Women from the Pacific Northwest named Tara have a good track record with CBS reality competition “Tough as Nails,” landing in the show’s cast two seasons in a row.
For the show’s sophomore season (premiering 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10), Tara Alverson, a 38-year-old mariner from Bothell, follows season one’s Tara Davis, an ironworker from Elk Plain, Pierce County.
Alverson was too busy preparing to return to her current residence, a tugboat in Alaska, to chat about her experience.
“Many of our ‘Tough as Nails’ cast have different priorities from other reality show contestants,” says series creator/host/executive producer Phil Keoghan. “A lot [of them] work in remote regions of the country and need to prioritize getting back to earning a paycheck instead of drawing more attention to themselves about being on a reality show.”
The show’s 12 new competitors include a steelworker, pipe welder, travel nurse, UPS delivery driver and a retired Air Force colonel who was a combat aviator. They’ll compete in challenges at real-world job sites around Los Angeles, including farms, construction sites, high-rise buildings and fishing boats.
Unlike most reality competition series, although “Tough as Nails” crowns a champion, the show doesn’t send a contestant packing each week. While one person is eliminated from individual competition weekly, those who are eliminated stay on the show and can win additional cash prizes in team competitions. (Davis punched out fourth and won $8,000 last season.)
Keoghan describes Alverson as someone who is confident, calm under pressure and with “a little glint in her eye.” She applied to be on the show after seeing a post recruiting for the series in a mariners group on Facebook.
“I liked her grit and determination,” Keoghan says of Alverson. “Doing what she has done for so many years, she has had to adapt and do all kinds of jobs. That’s the nature of her business, you can’t just specialize in one thing.”
Keoghan says viewers can expect Alverson to make an impression in the season premiere.
“Right out of the gate she brought leadership qualities which became evident in the very first team challenge,” he says. “We have a lot of A-types on ‘Tough as Nails,’ people who are used to leading and find it difficult to follow the direction of others. Tara showed she is a team player and prepared to take any role necessary to get the job done.”
While the show’s first season filmed just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down TV production worldwide in March 2020, season two filmed midpandemic in fall 2020.
“Because of COVID restrictions, production was far more complicated [this time] than season one,” Keoghan says. “Although we were shooting outside, we filmed in more than two dozen locations and each location had to have a COVID protocol plan submitted for approval. Unlike shows such as ‘Big Brother’ that are shot in one location, getting approval on multiple locations in a short amount of time was no easy task.”
Keoghan’s other CBS series, “The Amazing Race,” remains on hold. A new season had just begun filming in March and had to be shut down when the pandemic hit.
“Based on the rollout of vaccinations that have started around the world, we are hopeful that the ‘Race’ will return to production soon,” Keoghan says. “It’s still on hold for the foreseeable future. We’re all anxious to get back out on the road as soon as possible.”