The Amazing Race aired its first episode in 2001. Since then it has won 15 Emmy Awards and captivated audiences across the U.S. This year, the show has received another four Emmy nominations and looks to set the record for most Emmy Awards by a reality television show. Despite all of the show’s success, co-creators Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster still remember what it was like to find out they were Emmy Award nominees for the very first time.

“It was early in the morning and I jumped out of bed because I didn’t know where else to go, it was really exciting,” said van Munster. “But that was the nomination, in those days we jumped out of the bed for the nomination. It was really, really good, but we felt it was a fantastic honor. It was also the beginning of the reality genre so it was a big honor for us and it’s still an honor for us to be nominated now 16 years later.”

Doganieri took time to reflect back on a time when The Amazing Race was just an idea in her head.

“That day when we got nominated brought me back to when I first had the idea for The Amazing Race,” said Doganieri. “My best friend and I backpacked through Europe for six weeks and I thought from that one idea – this show is now on television and we’ve been nominated for the highest award you can get for a television program. So it was very surreal and I think the first person I called was my mom and dad. They were so proud and they still continue to be proud.”

Tune into CBS for the 69th Emmy Awards on September 17th at 5 PM PT/8 PM EST to see if The Amazing Race can add some more golden statues to their trophy case.

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