Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 6, 2013

Reality show seeks blue-collar contestants

Tammie Hetzer-Womack
The Independent

ASHLAND — Kentuckians take pride in doing whatever it takes to bring home the country bacon. Folks I know climb mountains, roll up sleeves and toil for the family meal. We aren’t afraid of manual labor, dirty hands, tough grinds or donkey work. We grin and bear it.

Hollywood is taking notice of our good humor, attitude and willingness to work.

A casting friend of mine recently reached out, asking for a bit of help with a new TV show she’s working on. And, because I’m from the commonwealth, I leapt to help.

Phil Keoghan, Emmy-winning host of “The Amazing Race,” is casting a new network reality competition, and he’s specifically searching for Kentucky men and women. The working title of the program is “The Phil Keoghan Project.”

Producers are on the eastern Kentucky lookout for coal miners, welders, bricklayers, pipefitters, roofers, law enforcement officials and firefighters. They want workers who go the distance in heat and severe conditions.

Are you up for the challenge? According to casting officials:

“‘The Phil Keoghan Project’ will feature gut-busting, adrenaline-inducing mental and physical challenges, and we’re looking for thrill-seeking men and women who want the challenge of a lifetime — people who have off-the-chart physical abilities and will do whatever it takes to win.”

To compete, you should be very strong or unusually fit with mental edge to boot; those who believe they could go toe-to-toe with professional athletes; people who didn’t play sports but are simply naturally fit from doing an extreme job; or those with prior athletic careers, and want to prove they’ve still got it. Even someone who has something to prove and won’t give up on a big dream.

This show sounds perfect for most of our blue-collar residents ages 21 and older.

“The Phil Keoghan Project” seeks men and women who picture themselves as the last person standing and wish to compete in the ultimate physical competition for a “substantial reward.”

The show is expected to shoot in Los Angeles for a 20- to 30-day period early next year.

Native New Zealander Keoghan offered some thoughts on Kentucky workers.

“We want to celebrate the hard-working men and women who keep this country running — the ones that wake up at the crack of dawn and turn up to put in a hard day’s work.

“These are the ones that are literally working at the coal face, chopping down trees, building roads, constructing high-rise buildings and making their living off the land. They don’t need to go to a gym to stay in shape; they do that as a part of just everyday living.”

The application deadline is May 18. To learn more, visit thephilkeoghanproject.com or email ThePhilKeoghanProject@gmail.com.