It had been 8 years since we saw the competition show, hosted for 4 seasons by actor Grant Bowler and 1 by Tom Williams.
Such was the enthusiasm for the show that it regularly topped polls on this site gauging viewer anticipation. But since the show debuted, the reaction has been less than enthusiastic, reflected in overnight ratings and rescheduled by Seven from 3 nights a week to just 1.
But those same viewers have also been calling for the return of The Amazing Race Australia, shelved for the year in favour of The Mole.
In its first season TARA did great business in an early timeslot against MasterChef Australia, with solid ratings plus plenty of buzz in media and social. Last year it faced stiff competition from The Voice on Nine and was moved to a 9pm timeslot following Australia’s Got Talent, which attracts an older demo. It even went into a hiatus during the Olympic Games making it harder for the audience to connect.
The Amazing Race Australia proved to be a rare case of a local series adaptation being just as good as the original, backed up by an International Emmy award, an AACTA Award, plus Director’s Guild nominations and two Asian TV Awards. It was the first Reality show to film in Cuba and of the international Amazing Race franchise, it remains the only international version to race in Israel, outside of the local Israeli version.
You can also see its legacy in the casting of other hit Seven shows: My Kitchen Rules and House Rules now cast their couples with Amazing Race-like branding, sometimes even down to the colour coding.
With so many accolades, it begs the question, why is Seven holding off a third season? It even called for contestants last year for a third season.
And if they don’t want the show, could another network pick it up?
The short answer to that is: nope, not yet.
Seven still retains rights to The Amazing Race brand and has a close relationship with format-holders Disney. Co-creator Bertram van Munster knows Seven has been with the Race since day one and is fond of Seven CEO Tim Worner. But he was also a consultant on the Australian series and keeps a close eye on the show’s performances around the world, including time slot moves and audiences.
Disney declined to comment for this article.
activeTV, which produced TARA, has since produced versions in The Philippines, Ukraine, Israel and is planning another in Asia.
activeTV also declined to comment.
Fortunately, Seven did comment when approached by TV Tonight.
“It’s one of our favourites here at Seven and is under consideration for 2014,” a spokesperson said.
So over to you, dear reader.
Should Seven return The Amazing Race Australia next year?