Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of Survivor: South Pacific.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’ve suggested in the past that when you have a double elimination episode that you spring a challenge on them right there at Tribal Council and then have a vote-off immediately after, so I loved finally seeing that happen. One thing I was curious about was the decision to let the contestants (and viewers) know beforehand that there would be a twist at Tribal, allowing them (and us) to guess and prepare for it. I’m assuming you went back and forth on whether to do that. Why did you ultimately decide to tease it? Was it in the hopes that it would ignite some extra strategy discussion back at camp, like what we saw with Albert considering ousting Edna while he still had the votes?
JEFF PROBST: We always tease any kind of game changing twist before it happens so that nobody will ever feel that we made it up in response to something happening in reality. For instance, “Now that we know what’s happening, if we did another tribal they might vote out someone we really like so let’s change our minds and not do it!” This goes back to the very beginning of the show. If you think back, there are many times when I reveal a bottle with a note inside, or pull a note from my pocket. It is merely our way of committing to a twist with integrity.
Speaking of the instant immunity challenge, when you asked those trivia questions, were those things that were covered in the pre-game Survivor school info packet that the contestants get? Should future Survivor contestants make sure to pay extra attention to that info in the future? Or were they just random facts?
Yes, they were from the one day Survivor school that we put them through and the pamphlet they receive on local culture, plants and animals. People rarely read through them, but then again it’s also a rarity when someone practices making fire, so no big surprise! It’s human nature to believe “all will be fine.”
Another behind-the-scenes question for you. We’ve hardly heard a word from Rick — at least I think his name is Rick — all season, which mirrors some other recent invisible contestants like Purple Kelly (Nicaragua) and Brett (Samoa). This got me wondering: When you have contestants that clearly aren’t great at narrating the story or providing entertaining sound bites, do you guys at some point during filming start pulling them out less frequently for interviews, knowing the likelihood of them providing something usable is so miniscule? Do good talkers have more frequent or longer interview sessions? Or is that something that all comes together in editing?
Good question. We tend to interview everybody and ask the same questions regardless of how good they are at interviewing/storytelling. We have to do it to maintain a sense of fairness, otherwise contestants might figure out who is calling the shots if we only focused on a few. Plus, we do need everybody to share their point of view, even though we may only occasionally use it. But in editing it’s a different story. The best storytellers get the most time. Period. That’s why you hear from guys like Boston Rob and Coach so often. They’re fantastic storytellers.
Looks like we’re heading towards Savaii’s last stand with Dawn, Whitney, and Ozzy facing off at Redemption Island. What can you tease up for next week?
Next week we’re doing a Thanksgiving special highlighting some “never before seen footage” so that those who are tied up with Thanksgiving don’t miss a regular episode. We worked very hard on this special episode to give the audience new footage. I think fans will enjoy it!
For more from the host on last night’s episode, check out Jeff’s Tout page. To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well our pre-game interviews with Jim and Keith, simply watch the video player below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.