Premiering this Sunday at 6 PM MT on BYUtv, Relative Race is unlike any other reality show as the cameras capture authentic, unscripted, raw moments while four couples race against the clock. It's a reality competition with a unique, family-history twist.

Relative Race is hosted by former ESPN anchor Dan J. Debenham. Mr. Debenham has been working in the television and production industry for 28 years as an anchor, reporter, writer, producer and executive producer. BYUtv asked him a few questions about the new series in preparation for the broadcast premiere that's just days away.


How did the idea come about for Relative Race?

"About six months ago, Scott Swofford (BYUtv Director of Content) and Terri Pappas (BYUtv Associate Producer) asked to meet and mentioned that they had a premise for a show—it would involve genealogy, but they wanted it in a competitive format. What could we create that would be very different from what’s currently out there, and that would show people discovering family all across the country? From that challenge given to us by BYUtv came Relative Race. It’s a hybrid of The Amazing Race and a genealogy search. It mixes the best of both worlds."


On the night before the race began, what thoughts were going through your mind?

"Can we pull this off? Can we successfully pull this off? This is a show that’s never been attempted before. Nothing like this has been attempted before. Genealogy, quite frankly, just sounds dull and boring to most people. But this was anything but dull and boring. You see how discovering family all around the country leads to this wide variety of emotions. And at the end of the day, the couples leave their relatives’ homes knowing that their family is that much bigger, and that they are much more connected to somebody else out there. They now know that they have this family all around the country."

What can viewers expect who are tuning in for the premiere?

"The one thing that I would like people to know before they watch the series is that there are more surprises that take place than even we thought would occur. There is real emotion spread throughout this series as our couples discover relatives that they have never known before. We really didn’t know how that would unveil itself on television, and yet these moments are more fulfilling than we thought they would be. For several of the couples, it was enough just to know that they were related period, because they didn’t know any relatives before the race. Then you combine all of this with the fact that the race was real. It’s not just this easy, peaceful drive across the country—there’s a clock element. The contestants know that they’re competing against three other couples for the $25,000 first place prize."


What else would you like people to know about Relative Race?

"We hope they tune in because this is a show unlike anything else they’ve seen. If you’re interested in people who are entertaining, genealogy, reality television, and competition shows, then we’ve got the best of all the worlds for you—and it will only be on BYUtv."



Tune in Sunday for the adventure! Watch on BYUtv, stream online at, or catch it on the BYUtv app.

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