Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m sure you all in production are almost as nervous and giddy as the contestants before a tribe reshuffle — wondering how it is all going to play out and who will end up where. Tell me your immediate reactions when you saw how the new Gota and Bikal tribes were divided.
JEFF PROBST: Anytime we do a tribe shuffle what we are hoping for is a shake up in the game that leaves us with two evenly matched tribes and many broken alliances. We knew going in that we’d have uneven numbers of fans and favorites simply due to the math of who was left, but the big unknown was how the strength would be divided. It was pretty clear pretty quickly that Gota had a distinct advantage over Bikal when it came to physical strength. Fortunately, not all challenges are based around strength so there is still hope for Philip and the remaining members of Bikal.
EW: There was a lot of strategy and division among the Favorites at Bikal going into the decision on whether to vote out Matt or Julia. Julia was seen as weaker in challenges but had a better chance of having a hidden immunity idol, while Matt was seen as stronger in challenges, but also was less likely to have an idol and already had a solid partner in Michael. So, Mr. Probst, had you been one of those Favorites, whom would you have lobbied to vote off?
PROBST: Easy. Julia. At this point in the game, knowing I had the numbers I keep the strength and risk Matt and Michael burning me later. It’s a moment-to-moment game and in that particular moment I have to let Julia go even though I know her loyalty has major value — I want to win to ensure I get to the merge.
EW: I wanted to ask you about Phillip Sheppard, who has still remarkably never been voted out of this game. While I get the sense that his tribe has more been letting him THINK he’s running the tribe more so than him actually running it, he still has far exceeded my expectations this season, especially in challenges. Were your surprised as well?
PROBST: I have been very surprised and impressed with Phillip. He’s easy to make fun of because he lives a very “big” life in the way he carries himself. But for all the jokes, he did learn a lot from the time he played with Boston Rob and is doing his best to keep his alliance immune from betrayal. I do agree that the rest of his tribe is letting him THINK he is in charge and I think that plays to Phillip’s advantage because the longer he is in the game the more likely he is to be taken to the end. To win this game you must get to the end.
EW: Okay, teaser time! Give us a little hint as to what to expect next week.
PROBST: The switch really turns things upside down for Bikal. They have been gutted and it begins to show in challenges.
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.