Hamilton is the workplace backdrop for the Canadians who get their first break on the popular CBS reality show ‘Tough as Nails’.
The blue-collar show, which airs Wednesday night on the US network, opened its fifth season to contestants in Canada this spring. The program also airs on Global TV in Canada.
The show, hosted, co-created and produced by Phil Keoghan (Emmy Award winner for “The Amazing Race” in the US) has been interviewing contestants since mid-July at the former Cannon Knitting Mills in Cannon East Street and Mary Street.
Other city sites – real job sites – were used to test applicants and determine their strength, life skills, stamina and mental toughness.
The teams split the prize for each episode, but the ultimate individual winner of “Tough as Nails” wins $200,000 (US) and a new Ford truck.
The show visited Flamborough Quarry on Brock Road, Corbec Ontario Steel Galvanizing Plant in Glanbrook, Terra Greenhouses in Waterdown, Rona Home and Garden Center in Waterdown, a warehouse on Industrial Drive in the Industry Sector heavy city and farms in Flamborough, including one near Sheffield.
Keoghan, who created the program with his wife Lousie, decided to involve Canadians to showcase blue collar workers here.
“They’re in remote mountainous areas or in Saskatchewan or up north,” he said in an interview on GlobalTV.com. “I wanted to dig into this with Canada because so many Canadians are so closely tied to this pioneering spirit that created this country. It’s about tapping into that culture of Canada.
He said that by opening up the show to Canadian contestants, he hopes to produce a United States vs. Canada season to showcase this timeless rivalry.
“I’ve never met a Canadian who doesn’t have a little chip on his shoulder when it comes to Americans,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve seen a more passionate group of people in the hockey world who love every time a Canadian team beats an American team. Part of the reason for opening the cast to Canadians is that we want to foster the rivalry between the United States and Canada.
Keoghan said he hopes that with the inclusion of Canadian workers, the series will also continue to do what it does best.
“When you meet people on ‘Tough as Nails,’ you realize you really can’t judge a book by its cover,” he said. “You appreciate the value of working class people who are literally the engine of any country. Without them, everything would come to an abrupt end. So it’s about that appreciation.
‘Tough as Nails’ wasn’t the only reality show filmed in Hamilton last month. “All-Round Champion” was shooting scenes for its new season in late July at Bayfront Studios and Mohawk 4 Ice Center on Mountain Brow Boulevard.
The show featuring 10 young athletes from North America airs on TVO and BYUTV in the United States. Athletes compete in sports that are not their own to earn points. Whoever gets the most points is crowned all-around champion.
In other years, the show was filmed at Heritage Green Sports Park in Stoney Creek and St. Mary’s Catholic High School.
Kiefer Sutherland and his Paramount Plus spy series “Rabbit Hole” were back in town last week, after filming in Oakville during the first week of August. The production had its crew and cast base set up at Film.ca cinemas on Speers Road and filmed on the street.
In Hamilton, “Rabbit Hole” was filmed at Cannon Knitting Mills and along the Red Hill Valley Trail off Woodward Avenue.
“Five Days at Memorial” is now streaming on Apple TV Plus. The Hurricane Katrina drama was filmed in Hamilton last summer, including at the Hamilton Convention Centre, Flamboro Speedway and the former Hamilton Spectator building on Frid Street.