BYUtv debuts ‘Relative Race’; 4 couples chase DNA links across the US

Relative Race contestants— Photo courtesy BYUtv

PROVO (PRNewswire) – Next weekend BYUtv will debut an original, unscripted competition reality show called “Relative Race” – a series the cable television network described as “The Amazing Race” meets “Who Do You Think You Are” (by CBS and TLC).

The series premiere of “Relative Race” will air Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. on BYUtv.  It follows four married couples on a 10-day journey across the country as they complete challenges, meet unknown relatives traced through DNA and compete for a $25,000 grand prize.

BYUtv teamed up with Utah-based production company Lenzworks and Ancestry, using the services of its brand AncestryDNA, a personal DNA testing service that utilizes autosomal testing technology to help consumers find their family history and create a DNA database, according to the AncestryDNA website.

The series follows the teams as they test their emotional and physical endurance while simultaneously discovering more about themselves and establishing connections with family they didn’t know they had.

Armed with only paper maps, rental cars, burner flip phones and a $25 per diem, the couples receive instructions via text message to complete challenges that lead them to their long lost relatives. The last team to finish each day receives a strike, and after three strikes, teams are eliminated.

Relative Race” will culminate in a dramatic finale, BYUtv said in its news release, as all remaining couples race 4,500 miles from San Francisco to the finish in New York City.

A veteran of reality and documentary-based shows, Lenzworks recently produced “United Sharks of America,” which kicked off Nat Geo Wild’s “SharkFest” in the summer of 2015.

“Family history is a powerful subject that virtually everyone engages in at some point in their lives,” BYUtv Managing Director Derek Marquis said, “yet it is most often done on paper or PC and by looking into the past. We approached Lenzworks about developing a series around this subject matter, while pushing the envelope in a way that would connect the living through ties from the past. …”

“Relative Race” is hosted by former ESPN anchor Dan J. Debenham, who has been working in the television and production industry for 28 years as an anchor, reporter, writer, producer and executive producer.

The four couples racing across the country are Anthony and Brooke Brown from Las Vegas, Nevada; Patrick and Janice Wright from Anchorage, Alaska; Bradley and Heather Randall from Sun City, Arizona; and Margo and Doug Engberg from Kirkland, Washington.

“The landscape of reality TV has shifted drastically over the past 15 years into seemingly more contrived and ‘scripted’ programming, ” Debenham, Lenzworks’ principal and executive producer, said. “We were excited to bring reality TV back to its roots by offering viewers an authentic, unscripted and emotional experience, as the teams on ‘Relative Race’ embark upon a variety of adventures traveling to unknown destinations, tackling challenges that will lead them to their relatives – some famous, some infamous – all while racing against the clock.”

The first season will consist of 10 episodes, followed by a “Where Are They Now” episode during which the couples discuss their experience racing across the country and establishing relationships with relatives they never knew existed before the show.

About BYUtv

Owned by Brigham Young University and based in Provo, BYUtv is a high definition cable television network that has created a breadth of original “see the good in the world” programming that fills a void in entertainment the entire family can enjoy together. Programming includes sketch comedy, history, music and documentary offerings. The cable television network continues to build steady momentum, according to its news release, drawing new viewers to its shows from every state of the country. The noncommercial station is available in more than 55 million households in every state of the country on Dish Network, DirecTV and over 800 cable systems; it offers approximately 1,000 hours of original programming annually, including 500 hours of live HD collegiate sports.

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