(CBS)- Tough As Nails is back for season two, starting tonight at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Tough As Nails is a competitive reality show pitting every day workers competing against each other in team as well as individual competitions and is hosted by The Amazing Races‘ Phil Keoghan.
CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to Keoghan ahead of tonight’s premiere to discuss what fans can expect from the new season.
MW: Hey there Phil! Tough As Nails season two kicking off tonight and first of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be back for another season?
PK: Very excited about being back. Honored to be back. I can’t believe it’s come around again so quickly. Anytime you get a chance to do a second season of anything you can’t take it for granted because it’s just so difficult to do. A lot of shows go out on season one and they don’t go any further. It’s tough to sell a new concept and that stuff. But to get to a season two is in a way maybe even harder.
MW: Were there any lessons that you learned from season one? Either putting together the competitions or maybe casting?
PK: Yeah. You learn so much doing something for the first time. We made a lot of changes. I tell you what, there’s so many things I’ve done the second time that I want to get right in the third time because you just keep learning.
I think that’s why you want to work with people who are better than you at doing their jobs because it pushes you to make the collective effort of everybody better. It’s very important to acknowledge those around you who are the contributors in making sure that you’ve got the right people in the job. You want people that are always striving to be better. The moment that you think you’ve got it all figured out and you know how it all works, you’re not going to strive for excellence. You want to constantly be pushing the boundaries.
We brought in some new technology with the way that we shot the show. We changed the way that we blocked out the show and the coverage. Hopefully, you’ll notice that the cinematography is even better than it was in season one.
We’re the first reality show for CBS that’s delivered in 4K, so we’re trying to stretch the boundaries of the quality. We’re definitely learn so much and you just keep tweaking and tweaking. You just keep striving to be better and better; you’ve got to. You’ve got to be hungry because the competition is tight out there. You got to stand out. It’s all the little nuances, all the little difference that makes you stand out.
MW: Not to blow smoke but we’re going to asset to have you too is a veteran in this genre too. You’ve been through all those seasons of The Amazing Race. Now second season of this. I imagine you’re very involved in making all those tweaks.
MW: One of the strongest parts of that chain is of course, the contestants. What can you tell us about this new batch of contestants we have here for season two?
PK: You’re so right. You can have the best people in the world making something. You can have the best cameras lined up and the best technology. But unless you’ve got really dynamic, captivating people in front of a camera, forget about it.
Even if the format is great on the show, you’ve got to have dynamic people. We have everybody from a water proofer, construction supervisor, delivery man, an former colonel in the military with 3,400 hours of experience including flying in in Iraq. We have a travel nurse. We have a cement mason.
People from all walks of life who come together. We celebrate, who they are, what they do for a living and we see how they fare up going head-to-head in a competition of strength, endurance, agility, life skills, what can they do with their hands. Ultimately it’s mental toughness that separates one from another.
MW: All these men and women have very unique skills and their own attributes that they bring to the game. Are there occupations or maybe skill sets in particular that you find really lend themselves to Tough As Nails?
PK: I do think that farmers because of what they do every day and because of the challenges that they face every day at work, they have to be Jack and Jills of all trades being on a farm. The tractor breaks down they don’t have time to have someone come in and fix it, so they fix it. A storm blows the door off the barn, they got to fix it. They’ve got to paint something, they going to fix a road,or the fence breaks they’re going to fix that. There’s an animal that needs to be rescued; every single day they are picking up a different set of tools and doing a different job.
They have to be good at all of it. I think farmers. If you look overall at all their collective life skills, they can drive things, they can fix things. I think they are not necessarily specialists in one field they are very good at many things. I would say as far as life skills, collected life skills, farmers definitely are right up there.
MW: That self-sufficiency that they really need on their own.
PK: Absolutely, self-sufficiency.
MW: For this first episode, what are we going to see? How are we going to kick off season two?
PK: Well on Tough As Nails, as you know, we have two mutually exclusive competitions. We have a competition to find out who is the toughest of them all in the individual competition. Then we have team competition. Even if someone’s kicked out of the individual competition, they stay for the entire season to compete in a team competition.
Right out of the gate, we have a cement making competition, where the top two finishers then get to pick the two teams for the season, right in episode one. Once those two teams are picked they go into their first team challenge which is framing up a garage on a solid foundation.
I say that every team is built on a solid foundation. We have two solid foundations and the two teams have to frame a garage basically, an entire garage right out of the gate. They never worked together before, they just met each other and all of a sudden, they’re thrown in the deep end. They got to get it together. Its head-to-head and it’s right out of the gate. Twelve-thousand dollars on the line for the winning team.
MW: Hitting the ground running, I love it. Phil, thank you so much, great to talk to you as always. Take care and all the best with the new season!
PK: Thank you!
Tune in new episodes of Tough As Nails, Wednesdays at 8:00PM ET/PT, only on CBS and streaming on CBS All Access. Check your local listings for more information.