In 2005, Uchenna and Joyce Agu won the race (and $1 million). Rob and Amber Mariano finished second.
On the last leg, Rob and Amber were on a plane taking them to their final destination. The plane pulled back, then returned to the gate for Joyce and Uchenna.
If Rob and Amber had been the only ones on that plane, they could have waltzed to a victory, which wouldn't have been good TV.
The producers have always denied any intervention. Someone at CBS I trust implicitly assures me that not only did the producers not intervene, but a network lawyer was on hand to make sure nothing like that happened.
Still, Rob expressed some doubts. As have a lot of fans.
And "Race" creator/executive producer Bertram van Munster acknowledged the incident when he talked about bringing both couples back for the all-star edition, which begins Sunday at 7 p.m. on Ch. 2.
"We really thought that Uchenna and Joyce deserved another shot at this. The way the show ended with them, the way they handled themselves was just extraordinary and exemplary on many levels," he said in a conference call with TV critics.
But he denied he was looking at this as a rematch.
"I didn't really think about it from that perspective," van Munster said. "But I thought to have Rob and Amber was really a good choice. I mean, they're competitive people; they're a lot of fun."
And, while he didn't give away details of what's to come, he did say the two teams didn't treat it as a rematch, either.
"There was tension between other teams, as you will see. But not necessarily between those two," van Munster said.
Joyce and Uchenna are the only winners from the previous 10 seasons of "Amazing Race" returning, but the show is loaded with familiar faces some teams that viewers loved and some they didn't.
There's friends Kevin and Drew from Season 1; friends Danny and Oswald from Season 2; John and Jill who were dating in Season 3 but are no longer together; married couple David and Mary from Season 10; cousins Charla and Mirna from Season 5; married couple Teri and Ian from Season 3; life partners Joe and Bill (a k a "Team Guido") from Season 1; friends/beauty queens Dustin and Kandice from Season 10; and Eric and Danielle, who were on separate teams in Season 9 but are now dating.
The race starts off by heading to Ecuador and Chile, and van Munster promises it will be the toughest challenge yet. Just don't try to guess who's going to win; Munster himself has never guessed right."That's why I know this show will always be so original, because the outcome of every challenge is always different," he said. "It's the craziest thing. We have tried so many times to predict anything in this show, and when they run up to the mat, it's different from what we thought it was going to be."
E-mail: [email protected]