"Amazing Race" U.S. host Phil Keoghan (CBS)
Climbing the stairs of the CN Tower, riding the roller coaster in the Edmonton Mall, building an igloo in the Northern Territories -- contestants on an all-Canadian edition of "The Amazing Race" could be doing this and more as they race for the $1 million prize.
Up until now, Canadians have been unable to appear on the American version of the super successful, Emmy Award-winning reality TV show, which sends teams of two on a physically and mentally challenging race around the world. Why not? Producers of the U.S series thought a Canadian passport would be an unfair advantage (among other reasons). But on Sunday night's episode, U.S. "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan announced that a Canadian version would be coming soon.
Some even cooler news? Following the announcement of the new series, Canadian treasures Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod of "BodyBreak" have announced that they'll be auditioning. If they're somehow not chosen, it will be a travesty.
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So, far we know that "The Amazing Race Canada" will air next summer on CTV, that it will take place entirely within Canada, and it will be produced by Toronto's Insight Productions -- a company that seems to specialize in adding "Canada" to U.S.-created reality show titles, such as "Canadian Idol," "Canada's Got Talent," and "Big Brother Canada", premiering on Slice in 2013.
These are just a few examples in a long history of Canadian copies of American hits. "The Bachelor Canada" also recently wrapped with a nice shiny proposal from Brad Smith to his chosen, Bianka Kamber. "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" lasted four seasons with host Leah Miller, while "Project Runway Canada"and "Top Chef Canada" completed two seasons each. The CBC has aired two Canadian musical theatre talent search shows, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" and "Over the Rainbow," in the vein of similar shows that found the next Broadway star of "Legally Blonde." Meanwhile, "The Real Housewives of Vancouver" and the upcoming "My Teenage Wedding" (similar to MTV's "Engaged & Underage") are more salacious examples.
Often, these shows are deemed as slightly duller versions of the original, but there are a few elements to "The Amazing Race Canada" that could make it an exception to the rule. Because the challenges all take place within the country, the show will highlight (and, dare we say, celebrate) Canada's geographical size as well as cultural diversity. The proper choice of a Keoghan-like host will make a big difference.