last team. So, we had nothing to lose.

Gordon: So, it all came down to the cabs.
Michelle: It was a 3-2-1-go kind of thing. Keith is a freaking…he’s a little runner. He was the first one. Then it was Lisa, then it was me, Whitney…and Scott was last. We fought over the one taxi and we lost. And at that point the other cabs had taken off and we were waiting for our cab driver to turn on his cab.
Gordon: He wouldn’t turn on his cab?
Lisa: Yeah, cause there were only two real cabs and the other was like some weird cab on the side. Our driver…I don’t even know what planet he was on. (Laughs) We knew when it took him five minutes to get in the car that we’d lost our shot.
Michelle: It was like the cab driver and his girlfriend. I don’t think they were even there to drive a cab. They were annoyed with the fact that we were in their cab to begin with.
Lisa: (Laughs) Yeah, I think they were hooking up when we jumped in. They weren’t excited at all.

Gordon: Alright, let’s try some word association. We’ll start with Misty and Jim.
Lisa: Teeth, sparkle teeth. (Laughs)
Gordon: Tim and Te Jay?
Michelle: They’re fun. They’re high energy.
Gordon: Brooke and Robbie?
Michelle: They’re a riot. They’re goofy.
Lisa: They’re fun to watch.
Gordon: Adam and Bethany:
Lisa: They’re invincible.
Gordon: Amy and Maya.
Michelle: Smart. Geniuses. Nobody got to see Amy with the compass. She was quick with it.
Gordon: Shelly and Nici?
Michelle: They’re high energy.
Lisa: Very argumentative. (Laughs)
Michelle: We get along with them.
Gordon: Michael and Scott?
Michelle: Boston strong.
Lisa: They’re great guys.
Michelle: They’re clowns.

Gordon: You’re first out, and that sucks…
Lisa: What are you talking about, it’s great. (Laughs)
Gordon: That’s the right attitude.
Lisa: No, it does suck.
Michelle: We would have rather lost over something other than a cab. That was frustrating.
Lisa: Like if we had lost because we couldn’t find the treasure, that’d be OK. That’s why it was so hard to swallow.
Gordon: I literally had this conversation on Friday where I said my worst “Amazing Race” fear would be losing because of something out of my control like a bad cab or a delayed flight.
Michelle: You know why we look like sore losers? Because Lisa and I really prepared a lot for the race. I didn’t want to work out as much as I did, but I thought it’d pay off. And we lost over a cab ride. And we have so much more to prove. It was really hard to take in.
Lisa: We weren’t sore losers, we were just disappointed that we couldn’t finish. We’re just disappointed in ourselves.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

‘Big Brother’ Star Jeff Schroeder to Host Two CBS Reality TV Recaps

September 24, 2014

Jeff Schroeder and Jordan Lloyd (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to go for “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” coverage with “all the fixin’s.” We’ll have Power Rankings with “Cagayan” fave Spencer Bledsoe, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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OK, “Big Brother” is ending tonight and “Survivor” is beginning. Also, this Friday marks the premiere of “The Amazing Race.”

Wait, “Amazing Race” isn’t on Sunday anymore? And why are “The Amazing Race’s” Twinnies on “Survivor”? And why are “Survivor’s” Keith and Whitney on “The Amazing Race”?

So confusing. Fortunately, CBS’s new reality maven (although he doesn’t like that title) Jeff Schroeder will be able to clear up all of these mysteries and more when he takes the reins of’s “Survivor Live” and the new show “CBS Reality Remix.”

I spoke with the former “Big Brother” and “Amazing Race” contestant shortly after the announcement of the new shows and had a chance to ask him about his new gig, his hosting style, and what the “Big Brother” house really smells like…

Gordon Holmes: Now what’s this I hear about you having a big announcement today?
Jeff Schroeder: Well, I have two big announcements, actually. I’m going to be doing two shows on, one the “Survivor Live” show which is awesome because I’m a huge fan. And then, we’re going to be doing, kind of like a best-of thing for “Survivor” and “Amazing Race,” kind of like what’s viral for that week and the hot topics. I couldn’t be more excited.
Holmes: “Survivor” Hall of Famer Parvati Shallow was the previous host of “Survivor Live,” so you’re stepping into some pretty big shoes. What new things do you bring to the table?
Schroeder: I’m definitely not trying to fill any shoes. She was a master of the game, one of the best to play ever. And she brings a different angle than I do. I’m bringing more of a fan’s perspective. I’m a fan of the show; I’ve never played that game. I have an interesting perspective having played “Big Brother” and “The Amazing Race.” I think the questions that I have are going to be closer to the fans’ questions as opposed to being inside the game. I’m going to be more of a fan, which is great because we want interaction with the fans.

Holmes: What’re your early thoughts on the return of the “Blood vs. Water” twist?
Schroeder: The first thought that goes in is the layers to the voting. I’m a recent fan to “Survivor.” I watched the last five or six seasons and “Blood vs. Water” one with Hayden (Moss) from “Big Brother” was one of them. And I was a huge fan. But the voting process from “Blood vs. Water” to regular “Survivor,” it’s a lot different to have your loved one there. I could relate to that, because every reality show I’ve done with CBS, I’ve had my loved one there. I can relate to the thinking process.
Holmes: Say you’re out there with your new fiancee Jordan…you think you could vote her out?
Schroeder: (Laughs) No matter what happens she’d make it further than me. I don’t know if I could vote her out.
Holmes: Who do you like from the new cast?
Schroeder: I was a big fan of John Rocker. I’m an older guy, so I want to see his antics. That’s the big thing I’m looking forward to. I’m hoping he stays in the game a little bit longer and gets crazy like John Rocker does.
Holmes: As a Cardinals fan, you won’t catch me supporting John Rocker.
Schroeder: (Laughs) It’s reality TV! You want to see the outbursts. And I think John Rocker is going to bring those moments. And a younger audience, who may not know who John Rocker is, hopefully this gives them a bit of a surprise.

Holmes: Now speaking of Jordan, not everyone gets to propose on national television. What was that process like?
Schroeder: It was a couple of months coming. We had this idea floating around for a while. And working with CBS, and Fly on the Wall, “Big Brother,” and, it was a team effort for sure. We finally whittled it down to a date and that last week was just craziness. It was a total surprise. Jordan thought we were going to host a competition. I had her family fly in, my family fly in, I was juggling all that. People are texting me, it was a super stressful day. And Jordan had no clue. I had no idea how she didn’t find out. Then the day of was just amazing. The yard looked awesome. She was totally shocked. Everyone did a great job. Then we had Brett Eldredge come in and sing that song. It was just a perfect song. It was the perfect day. We’ve watched it 100 times at least. The way it happened, we were so blown away that we almost missed the moment.
Holmes: I’m picturing the biggest day of your life. You’re very nervous. You enter the house for your special moment…and you come face to face with that smell.
Schroeder: (Laughs)
Holmes: Did that almost ruin the mood?
Schroeder: They’d just made lunch and they’d been in there a long time. The smell was a combination of sandwiches and feet. I’d been in there twice, I feel their pain. Other people have told me, “When you guys leave, it stinks in there.” I was giving them a hard time. Cody was mortified. But, it lightened the mood.
Holmes: This is perfect for you. “Survivor” players are used to smelling bad.
Schroeder: Exactly! The more I grow, the more I learn.

Holmes: Alright, break out your crystal ball. “Big Brother” finale tonight. What’s going to happen?
Schroeder: Derrick’s going to win that final HOH challenge. And I don’t think he’s going to take his boy Cody. He’s going to take Victoria and they’re going to be the final two. Cody is going to be bitter, but Derrick is going to reveal his inner workings in the house. He’s going to reveal that he’s a police officer. I don’t think Victoria has a chance against Derrick…or even Cody. So, I think Derrick wins the money. Cody will be upset that he takes third. Victoria will take second. And Donny takes home America’s Favorite.
Holmes: When it’s all said and done, where do you think Derrick will rank amongst the all-time champs?
Schroeder: In my eyes, in getting to know the game and watching him play. His moves were so calculated.  He’d walk into a room and someone would be thinking one thing, and he’d make them think what he wanted them think. I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe the closest is Dan or Dr. Will. So, I’d put Derrick definitely in the top five of game players of all time.

Holmes: So, now that you’re the go-to guy for CBS reality, do you get an official title? Like a reality maven?
Schroeder: (Laughs) Just Jeff works for me. I’m a regular guy and I think that’s why I can relate to these shows and the people who watch these shows are like me. I can speak for them and ask the questions they want to ask. And with social media I can get their exact questions. And if the people have any questions for the “Survivor” castaways they can use the hashtag “#survivorlive.”

Don’t miss the 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” and the 90-minute finale of “Big Brother” starting on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.

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