Joe Donlon, Phil Keoghan on ‘Tough As Nails’

CHICAGO (CBS) — You probably know Phil Keoghan as the host of the award-winning long-running show, “The Amazing Race,” on CBS.

On Wednesday night, you catch Keoghan’s new show: “Tough As Nails.” Celebrate people who have critical and difficult jobs.

Keoghan was in Chicago last week. It was one of two cities he visited to promote “Tough As Nails”, the other being Pittsburgh.

He spoke to CBS 2’s Joe Donlon about spotlighting those workers who get their hands dirty to keep the country running, and more. This is an excerpt from their conversation:

Donlon: “You only picked a few cities to promote ‘Tough As Nails’ and you chose Chicago. Why?”

Keoghan: “I’m a huge Chicago fan. I love it here. There’s a value to Chicago and a toughness, you can feel it on the streets. Everyone I’ve met from Chicago has an edge, in a good way. No BS.”

donlon: “I heard you say the other night that your grandfather was the inspiration for ‘Tough As Nails?'”

Keoghan: “I spent a lot of time with my grandfather when I was a kid, during school holidays, and I got to work alongside him in his shop. He was a mechanic, an arrow mechanic in WWII, and then a gunsmith, and just really good at fixing things.

“There are some people who are really smart and very well educated, but maybe they didn’t get that education from a building or an institution, but from doing real life jobs. And that was my grandfather. As ‘tough as Nails is about honor people like him.”

Donlon: “We’ve been told we have to go to college, but in a way, it’s okay to admit that you don’t have to go to college. And there are many trades, critical trades, that keep this country moving and alive. ”

Keoghan: “Education is power. It changes lives. Just because someone didn’t get a degree doesn’t make them any less important to society. My grandfather was taken out of school because he needed to go to work to support the family. So yeah ., if you have the opportunity to get an education in any form whatsoever, take it, take it, be smart and apply it to whatever you want to do and whatever your passion is.

“I’m not saying they don’t go to college. I’m saying there are a lot of really good jobs for young men and women who sometimes aren’t offered those jobs, because they’re told that the path to success, the path to a better life is with a degree. And that’s definitely one path. But it’s not the only path.”

More of Donlon and Keoghan’s conversation is in the video above, including Keoghan’s thoughts on a near-death experience at the age of 19 and how it changed his perspective.

But that conversation was only part of what Donlon bonded over to Keoghan.

To welcome Keoghan to Chicago, we contracted with the Robert J. Quinn Fire Academy of the Chicago Fire Department to put Keoghan and Donlon through their paces with a new recruit.

The Chicago Fire Training Academy team outfitted them both in all their gear. With bunker gear, air tank, and hoses slung over each shoulder, they carried 150 pounds.

The drill involved climbing five flights of stairs, navigating around the top of the building and then down the other side, with more trips up and down after practicing responding to “reports” from survivors on nearby floors. .

“We hit the bottom and my legs were screaming,” Donlon wrote on Facebook. “That’s when Phil said, ‘AGAIN!’ So we went back up. After that, Phil asked how many times the recruits have to do this. ‘Three,’ was the reply. So we went back up.”

If there’s ONE person you don’t want to keep waiting, it’s Phil Keoghan! I had just spent most of the day with the host of Tough As Nails, and before we finished filming I asked him to do this promo. Like everything else we had done, he was in everything. People have asked me, “If you could do any job in television, what would it be?” Easy. I would present The Amazing Race. I’ve been a huge fan for years. Our family used to draw names out of a hat at the beginning of each season, and that was our team until the very end! The concept and execution are brilliant. And Phil is a big reason for its success. Everywhere we went, he was engaged, interested, curious, and friendly. All traits that make him the gracious host that he is. Phil only went to TWO cities to promote his new show. Pittsburgh and Chicago. To welcome you here, we enlisted the Chicago Fire Department to put us through our paces with a new recruit. The Chicago Fire Training Academy team outfitted us with all of their gear. With bunker gear, air tank, and hoses slung over each shoulder, we were carrying 150 pounds. The drill consisted of going up 5 flights of stairs, navigating the top of the building, and then down the other side. Oh, with trips up and down after ‘reports’ of survivors on nearby floors. We got to the bottom and my legs were screaming. That’s when Phil said, “AGAIN!” So we go up again. After that, Phil asked how many times the recruits had to do this. “Three” was the reply. So we went again. What you’ll see tonight on CBS Chicago at 10:00 is the interview we did before we were drenched in sweat. We talk about his grandfather, who was the inspiration for ‘Tough as Nails’. And Phil shares his thoughts on education, careers, The Amazing Race, travel, his near-death experience at age 19, and more. He wanted to share a part that didn’t make it to the final edit. Phil has hosted television shows in 130 countries. So, after traveling the world, where is his favorite place? He defaulted back to his home country of New Zealand. But he added this: “Places are defined by people. You could be in the most beautiful place in the world and if you’re not there with someone you can really share the experience with, it can be the loneliest experience in the world. I love immersing myself with the people I’m with. The environment is secondary. This was truly one of my favorite interviews. I will post it soon. CBS

Posted by Joe Donlon on Wednesday, January 25, 2023

“Tough As Nails” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS 2.