Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s get your take on the Shamar situation. What would you do if you were playing and had a guy that you needed in terms of numbers for a majority alliance, but he was tearing apart tribe chemistry and had already threatened to quit once? Would you keep him or cut him loose?
JEFF PROBST: I would probably go to someone who I felt was on the bottom of the other alliance and make the following case: “We have the numbers and we will vote your alliance out one by one. There is an opening for you to make a move and join us but you have to decide right now.” And then to add a bit of leverage I would add “and if you say no or if you tell anyone else — you will be the next one out.” If they said yes — I’d make the switch and get rid of Shamar. If not, I think you have to hold onto him a bit longer until you have enough numbers advantage that you can spare him. At that point you get rid of him.
EW: Gotta ask you about this challenge, which I absolutely loved — especially the part with the sunken trunk that needed to be carried through an underwater gate. How pumped do you get when you guys first of all come up with a great challenge idea, and then watch it play out as back and forth as this one? Is there any better part of your job than that?
PROBST: It’s pretty exciting. The first I hear of challenge ideas is on paper. They write them up and storyboard them so you have a basic idea. That’s all we have to go on when we approve them. John Kirhoffer has earned a lot of trust — when he says it’s going to be great, you have no doubt. If John has doubts he will say — we’re gonna do some testing of this first, then we’ll get back to you if we feel it’s strong enough to consider. Then we first see it at a test block. Just challenge dept, Dream Team, me and our director. We walk thru it and decide if we think it needs any modification. Then we rehearse it with a full crew with Dream Team going all out. After that we make final modifications and then run it for real with the Survivors. I love challenges that involve under water footage — love seeing people wrestle with knots or in this case a giant cage! Yes it’s a great moment! Who are we kidding? The entire experience kicks ass!
EW: You guys got away from doing two challenges for a while when you had other things like Redemption Island or three tribes that were taking up more screen time, but I’ve been surprised to see only one challenge the past two weeks. Why the decision to stage just one combo immunity/reward contest? Is that because you all feel you have so many returning players that can hold viewers’ interest?
PROBST: It’s always a delicate balance of show “real estate.” You have 42 minutes to divvy up, so where do you use it? We went with one challenge in the early eps because we felt with 10 returning players there would be enough story. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. The ideal Survivor episode has a reward challenge and an immunity challenge. Or if it’s an Redemption Island season, we have a Redemption Island duel and a combined reward/immunity challenge. We don’t always get it right but that’s the goal.
EW: Uh-oh, looks like a storm is brewing. What can you tease up for next week?
PROBST: Shamar has had a rough go of it from the get go and it shows no signs of stopping. He’s not the only one losing his mind either. More on that in the very near future.
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.