Seven countries, 13 cities and more than 22,000 miles.
The Emmy-Award winning series, “The Amazing Race,” is back with its historic 33rd trip around the world. One of the competitors may seem familiar to Central Floridians.
Former News 6 Reporter Kim Holderness, who went by Kim Dean, and her husband Penn said they were called by producers of the show to audition. The couple said they were hesitant to leave their two kids. The Holderness family is well-known for their viral online videos, like the one of them dancing in Christmas pajamas.
“There are some sacrifices that you have to make for the race, but they were adamant about us going and if they weren’t we would not have gone,” Penn said.
Kim said it was her daughter that gave them the extra push.
“She said, ‘Are you going to remember a month of your life, or are you going to remember ‘The Amazing Race?’ I had to reframe my mind, this is just adult summer camp,” Kim said.
Kim and Penn make up one of 11 teams competing on the 33rd season of “The Amazing Race.”
“We definitely earned the titles of ‘mom and dad.’ We looked around and realized were the old people. We were the oldest combined age on ‘The Amazing Race.’ Every one else was young, smart and fast,” Penn said.
“We had some rules going on this show. It was a bucket list to be on this show and winning $1 million would be great and life-changing, but we needed to stay married so we had some rules for how we would talk to each other when times got tense,” Kim said.
This season of “The Amazing Race” proved to be challenging not just for the contestants but for production as well. After three legs of the race, the show took an 18-month hiatus due to COVID sending everyone home. It would be the longest pit stop in the show’s history.
“The only way they were able to do it was with a comprehensive safety plan they’ve never done for any show ever before,” Penn said. “We thought we were done and when we got back on “The Amazing Race,” apparently everybody else on the race had been working out. They were so ripped. We were in COVID, we didn’t do any of that stuff. We weren’t expecting to come back ... I mean, I bought some new underwear,” Penn said.
Traveling through seven countries, we asked if they had time to take it all in.
“It’s a great way to see tiny little thumbnails of the world. We need to go back to all these places. It’s a race, you don’t have time to enjoy it. We were running around Europe like, ‘This is beautiful ... shut up and keep racing,’” Penn said.
We asked the couple what we can expect this season on “The Amazing Race.”
“If you’ve watched the show before, sometimes people read the clue too quickly and don’t pay attention to it. I can say everyone this season broke that rule many times. You get on the course and forget how to be a normal human,” Penn said.
“Anytime they asked me about my kids, I just started crying, and I think the producers picked up on that. Anytime they need a moment, they’d ask about our kids, and I’d just cry,” Kim said.
We also asked the couple what they learned while being on the show.
“I learned that we really like each other. Our kids are 14 and 11 and I’m going to cry my eyes out when they go to school, but I’m excited to be an empty nester and I know he [Penn] is my person,” Kim said.
Kim and Penn are back home in Raleigh, North Carolina, with their kids ready to relive their experiences through the TV screen.
They couldn’t spill too many details about the show, but you can tune in every Wednesday to see the action. The first episode of “The Amazing Race” airs Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. on CBS.