A native of New Zealand, Phil Keoghan established himself as a popular emcee of reality programs, but did so in a surprisingly positive and uplifting vein, consciously avoiding the grim and sensationalistic pitfalls of contemporary reality shows. He first emerged as a celebrity in his native country during the mid- to late '80s when he auditioned and was selected to host the popular children's television series Spot On, while taking a cinematographers' training course on the side. Not long after, a near-death experience (at age 19) convinced Keoghan to begin living life to the fullest by engaging in dangerous thrill-seeking feats, including cave diving and bungee jumping; he subsequently espoused a number of related philosophies in his inspirational tome No Opportunity Wasted: Creating a Life List. Keoghan moved to Hollywood in successive years, where he served as an on-air correspondent on such programs as The Vicki Lawrence Show (1996) and Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! (1999), but he found his largest audience as multiseason emcee of the competitive reality program The Amazing Race (2001), an elaborate, transcontinental scavenger hunt made up of several teams of people, executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Three years into the program's run on CBS, another Keoghan-hosted reality series emerged; entitled NOW: No Opportunity Wasted and based loosely on Keoghan's said book, it aired on The Discovery Channel and gave contestants $3,000 and 72 hours each to pursue and live-out their dreams on-camera, from dining on top of an erupting volcano to auditioning for a Broadway musical.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Renewed his wedding vows underwater with a scuba-diving priest and a dolphin in attendance.
- Once changed a light bulb on top of New York's 700-ft. Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
- Set a world record for group bungee jumping.
- Ate dinner on the edge of an active volcano.
- Was up for the hosting job for Survivor, but lost the position to Jeff Probst.
- Wrote the book No Opportunity Wasted in 2004 which aims to help people face their fears and realize their dreams. The idea for the book came out of his near-death experience at age 19 in a scuba-diving accident.
- Rode over 3500 miles across the United States via bicycle in 2009 to raise awareness for MS. A documentary following this trek was released in 2011 titled The Ride.