NEW YORK – "The Amazing Race" (search) has lowered its age restriction to 8 — and that's not a typo.
It's the first time contestants under 21 are being allowed to compete in the globe-trotting reality show — perhaps turning "Are we there yet?" into the new "Amazing Race" catchphrase.
The new rules are for its upcoming "Family Edition" — in which families of four will compete for a $1-million grand prize,
"We don't know what it's going to reap, but we've already received a lot of really good tapes" with contestants as young as 8, says "Amazing Race" casting director Lynne Spillman.
"I was really hesitant about this at first, but we've received some really cute tapes from people who absolutely love 'The Amazing Race.' "
Spillman said the original cutoff age for "Family Edition" contestants was 12.
"We thought if we were going to do kids, then let's do kids and make it a bigger scope of people," she said. "If we're doing 12-year-olds, why not go younger?
"When you have parents with two kids, and one is 9 and one is 13, what are they going to do with that [younger] child? Who are they going to leave that child with?
"We don't want to eliminate good parents and an older child because they have someone who's younger."
Spillman said the "Family Edition" of CBS' "The Amazing Race 8" will tape this summer, eliminating the problem of having to take a child out of school.
And, since it's a family-oriented edition, the places to which the contestants travel will be, well, family-oriented and appropriate for the age range.
"I think it's really nice to have a show the family can watch together and can identify with — and that's the thought process behind doing this 'Family Edition,' " Spillman said.
"I hope we're going to have a mixture of nuclear families and non-nuclear families.
"I'm dying to find an engaged couple with mothers-in-law-to-be, and I'd love to do a 'Brady Bunch' family with two newly married people and their kids."
"And we always love inter-generational teams."
The deadline for filing applications for "The Amazing Race 8" is Friday, March 11 (cbs.com has details).