'Amazing Race' features Pittsburgh-area connections
March 18, 2017 12:00 AM
Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi got snuggly around a campfire but in the end, "The Bachelor" seemed uncomfortable about his proposal.
Michael Rado, owner of Lawrenceville deli Butcher on Butler, will be part of CBS's "The Amazing Race" cast.
Allderdice grad Becca Droz is part of the new "The Amazing Race" cast.
Tyra Banks is the new host of NBC's "America's Got Talent."
By Maria Sciullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When season 29 of CBS’s “The Amazing Race” returns March 30, the cast includes three “racers” with local ties.
Becca Droz grew up in Squirrel Hill and graduated from Pittsburgh’s Allderdice High School. Now a rock climbing instructor in Boulder, Colo., she’ll no doubt have a physical advantage in some challenges.
Her official “Amazing Race” press photo shows her sporting a “Da Burgh” tank top.
Michael Rado, owner of Lawrenceville’s Butcher on Butler, and Jessica Shields, a K-9 police officer from Youngstown, also join the field.
In an “Amazing Race” first, 22 strangers will be paired up for tests such as skydiving over Norway and a bungee jump in Greece. CBS has announced the show would be taking the Thursday 10 p.m. slot recently vacated by “Training Day.”
“For years, ‘The Amazing Race’ fans have suggested we line up complete strangers and match them up at the starting line to see what would happen. These newbie racers begin with no pre-existing relationships or emotional baggage ...,” said host Phil Keoghan.
Ms. Shields is one of three police officers in the race. Casting also is heavy on military personnel, and at least two Wall Street types and a yarn artist are there for contrast.
This season’s race covers nine countries, 17 cities and roughly 36,000 miles.
Also on reality TV
• Nick Viall picked Vanessa Grimaldi over Raven Gates in the finale of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” then spent part of the “After the Final Rose” ceremony looking super-uncomfortable about the whole thing. Screenshots of Ms. Grimaldi and him quickly became Twitter memes from fans and former “Bachelor” alumni alike.
Given that Mr. Viall is headed for next week’s “Dancing With the Stars” premiere, and that he’s a multi-season loser in the “Bachelor” franchise, it appears unlikely wedding bells are in the future.
This could be why the network paraded out Dallas attorney Rachel Lindsay, who was previously announced as the next “Bachelorette.” The show’s first African-American lead got to meet four of next season’s candidates on live television.
• Well, we cannot say we saw this coming. When NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” returns for its 12th season this summer, its new host will be Tyra Banks.
Ms. Banks, supermodel, creator and former host of “America’s Next Top Model,” replaces Nick Cannon, who quit the show.
“Since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with grandiose acts and performers who make the seemingly impossible possible. I love how ‘AGT’ brings that feeling into everyone’s home,” she said in an NBC statement.
• It takes two to tango ... in a room full of snakes?
“Fear Factor” is in the process of casting a new version. This time around, the show wants teams of two for the shoot in Los Angeles. Candidates must be at least 18 and appear to be between 18-30 years of age. Siblings, friends, exes, spouses, etc., can apply at FearFactor.TV.
In other casting news, Fox is looking for talent for its 13-episode “Showtime at the Apollo,” hosted by Steve Harvey. To apply, go to venertainment.com/apollo.
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