It sounds weird, but last night's Emmy win for The Amazing Race was unexpected. Sure, we've had good success in the past decade, but in the meantime other shows have upped their game. They've raised the stakes and their production values. They've deepened their connection with their core fan bases.
The reality-competition segment has become more, well, competitive. And as Earth seems to become a more violent and unpleasant place with each day's headlines, maybe it is better to focus one's attention at home. Maybe the spirit of the age is better served by shows about dancing, or cooking, or singing songs. Or about making clothes. These are simple things. Glamorous, but safe. Enough with this aspirational show and its jets and its glaciers and its skydiving and its culture. The world is big and scary.
Or… maybe not.
If you listen to Bertram van Munster's acceptance speech, you can hear the surprise in his voice. The humility as he thanks everyone at the network for believing in us, and as he thanks the team who put the show together (that's me! …and a few hundred other people).
But right before the band plays him off, Bert adds something remarkable: a note of hopefulness, a refutation of the idea that we should isolate ourselves, play it safe. An implicit challenge to get out there and do stuff in the world. It's the spirit of curiosity, of engagement with different people—in short, the call to adventure—that has fueled this thing for thirteen years and counting.
"The world is not a bad place, actually. You can go safely to a lot of places… contrary to what they make you believe."
It's not deep, really, but it made me even prouder than usual to work on this show.
Today the world's a little happier for me, and for the hundreds of people who work on The Amazing Race, for winning our tenth Outstanding Reality-Competition Emmy. We'll see you in Times Square, New York, in one month for an all-new adventure!