The Insider: Keoghan’s Amazing Grace

Apr 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Here’s a prescription for a sort of homeo-techno instant mood-booster that makes you want to jump up and embrace the world. At least that’s the effect it had on The Insider—whom faithful readers know to be a curmudgeonly couch potato who doesn’t jump to anything except conclusions—when she saw it on “CBS Sunday Morning” April 13.
It’s “The Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan’s account of hitting a golf ball 107 miles from one coast of Scotland to the other in four days. As an odyssey, it was at once whimsical, Olympic, daunting and down-right huggable. As a story, it’s part travelogue, part everyman star search and all inspirational. The only complaint here? It’s way too short and is not going to spawn a companion book.
Think The Insider has lost her critical marbles? Check out “The Long Drive” for yourself at the “Sunday Morning” section of CBSNews.com. It’ll be there anytime you want a little pick-me-up with a particularly amazing ending.
“It was a terrific armchair tour of Scotland,” said Rand Morrison, “Sunday Morning” executive producer. “It was perfect for Masters Sunday.”
Mr. Keoghan practices what he preaches in motivational speaking engagements and in the 2004 book titled “No Opportunity Wasted, NOW,” which is rooted in his approach to life, a philosophy very much affected by a near-death experience he had at 19. You can’t actually ever say “no” to anything and, at least in his house, you can’t say “can’t.”
Mr. Keoghan’s “Why not?” attitude is familiar to anyone who has followed the career that took him from his native New Zealand to this country and a series of TV assignments that frequently take the form of adventure and challenges and encounters with people who thrive on both.
“I love making celebrities out of ordinary people,” said Mr. Keoghan, who is famous within CBS for being a phenomenally good guy.
Some, like The Insider, have particularly fond memories of his stint as a “road warrior” with the too-short-lived “Fox After Breakfast” and its ensemble that included “Dancing With the Stars” host Tom Bergeron, “Survivor” host Jeff Probst and Orlando Jones.
And let’s not forget the late, great Bob the Sock Puppet, a smart-aleck character that was among the first things jettisoned when brainy Fox executives began to tinker with the elements that made them take the live show from FX to Fox stations across the country in the mid-‘90s.
“I have a piece of his fur up on my wall,” Mr. Keoghan said after The Insider tracked him down to gush about his debut on “Sunday Morning.” (He had already gotten a “lovely note” from CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz.)
“The Long Drive” was inspired by a spirited conversation Mr. Keoghan had with a Scotch taster he had featured about five years ago in one of his “Keoghan’s Heroes” pieces for “The Early Show” on CBS.
“The whisky will have to take a certain amount of credit,” said Mr. Keoghan, who swung by Sterling Castle of “Braveheart” lore to sip a while with the taster on this trip.
Jack Renaud, a longtime producer-friend; wife Louise, with whom Mr. Keoghan has worked since they met 18 years ago; and 12-year-old daughter Elle were with him.
By summer he’ll be globetrotting for the 12th installment of the Emmy-winning “Amazing Race” and its always motley crew of ordinary people-turned-celebrities.
It’s a role for which he’s so cosmically perfect that “Race” fans can only give thanks he didn’t get the “Survivor” host role that went to pal Probst.
“Race” always separates what its host calls “the NOW people” from “the nah people.”


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