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Phil Keoghan’s New Competition Reality Show, Tough As Nails, Celebrates Grit Over Glamour

Competitors from the CBS new competition reality series Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Tough As Nails features 12 everyday hardworking Americans who roll up their sleeves to get the job done and consider the calluses on their hands a badge of honor.

Tough As Nails airs Wednesdays 8/7c on CBS and streams on CBS All Access.

\u200bHost Phil Keoghan and a reality show contestant at tryouts for Tough As Nails.

Host Phil Keoghan and hopeful competitor Luis Yuli at tryouts for Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.

Last November, a casting call for Tough As Nails went out to Americans across the country, looking for people who "keep the country running and define what it means to be tough." Applicants were then asked to perform eight minutes of burpee pushups.

"It wasn't just about the number they did, but what they could take mentally," says Emmy-winning producer and host Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), who was inspired by his working class family to create the reality competition show. "Who went to a place where they could shut out the pain and continue?"

Hardworking Americans test their brick-laying skills on reality series Tough As Nails.\u200b

These hardworking Americans test their brick-laying skills on the series premiere of Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The twelve skilled workers who proved adept at both are the worthy competitors who attempt to complete exhausting tasks in places including an oil field, a construction site, and a fire academy—with one person emerging the victor at the end of the tenth episode.

Regardless of the man or woman who is left standing, Keoghan hopes audiences will come away with a renewed appreciation of those who make our everyday lives possible. "I would like us never to take for granted the people who make this country work," he says. "Whether they are rod busters, welders, or carpenters, they are valued members of society. These are people whose prized tools are their hands, and they're not looking to get a manicure."

THE TOUGH AS NAILS CONTESTANTS

Contestants pushing wheel barrows in mud on a reality competition show

Pictured (L-R): Melissa Burns, Tara Davis, and Linda Goodridge of reality competition series Tough As Nails.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

The Sturdy Dozen

Pure strength and endurance aren't enough to make you Tough As Nails. Here's a heads up on each competitor's special strength.

Linnett Key

Contestant Linnett Key of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 34

PROFESSION: Welder/Fabricator

SECRET WEAPON: Resilience. This single mom works 16-hour days before coming home to her four kids.

Young An

Contestant Young An of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 36

PROFESSION: Firefighter

SECRET WEAPON: Family values. An supports his parents, Korean immigrants who worked for a better life.

Melissa Burns

Contestant Melissa Burns of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Farmer

SECRET WEAPON: Business sense. Running a farm requires hard work, innovation, and risk-taking.

Kelly "Murph" Murphy

Contestant Kelly "Murph" Murphy of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 48

PROFESSION: Marine Corps Veteran

SECRET WEAPON: Leadership. Murphy supervised 210 Marines his last deployment and brought every one home.

Michelle S. Kiddy

Contestant Michelle S. Kiddy of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 62

PROFESSION: Former Teacher/Airport Gate Agent

SECRET WEAPON: Patience. From screaming students to entitled travelers, Kiddy stares down pressure every day.

Lee Marshall

Contestant Lee Marshall of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 62

PROFESSION: Roofer

SECRET WEAPON: Follow-through. After two years' work, Marshall recently finished roofing a $70 million senior community.

Linda Goodridge

Contestant Linda Goodridge of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 30

PROFESSION: Deputy Sheriff

SECRET WEAPON: Integrity. Goodridge helped build a program helping inmates find jobs—and hope—outside prison.

Danny Moody

Contestant Danny Moody of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 33

PROFESSION: Drywaller

SECRET WEAPON: Strength. Drywall sheets are big, heavy, and fragile–and Moody hangs sixty every day!

Callie Cattell

Contestant Callie Cattell of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Fisherman/Diver

SECRET WEAPON: Endurance. Cattell often works 24-hour days for ten weeks at a time with little sleep, no toilet, and no shower.

Myles V. Polk

Contestant Myles V. Polk of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 28

PROFESSION: Forestry Tech

SECRET WEAPON: Versatility. Polk does everything from wildfire control to scientific surveys and trail maintenance.

Tara Davis

Contestant Tara Davis of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 31

PROFESSION: Ironworker

SECRET WEAPON: Community. Davis' union supports her and her family, and she's proud to represent them.

Luis Yuli

Contestant Luis Yuli of reality competition series Tough As Nails

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

AGE: 36

PROFESSION: Scaffold Foreman

SECRET WEAPON: Pride. Yuli grew up poor, and hopes to show his kids and neighborhood that anything is possible.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, July-August 2020.

SEE MORE: Don't Miss The New Digital Issue Of Watch—Check It Out!

Tough As Nails airs Wednesdays 8/7c on CBS and streams on CBS All Access. Please note new Wednesday night air time of 9/8c starting August 12.

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