Should Seven resume The Amazing Race Australia?

2013-07-17_2221When Seven announced a reboot of The Mole, fans got excited.

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?


  1. Regardless what time it goes to air, i am loyal to it, it is an amazing show that if played in good frequency does engage the crowd. I was not a big tv person, but the amazing race showed something different, something that is complete with surprises, physical and mental challenges, human bahaviour analysis and metrics, where rules are clear, contestants are in most cases fully aware of them and engage expectators to associate them with individual contestants – a feeling and a behaviour similar to supporting your favourite sports team. Said that the amazing race is not just another reality show, it has very interesting aspects throughout its production that manages to create a bond between expectators, contestants, challenges faced, and most importantly the feeling of making it so real that does leave you in the edge of your seat, in simple words, it makes you feel the time you spent in…

  2. Of course it should return. If only Channel 7 can put it on at 7.30 so that the whole family can watch it… and then keep it there.
    There are ways to make it cheaper to produce and I am hoping that Active have been thinking about all the options, but Channel 7 do have to come to the party.
    It is an Emmy award winning show, amongst all the other awards it has received. It finished off with over 1.1 million viewers. Yes, is costly to produce……but something of quality costs money. Channel 7 need to stop churning out cheaper reality shows which viewers “see right through” and actually invest a good timeslot to a quality program.

  3. Agree with comments that Grant Bowler should have hosted the Mole, i don’t like the new host or anything else much about the show this year. Grant does that sorta job really well, probably because of his acting background he lends a dramatic flavour to the show which helps build up the intrigue of ‘who is the Mole’ etc.
    As for TAR, i’ve never been a big fan, part of what turned me off when i did watch it is that annoying background music, its supposed to build suspense i know, but if they made it not as loud it could still be effective but not as annoying.

  4. With Grant Bowler’s international star power these days even the Ozzie version could get a gernsey being shown in the US. C’mon 7 look at how the Mole is just sucking big time!

  5. Yes, but they have to do it properly. A decent selection of countries – not just island-country opening, China/India, half a leg in Western Europe – and decent, culturally relevant tasks instead of ‘count this random local item’ or ‘build a jigsaw puzzle’. And treat it like a brand new season instead of recycling things that didn’t work on the other ActiveTV races – it’s not like TAR isn’t covered in detail on Wikipedia, and it’s disrespectful to the audience.

  6. Massive yes from me too. It would be hugely expensive to make so I’m sure it would be hard for Seven to commit to but I’ve got no doubt with the right scheduling it would be a hit.

  7. I loved the first two seasons and would likely watch a third. In my opinion it was much better than the U.S. version and it shows from the awards it received.

  8. For all of you saying that expensive flops gong get renewed may I remind you that the original American didn’t have amazing ratings for the first 4 seasons and got renewed for season 5 and latter season 6 because of awards.

  9. The race is on so better get your running shoes on, I agree TARAus should return, I would like to enjoy it more if they cast likeable people, the US version I love, they always get the best people.

  10. Definitely. I was disappointed this year when i heard it wasn’t going to be on instead Seven went with The Mole and we all know what happened there.

  11. Of course they should return it, but they need to give it a decent timeslot. They also need to treat the US version better. They can’t continue to treat the US one like crap with constant day/timeslot changes and then expect fans to be loyal to an Aussie version. Fast-track the US version at 7.30. When it finishes the Aussie version can take it’s spot next year.

    In regards to The Mole. Could have been so good and had many people excited. But it was poor editing rather than a poor show.I had no problem with host, casting, challenges. But it needed to be a single episode/elimination per week. Is that what they’re doing now it’s on once a week? Have they edited it?

  12. Yes please, it’s a no brainier. Maybe Seven decided to produce The Mole on the cheap this year, so they can save enough money to produce another season of the The Amazing Race Australia in 2014.

  13. Definitely should. I reckon a big part of the decision was probably Grant Bowler’s commitment to the show Defiance and he is so inherently tied to the brand that they’d risk losing momentum by changing the host.
    I still believe The Mole would have been a bigger success with him as host (and some tighter editing).

  14. “Should Seven return The Amazing Race Australia next year?”

    umm, so the correct way to say this is, I believe, “Yes Please”.

    [PS “TARA” is the usual acronym for The Amazing Race Asia, because it came first. I think the awkward “TARAu” is the most recognised shortened version for the Australian version]

  15. They’re afraid of killing the brand the way the other stations have (The Block, Masterchef) by having it on too often.
    Hopefully they bring it back in the next year or so though – it was a great show,

  16. Hi David! I just want to say thanks so very much for writing this article. Very well written and yes Channel Seven, I want The Amazing Race Australia to return!

  17. Yes, Seven have made some shocking decisions in the past year. Not going ahead with Amazing Race and Australia’s Got Talent but greenlighting Celebrity Splash and The Mole.

  18. Only if Ch7 can give the budget it needs and if Active don’t cut that budget back as hard as FremantleMedia did with The Mole, which came out looking like an Amazing Race dollar dazzler special by comparison.

  19. I suspect it’s cost related. They took a punt on The (presumably much cheaper to produce) Mole rather than the relatively expensive TAR. The punt has failed so pls revisit next year. What Australian network can boast they won an Emmy?? Please bring back TAR Aust Seven :)

  20. David I think you have that scheduling info wrong. S2 started post-AGT, flopped, then moved to Monday once the voice ended and rose, before falling again after the Olympics.

    The fans are allowed to dream but a reality check wouldn’t go astray; expensive flops don’t get renewed.

  21. Yes they should! The show in my opinion is a lot better than the American version and is really enjoyable to watch. Channel 7 just need to find the right time slot. I’d say Monday at 8:30 but I just really hope that they put it back on!

  22. No – there appears to be some serious issue with all 3 commercial FTA’s that they play mostly reality television programs during peak times …… sooner or later there has to be a return to quality scripted programs because reality television is tearing apart Australian television …… ratings are falling, and it’s not because people are turning to the internet, it’s just that there is nothing but substance on tv anymore ……where is the government in all of this?

  23. It was good but was it that good? At a cost of 3 million per episode for ratings that averaged under a million… Program’s live and die by the ratings and if nobody is watching – doesn’t matter how many awards you win – nobody’s watching. The US version doesn’t rate here either.

  24. Why not link with the Asian version? It is English language & the first season there was an Aussie couple. It features couples from different Asian countries. The host Allan Wu is great too.
    If Seven wants to save money this could be a way to keep the franchise going without all of the costs.
    The US version is still the benchmark because of the cast they get each year.

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