The theme tying together the players brought back to compete again for Survivor: Philippines is that they were all medically evacuated so never got a chance to see how they would have fared had their bodies not betrayed them. That certainly makes sense with Mike Skupin (who fell in the fire in Survivor: The Australian Outback) and Russell Swan (who passed out due to dehydration in Survivor: Samoa). But what about the third player, Jonathan Penner? While he was forced to leave Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs Favorites due to an infected knee, that was his second time playing. He faced no such medical complications in his first time out, coming in 7th place in Survivor: Cook Islands. So is including Penner here as someone who didn’t get to play a complete game a bit of a cheat?
“No, I don’t think there’s anything to Penner being a little bit of cheat,” responds host Jeff Probst in the video below. “He was medically evacuated and he’s getting a second chance. You could say he’s getting a third chance. I understand, yes. See, I never look at it that way. This is how I look at it: I’ve been taught by Mark Burnett. I look at it this way: What does the audience want? Then you justify it. And I think the audience has proven that they like people coming back.”
Probst also discusses why it was necessary to move to a three tribe format (and how that may alter the strategy and psychology of the game), as well as why they settled on bringing back medically evacuated players. To see the whole clip, just click on the video player below. And for more Survivor news and views all season long, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.