The Amazing Race – Latin America Edition?

According to Variety report last month, Disney Media Networks Latin America and Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic are to produce a local version of long running reality show “The Amazing Race” for the entire region.

I’m a latecomer into really appreciating what a great show The Amazing Race is. I have to admit I used to discriminate it, for being just another Reality Show, which I’m gladly to admit I was very wrong. Although current season which debuted a little over a month ago, it’s a little underwhelming compared to the more engaging Seasons 12 (the first full season I ever watched) and 11 (the All-Star Season), it’s been at least fun.

Having the visiting the Northeastern region of Brazil in the first 2 legs was really interesting, and reminded me of what I said about the region’s potential to hold legs of the race, back from my post about my visit to Dianópolis, in the state of Tocantins. Fun fact. Dianópolis is not that far away from Salvador (in the state of Bahia), which held the first leg of this season.

I wonder how the The Amazing Race – Latin America Edition will work out, in which my concerns can be approached in two topics.

1) This wouldn’t be the first international edition of the show. Asia has been steadily producing their a version, with 3 full season already shown and possibly more on the way. For the Latin America edition, what will be the scope, will it get the scope that the original US version, with a race around the globe? Or will it just end up like the smaller version of itself, which is what happened when a Brazilian production company optioned to adapted and the result was just bland, as it end up (due to budgetary and time constrains) into a race in Brazil, instead of a race around the globe. As I read, that was one of the major criticisms towards the Family season, in which the show lost scope and a lot of the faster dynamics that the duo teams allows.

2) Onto the subject of Brazil, as it seem always suffers somewhat in the region deals due to the fact, that despite being the largest country in Latin America (and I’m accounting Mexico into the equation), it’s almost the only country within which does not count Spanish among one of the main languages. Yes, people we do not speak Spanish in Brazil. Brazil’s, main native language is Portuguese.  And despite similarities that allow people to communicate among themselves, the deeper and richer aspects of each language is still quite different, and also due to that the cultural backgrounds result in differences. It’s Colonization History 101.

The Tordesilhas Pact from XVI century, dividing the world between Portugal and Spain.

The Tordesilhas Pact from XVI century, dividing the world between Portugal and Spain.

A very recent example was with the Fremantle and 19 property Pop Idol, which originated the US phenomenon American Idol. Due to already pointed languages constraints,  While Sony, which owns the cable network Canal Sony that shows American Idol for all Latin American audiences (including Brazil),  was able licence to produce the Latin American Idol, the licence was acquired by another company in Brazil. Latin American Idol is a prime time show for almost every country in the region, except Brazil, in which the show is simply hidden into a weird time slot at Saturdays. The would never work as primetime show in Brazil. Just like US Idol, the contestants majorly sings big pop or rock successes of the native toungue, mostly of which are unknown to Brazilian audiences, and if shown during primitime, would just alienate any potential audience they had for that time slot. The Brazilian version, called Idolos, got other issues itself, but don’t really matter into the discussion right now.

Thus I wonder what’s the plan with the Latin American Edition of The Amazing Race, it has the potential to reach all local audiences, without some of the culture constraints that Idol suffered.

That’s basically what I wanted to share about this issue, but since we’re talking about differences and subjects related to The Amazing Race, I’d like to make a mini rant.

In light of recent history making event with the visit of a Chinese convey metting with Taiwan this week.  China and Taiwan issues are lingering and complicated.

And Taiwan’s presence in Season 12 should be made clear, not mistakenly reported or just ignored (since it was such a important leg for that race – the one before the final leg), and this rant it’s specifically towards you (Taiwan is not China) and you (for completely ignoring to mention). End of Rant.

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