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Phil Keoghan

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Phil Keoghan
Keoghan in February 2015
Philip John Keoghan

(1967-05-31) 31 May 1967 (age 57)
Lincoln, New Zealand
OccupationTelevision presenter
Years active1986–present
Notable credit(s)The Amazing Race (CBS)
No Opportunity Wasted (Discovery Channel)
Explorer (National Geographic)
Tough as Nails (CBS)
SpouseLouise Rodrigues
Parent(s)Elizabeth "Beth" Keoghan
John Keoghan
RelativesAndrew Keoghan (brother)
Ruth Keoghan Cooper (sister)

Philip John Keoghan MNZM (/ˈkɡən/ KOHG-ən; born 31 May 1967) is a New Zealand television personality, best known for hosting the American version of The Amazing Race on CBS, since its 2001 debut. He is the creator and host of No Opportunity Wasted, which has been produced in the United States, New Zealand, and Canada. Keoghan also co-created and hosts the American reality competition programme Tough as Nails, which debuted on CBS on 8 July 2020. As of 2021, he has been involved with winning 10 Primetime Emmy Awards related to his work on The Amazing Race, where the show consecutively won the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program seven times.[1]

Early life[edit]

Keoghan was born in Lincoln, a satellite town of Christchurch, New Zealand.[2] Due to his father's career, Keoghan spent a considerable part of his childhood in Antigua and Canada.[3] His family had returned to Christchurch by the time he was in high school,[4] and following that, Keoghan attended St Andrew's College, Christchurch.[2]


Keoghan in 2006

While completing a TV cameraman apprenticeship, Keoghan successfully auditioned for the New Zealand children's show Spot On at age 19. After a series of further presenter work in New Zealand television, including as a reporter on That's Fairly Interesting, he, at 23, and his wife Louise left for the United States after his show Keoghan's Heroes was picked up by a U.S. network.[5]

Keoghan originally auditioned for the host of Survivor. Though he made the shortlist, the CBS network ultimately chose Jeff Probst for Survivor, and offered Keoghan the hosting duties for The Amazing Race.[6][7][8] Keoghan has been host for the show from its inception and also serves as a producer. He currently[when?] has a contract extending for "several years" following The Amazing Race 18 in 2011 that will allow him to also develop other shows for CBS.[9] In a 2002 interview, Keoghan admitted that his pay for a single episode of The Amazing Race is more than an entire year on Spot On.[10]

Shortly after the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Keoghan visited his hometown to ensure his family was safe but also to record segments for The Early Show to implore viewers to provide aid to the New Zealand Red Cross and to promote continued tourism, a fundamental part of New Zealand's economy, to the country.[2] At the same time, he participated in recording Air New Zealand's new safety video for its domestic jet fleet.[11] Keoghan has hosted over 1,000 different programme episodes.[12]

In June 2010, it was announced that Keoghan would host and produce a new reality series about the Velux 5 Oceans Race.[13]

Keoghan told TMZ in 2010 that during the 10th season of The Amazing Race he was detained in Ukraine for two days until the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine intervened to free him.[14]

Keoghan hosted National Geographic Explorer starting in the show's 11th season, to start airing in 2018.[15] According to Keoghan, he had wanted to produce for Explorer and he and his wife-to-be had even filmed and submitted a pitch tape to the show's production at that time.[16]

No Opportunity Wasted[edit]

While 19 and filming for Spot On, Keoghan and a partner dived down to the shipwreck of the MS Mikhail Lermontov, 120 feet (37 m) underwater.[4] During filming, he was separated from his partner in the ship's ballroom and suffered a panic attack, considering it a near-death experience.[5] He was rescued by his dive partner, and though shaken, insisted on facing his fear and returned the next day to complete filming.[4] From then on, Keoghan set out to live his life to the fullest by accomplishing exotic goals and taking risks, creating a "No Opportunity Wasted" (NOW) list of activities he wanted to complete in his life;[3] In his book No Opportunity Wasted, Keoghan wrote:

It was the first time I really stopped to think what dying could mean. I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down all the things I had to do in life: hand-feed sharks, travel the world, climb Mt Everest, go into space.

— Phil Keoghan, No Opportunity Wasted, 2014.[4]

Since then, Keoghan has broken a world bungee jumping record, gone diving in the world's longest underwater caves, eaten a meal on top of an erupting volcano, and renewed his vows underwater while feeding sharks. He was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where he shared with Oprah his list of things he wants to do before he dies. [citation needed]

Keoghan co-developed the television show No Opportunity Wasted, initially premiering in 2004, that reflected on this "No Opportunity Wasted" mantra. He also wrote a companion book, No Opportunity Wasted: 8 Ways to Create a List for the Life You Want.


Keoghan is an avid cyclist.[17] From 28 March to 9 May 2009, Keoghan performed in "Ride Across America", in partnership with several organisations including GNC, to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. Keoghan and others biked 3,500 miles (5,600 km) from Los Angeles to New York City, averaging 100 miles (160 km) per day. Keoghan stopped in 39 cities en route, attending various events and participating in casting for season 15 of The Amazing Race; the ride culminated a day before the finale of season 14. The event raised $500,000, with over $400,000 coming from in-store donations during the ride.[18][19] His documentary movie The Ride about his ride across America, premiered on 3 February 2011.[20]

Keoghan later came across information about Harry Watson, an early-20th-century New Zealand cyclist that formed a team of four to become the first English-speaking team to ride in the Tour de France in 1928. Looking to celebrate Watson's legacy, Keoghan prepared to ride the same Tour de France course from 1928 (then, 22 legs at nearly 5,400 kilometres (3,400 mi) compared to the modern Tour at 3,500 kilometres (2,200 mi)), using the same type of gear-less bicycle as Watson and his team used, outside of using a modern riding seat. He and his riding partner Ben Cornell completed the ride in 2013, with their progress filmed by Keoghan's wife Louise and others. The footage was assembled for another film called Le Ride, which premiered in the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch at the New Zealand Film Festival in July 2016.[21][22]

Personal life[edit]

Keoghan's father, John, is an agricultural scientist involved with conservation in New Zealand.[23] He appeared alongside his son as a Pit Stop greeter during the 13th season of The Amazing Race when the racers stopped in New Zealand. John Keoghan and his wife run a bed and breakfast in Rolleston, New Zealand.[2]

Keoghan's brother Andrew was a television reporter on Television New Zealand's One News and is a jazz singer. His sister, Ruth Keoghan Cooper, specialises in coaching, training and development programmes for professional women who wish to combine careers with motherhood.[24]

Keoghan currently lives with his wife and producing partner Louise Keoghan (née Rodrigues), and their daughter. Louise is an Australian-born television producer and director[25] and co-creator of No Opportunity Wasted and Tough as Nails. They currently reside in Los Angeles, California. They also have homes in Matarangi on the Coromandel Peninsula, and in Westport.[26]


Keoghan was recognised in 2012 as one of six "Emerging Leaders" during the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards, due to his use of his celebrity status to support efforts such as Christchurch earthquake relief and efforts for multiple sclerosis.[27]

In 2008, Keoghan was awarded the World Class New Zealand award in the 'Creative' category.[28]

In the 2014 New Year Honours, Keoghan was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services as a television presenter and to tourism.[29]

For his hosting of The Amazing Race, Keoghan was nominated for the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program in the second year of the award's creation but lost to Jeff Probst of Survivor.[30]

In 2018, Keoghan was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame.[31]


Keoghan has worked in more than seventy countries as a television host, producer, writer, and cameraman. Some of the shows Keoghan has been involved with include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nominees/Winners". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Gadd, David (27 February 2011). "Spirits 'will not be crushed'". Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 28 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b McAfee, Melonyce (10 December 2015). "'Amazing Race' host Phil Keoghan's top 10 destinations". CNN. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "Phil Keoghan". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b Wollack, Roy (28 November 2014). "'Amazing Race's' Phil Keoghan finds global opportunities to stay fit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Upfront:Phil Keoghan". Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  7. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Phil Keoghan, Host of 'The Amazing Race 12'". Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  8. ^ "Racing up the ratings". The Age. Melbourne. 5 May 2005. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  9. ^ Schinder, Michael (11 May 2011). "Exclusive: Phil Keoghan Signs New Deal, Sticks with the Amazing Race". TV Guide. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Keoghan profile". Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2005.
  11. ^ "Paul Henry, Richard Simmons in new Air NZ video". The New Zealand Herald. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  12. ^ "Biography for Amazing Race Host Phil Keoghan". Realitytv.about.com. 26 May 2011. Archived from the original on 16 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Phil Keoghan Sets Sail with New Reality Series". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  14. ^ "Keoghan tells TMZ about his two-day detention in Ukraine". Tmz.com. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  15. ^ "Phil Keoghan to Replace Richard Bacon as Nat Geo 'Explorer' Host". SFGate. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ Sorren, Martha (12 November 2018). "Why 'Amazing Race' Host Phil Keoghan's Show 'Explorer' Is A Must See". Bustle. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  17. ^ Pucin, Diane (17 May 2012). "Phil Keoghan knows all about racing, cycling or otherwise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Koeghan Wraps Up Amazing Bike Ride". CBS News. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  19. ^ Karlovits, Bob (19 June 2009). "Keoghan's bike ride raises $500,000". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  20. ^ Noopportunitywasted.com
  21. ^ Baillie, Russell (14 July 2016). "Why The Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan is acting like it's still 1928". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  22. ^ Cropper, Emma (29 July 2016). "Le Ride premieres in Christchurch". Newshub. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Dr. John Keoghan". New Zealand Department of Conservation. Archived from the original on 21 April 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  24. ^ "About Ruth Keoghan Cooper". newworkingmoms.com. 22 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  25. ^ "Filmography for Louise Keoghan". TCM.
  26. ^ "Q & A with Phil Keoghan". Newzealand.com. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  27. ^ Cairns, Lois (24 June 2012). "Keoghan turns celebrity into tool for good". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  28. ^ Keanewzealand.com Archived 25 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  29. ^ "New Year honours list 2014". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  30. ^ "The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards and 2009 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Nominees". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  31. ^ Dr. Robert Goldman (9 March 2018). "2018 International Sports Hall of Fame Inductees". www.sportshof.org. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  32. ^ Petski, Denise (12 June 2017). "Phil Keoghan To Join Jane Lynch As Host Of Nat Geo's 'Earth Live'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  33. ^ Phil Keoghan [@PhilKeoghan] (29 July 2017). ".@AmazingRaceCBS fans this Monday Animated #Philiminator hosts the #BitchinRace #browsie #ReadYourClue…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

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