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'The Amazing Race' Host Phil Keoghan on the Show's Return After COVID Shutdown (Exclusive)

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Phil Keoghan can definitively say that  returning to television is one of the best things to happen to his career. And, after a pandemic-induced global shutdown that impacted production for 19 months, it's easy to see why he and the rest of the crew grew emotional after the show made its highly anticipated return.The longtime host spoke with ET's Lauren Zima and they discussed why some of the teams didn't return, what adjustments were made due to the COVID-19 pandemic and why the show is more relevant now than ever before.«It's one of the best things in my career, you know, coming back and seeing everybody smiling,» Keoghan said.But things didn't always look so bright.It was in February 2020 when Keoghan delivered the somber news that production was shutting down due to the unknown surrounding the virus.

The crew had just finished its third leg of season 33 in Glasgow, Scotland. Last week's third episode of season 33 ended with that cliffhanger.

The fourth episode airs Wednesday night on CBS, and it shows seven of the original nine teams back in the race. That Keoghan was the one who welcomed them back (they resumed filming last fall) was fitting and also emotional.«Very emotional,» he said. «It was emotional during the stopdown, but not in a good way. [It was] hard to look people in the eyes and tell them that their dream was ending, and we didn't know whether that would continue.

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