THE SEASON 4 PREMIERE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!
We caught up Relative Race host, Dan J Debenham, for a behind the scenes look at Season 4. From how the teams are picked, to what Dan does during the race, you won't want to miss this exclusive look at Season 4!
BYUtv: What can viewers expect to see this season?
Dan: Viewers always want to know, what's different, what's new, what can we expect this year. Well, of course, there's four new teams, and those teams have got wonderful, amazing stories, once again.
There is a team that we have not had on the show before, meaning often we have married couples, last year we had two sisters, we also had a father and a son. Well I can tell you that one of the dynamics of the team this year are different from any other dynamic of a team that we've had before and I think you're really going to enjoy that.
The stories that we found are rich, they're vibrant, they're real. We can't wait until they unfold.
I don't know how much you're going to see that's really, vastly different this year. Some of the things we want to keep in place because we want our viewers to feel comfortable with the format, but always wondering what little changes might be around the bend and we have a few of those.
BYUtv: What’s your favorite part of the job?
Dan: My favorite part of the job is being able to go every night to that video conference call. I know what's happened during the day, but I don't know how it's all going to come together during that video conference call.
Even though I am looking at those teams through a computer screen, it's like they are sitting in the same room with me.
We have done so much research to get to this moment, on that day to find that relative, and when it all comes together, it is just magic. That's my favorite part of the show.
BYUtv: What do you look for when you pick teams?
Dan: Everybody wonders what we're looking for, every year when we're casting our four teams.
The first thing that we're looking for is story. Right behind that is how good is your personality on television. That's what we're looking for. It's somebody we think is just going to connect with all those viewers at home. And we have so many viewers, they're so diverse that we are not looking for everybody to be the same. We don't want four teams that are the same, we want four teams that are different. But all of them have something that just grabs you. So you can sit at home and go, I love the black team this year. I love the green team. I love the red team. If blue team goes home, that's it! That's what we want is people cheering for their team.
BYUtv: What are you doing while the contestants are racings?
Dan: I am typically getting a lot of texts, a lot of phone calls, often we're troubleshooting, weather, the weather and road conditions that the racers face are the same things that our television crews are facing out on the road and so we're trying to troubleshoot those.
Sometimes we have to move a challenge that was an exterior challenge into an interior building and we have to find the size, so we're doing a lot of troubleshooting, so I'm doing a lot of worrying while they are racing, I'm getting a lot of updates and I, along with the network executives, meet several hours before that video conference call at night in our Relative Race offices to just make sure that everything is going smoothly and will go smoothly in those last few hours.
BYUtv: How do you think you would do on the race, and who would you race with?
Dan: I am very competitive, I'm a very type A, Relative Race for me would be tough.
Who would I go with? Maybe my daughter, my daughter is my oldest, she is the sweetest, most mellow but fierce, she's fierce inside but she's really mellow. And by the way, Jenica is the biggest fan of the show too. I would probably go on the road with Jenica. My boys probably don't like me saying that, but I would probably pick my oldest daughter.
BYUtv: Tell us your feelings while giving strikes and sending people home?
Dan: While I don't want to send anybody home because I want them to meet their family, what I do know is that we've discovered their family and as soon as they leave the show, we send them all the information for all the family that they didn't get to meet. So, I know that they are going to meet their family and have a chance to get acquainted with their family so it's not quite as hard for me to send people home as some may think.
BYUtv: If you had to describe Relative Race in one word, what would it be?
Dan: Joy. I think when you find family I think when you know that there is somebody else out there that shares the same blood that you have, that has the same genealogy that you have, that often shares the same name, I just think there's joy in that.