Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, man, that “1 Survivor!” shot of you standing on that rocky peak looked super dicey. Tell us how the hell you got up — or down — there and if you had any concerns whatsoever about, you know…dying.
JEFF PROBST: Believe it or not just getting to the top of the rock was much more dangerous than actually standing there for the tag line. Here’s how we did it… I was on board the chopper with the door off – our pilot flew in nice and close to the top of the spire and hovered there for about 5 seconds as I stepped OFF, yes, stepped off, the chopper and onto the top of the rock which is only about 2 sq ft. Our director was holding my arm from inside the chopper as I stepped out to the rock- where our safety guy (who had climbed to the top - that’s right - climbed) grabbed my other arm to make sure I didn’t fall off the 125 ft rock and down to the ocean below. He then quickly clipped a safety line to a harness I was wearing under my shirt. For those five seconds I was definitely vulnerable but because of our well planned transition I was never really afraid, but it was without any question one of the riskiest and craziest things we have done. After we had shot the tag line we did the same thing in reverse. I won’t lie, I was concentrating very hard that I stepped carefully and quickly getting out and then getting back inside. I love this job. [See an incredible video of Jeff being dropped off and picked up right here.]
EW: This opening reward challenge reminded me a lot of the one to start of Heroes vs. Villains. Give me some of the sights, sounds, and smells of being there live, including some things we may not have picked up on TV. Who really impressed, surprised, or disappointed you in that competition?
PROBST: The strongest scent was testosterone. It was really amp’d up. Both sides wanted to prove a point. I think part of it is also they have all this nervous energy that they’re waiting to release and so in the first challenge it just bursts out of their body. In a precursor of what is to come, Brandon and Shamar were definitely the most vocal and I was impressed by weaker players like Cochran really getting in there and mixing it up.
EW: Not to make you sound like big jerks, but you and the other producers must have been delighted to have the only returning player who was voted out first come back on…and be voted out first again! That’s just too delicious. And this is coming from Francesca’s biggest fan. How does her being voted out first twice stack up to other Survivor humiliations, such as Matt getting blindsided by Boston Rob twice, and the two people who didn’t even make it past the schoolyard pick ’em in Palau?
PROBST: It is with mixed emotions that I answer this question. The gentleman in me would like to say “it’s a shame Francesca was voted out first once again. She deserves better. She’s a good woman.” But the producer in me is compelled to dig a little deeper into my psyche and once again thank the Survivor gods for blessing us with yet another historic Survivor moment. I believe that within the 90 minute premiere, Francesca ponders being voted out first… again, more than a few times. I think she says she will A) eat a rock, B) drown myself. Francesca, please do not drown yourself, but it might be fun to bring a rock to the live reunion show? All jokes aside, I love Francesca for facing the ultimate fear - that she might be the first and probably only person that will ever be voted off first, twice – and still showed up to play!
EW: Bonus Question That is Not Really a Question: Big week for you, sir! Your book Stranded just hit stores as well. Give us one reason to go spend our hard earned money on it.
PROBST: STRANDED is for middle grade kids, probably 8-12 years old. Though I’m hearing 7 year olds are reading it) It’s Survivor for kids. Mom and Dad get married, each bringing two kids into the marriage. They send the kids on a weekend sailing trip with their favorite Uncle Dex so they can “get to know each other.” But a sudden storm shipwrecks them and they end up STRANDED on an island alone. No adults. It’s the first of a trilogy. So far the early reads have been good and after only a few days we are already top 10 in children’s new releases. I say thank you to all of the loyal survivor parents and young Survivor fans! Oh - one other reason to give it a shot - we priced it to be very affordable at $6.99!! Even cheaper through Scholastic book club!
EW: Okay, back to Survivor. Tease us up for next week, Probst!
PROBST: Episode 2 and already someone wants to quit? What the—&@%!!
To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, simply click on the video player below. To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.