CBS apologizes to U.S. veterans for 'Amazing Race' episode

LOS ANGELES, March 25 Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:52pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. TV network CBS has apologized after its Emmy-winning reality series "The Amazing Race" angered veterans with an episode featuring Vietnamese communist propaganda.

The show's host, Phil Keoghan, apologized before the start of Sunday's show for the March 17 episode in which participants in Hanoi were required to memorize a pro-communist song and use a downed U.S. B-52 bomber aircraft in the city as a prop.

"We want to apologize to veterans - particularly those who served in Vietnam - as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast," said Keoghan, reading from a statement.

"The Amazing Race" is a competition in which teams travel around the world to complete challenges and vie for a $1 million cash prize.

About 58,000 U.S. troops were killed during the Vietnam War (1964-1975) against communist North Vietnam. More than 7 million U.S. Vietnam veterans are still alive.

James E. Koutz, a Vietnam veteran and head of the American Legion veterans group who demanded an apology last week from CBS, said on Monday he believed the network's statement was "sincere and heartfelt."

"America is a forgiving country," Koutz said in a statement. "When you make a mistake, you own up to it."

U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war in North Vietnam and one of the country's most prominent Vietnam veterans, said CBS "did the right thing by apologizing."

"We all make mistakes - the issue is closed," McCain said on Twitter.

CBS is owned by CBS Corp.