By Robin Clutters

(CBS4)- Season 33 of “The Amazing Race” has already been a wild ride and it’s only just begun. The Race started filming in 2020 but was forced to take a 19-month hiatus due to the coronavirus. On Wednesday, January 19th the teams will gather in Switzerland to restart the race after the longest pit stop in the show’s history.

Host Phil Keoghan talked with CBS4’s Makenzie O’Keefe about what it was like to watch the pandemic play out.

After 20 years and 32 trips around the globe, over 600 Racers have traveled more than 1 million miles to more than 90 countries! Now, meet the 11 new teams who go on their journey of a lifetime when host Phil Keoghan kicks off the 33rd edition of the CBS Original series THE AMAZING RACE on the two-hour season premiere, Wednesday, Jan. 5 (8:00- 10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. The historic season began filming in Feb. 2020 but after three legs, was forced to halt production due to the covid-19 pandemic. Over one and a half years later and the longest pitstop in the show’s history, Race resumed and concluded production this fall. Pictured: Top Row, L-R: Connie and Sam Greiner, Anthony Sadler and Spencer Stone, Arun and Natalia Kumar, Taylor and Isaiah Green-Jones; Middle Row, L-R: Michael Norwood and Moe Badger, Lulu and Lala Gonzalez, Caro Viehweg and Ray Gantt, Raquel Moore and Cayla Platt, Ryan Ferguson and Dusty Harris; Bottom Row, L-R: Akbar and Sheri Cook, Kim and Penn Holderness Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“We were tracking what was going on with covid. We figured it was a bit like viruses we’ve worked through in the past. If you remember swine flu, we figured this pandemic would be following the same sort of pattern.”

Keoghan says they all quickly realized this was something much bigger and the executive producers made the difficult decision to stop production in February of 2020.

“As you can imagine, the cast was unaware really of everything that was going on in the world because they were so focused on the race and so it did come as a bit of a shock. It was very difficult to deliver the news to them and it was heartbreaking because so many people had sacrificed so much to be there in that moment.”

With safety protocols in place, production of “The Amazing Race” resumed in the fall of 2021. Keoghan says there were a lot of emotions at the starting line.

“Everyone had been through so much and we heard all those stories. They were reflective of what we’ve all been through and what people around the world have been through. I think it was a realization of just how small the world was. That we breathe the same air, we are part of the same family,” says Keoghan. “I think that’s why this show is so relevant. What we do here happens to other people and other places in the world.”

Watch “The Amazing Race” resume on Wednesday, January 19th at 8pm on CBS4. You can also catch episodes streaming live and on demand on Paramount+.

Robin Clutters