CBS’s Tough as Nails returns for Season 3 with a whole new batch of hard-working competitors. One thing that hasn’t changed though? Host and showrunner Phil Keoghan.
The series celebrating everyday Americans who exhibit strength, endurance, and mental toughness introduces viewers to the abilities essential workers have in an array of challenges. Coming in all shapes and sizes, participants prove that anyone can be tough with the right kind of attitude and that continues in Season 3.
“One of the great things I’m enjoying is when people recognize me from Tough as Nails,” Keoghan says, “it’s hugely rewarding because there was a time where I just thought I’d never be able to get this show made.” Already renewed for Season 4, Keoghan breaks down what it means to see the show resonate with audiences and previews what viewers can anticipate from Season 3.
This show is your passion project. What has it meant to see it resonate with viewers and return for a third season?
Phil Keoghan: Tough as Nails is a way to show another side of Americans who don’t necessarily get wrapped up in the glitter and are not on a shiny stage. It’s less about the bling and more about the grit and dirt. There’s a place for all of it. I just felt that we needed something on the grittier side. This show is for the men and women who keep our country running and it’s about them.
Considering that, would you say the show has struck a chord with viewers even more due to the role of essential workers amid the pandemic?
There’s no doubt that the show has benefited from us all acknowledging the people who are up all night wiping down the shelves, the ones that are protecting us, and making sure that the power stays on and that our toilets flush. The show is focused on integrity and unity and figuring things out. We don’t steer away from the hot topics that are out there.
This season you have a Crop Duster and other competitors with interesting occupations. What do you look for when it comes to casting?
Mental toughness is ultimately the most important aspect of what Tough as Nails is all about. We’re celebrating strength, endurance, and life skills. So, for a crop duster, what does it take to fly that helicopter eight feet above the ground at breakneck speed, knowing that in an instant, you could have an engine failure and you’ve got to figure out how to land that helicopter safely? You’re flying in between wires and random obstacles in different weather because you’re going to a different place to buzz these fields. No two fields are the same. That’s mentally tough.
The new season kicks off at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base with Season 1’s Marine Veteran Kelly “Murph” Murphy. How did that come about?
First of all, I want to thank the Marines down in Camp Pendleton for being open to the idea of what Tough as Nails is all about. I have many people who have served and done their part, and so this was a way of paying tribute to our servicemen and women, but also showing that it is a career path for some kids who maybe can’t afford to go to college, but they want to learn some life skills. So they embraced the idea.
Tough as Nails, Season 3 Premiere, Wednesday, October 6, 9/8c, CBS