'Survivor' exclusive: Jeff Probst reveals the big new twist | EW.com

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Survivor exclusive: Jeff Probst reveals the big new twist

(Monty Brinton/CBS)

Survivor is known for its epic twists. Some are super-exciting and breathe new life into the game; others end up being the Medallion of Power. But the twists—whether they end up working or not—are important not just to keep things fresh for the viewers, but to keep players on their toes as well. Let’s hope this season’s cast is on their collective toes and ready for what is about to be unleashed on Wednesday. [SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading right now if you do not want to know anything about future events of Survivor: Worlds Apart. Seriously, you have been warned.]

We can exclusively reveal that a brand new advantage twist will make its debut on this week’s episode of Survivor: Worlds Apart, courtesy of a purchase at the Survivor food auction. Host Jeff Probst has traditionally sprinkled in a mystery advantage or two that players can purchase at the auction. But while they usually amount to a hidden immunity idol clue or help at the next challenge, this one adds a completely new dimension.

What is it? Allow host Jeff Probst to explain:

“We have a new twist this season which is an extra vote,” Probst tells EW. “Somebody will be given a second vote at Tribal Council and literally will be allowed to vote two times at one Tribal Council—which as you know from watching the game, sometimes one more vote is all it takes to flip the entire game. And because nobody knows it’s coming, they don’t really even know what they’re playing for. And then the question becomes for the person who gets it: What do I do with it? How do I make sure this works to my advantage? When is the perfect time to play it?”

Probst says this particular idea has been incubating for a while. “It’s one that we’ve played with in our Survivor creative workshops. We’ve toyed around with it for years, and it always felt like it wasn’t the right time, which is what I often say to you—it just wasn’t the right time. And it felt like the right time and it yields tremendous results. It’s a bit of power that no one will anticipate coming. And when they get it, the question becomes, now what do I do with it?”

Okay. If you’re at all like me—and I pray for your sake you are not—there are a million questions running through your head right now in terms of exactly how this thing can be used. So I peppered Probst for the nitty-gritty details—and, allow me to say, he was extremely patient as I rattled off my annoying queries. Here, he answers every single one.

So, do other players know you have the advantage?
It’s like a hidden immunity idol. You’re the only person that knows you have it until you tell somebody else.

Do other people even know the double-vote advantage exists?
No. It is reminiscent of the very first time we did a hidden immunity idol. Nobody knew it was out there. Nobody even knew it existed—except the person that had it.

Can the person that has it split their vote and throw votes at two different people, or does their vote just count twice?
You could do what you just suggested, yes. It is literally a second vote. So imagine that you get to go up and vote once, and then you get to go up and vote again. So if you want to split your vote and do two different people, you can. If you want to bag on somebody and vote twice for the same person, you can. If you want to throw away both of your votes and just get rid of it, you can.

When it is revealed that someone has this power?
It won’t be revealed at Tribal. [ED NOTE: Probst means he will not mention somebody has it in case that person wants to keep it a secret.] But like I said, it is similar to the idol in that it is a secret only if the person decides to keep it a secret. So sometimes people don’t tell anybody they have an idol. And then they reveal it. Other times people use the idol as a defense mechanism or an offensive mechanism. You can do the same with this and say, “Look, I have a second vote, so you better vote the way I’m voting tonight,” and then maybe not use it and do it again next week. Or, you could sabotage somebody and surprise them at Tribal and try to blindside somebody out.

How does the player have to reveal it at Tribal?
You would say something to the effect of, “Jeff, I’d like to use my advantage now.”

Does that happen before the voting takes place?
Yes. And I would say, “Dalton has a second vote. A second piece of parchment. Dalton, go ahead and place your second vote.” Cut to a reaction, a reaction, a reaction, and then hopefully cut to blindside.

So I would need to use it at some point during the voting process—either before the voting starts, or after I have already voted the first time. Basically, before you say, “I’ll go tally the votes,” I would have to say “Jeff…” and then cue the dramatic music.
Yes. But to be clear, you might also start Tribal by saying, “Just want to let everybody know I have two votes tonight. So as you’re thinking about what you’re going to do, just know I’m voting twice for Bill.” You can play it any way you want.”

But if nobody has said anything by the time you go up to get the votes, then it’s closed and we’re done. You cannot play it after votes are read.
Once we’re done voting, you can’t use it after we’re done.

Pretty fascinating stuff. Now the questions are: Who gets it and how will it play out? We’ll have to watch Survivor: Worlds Apart on Wednesday to find out. What are your initial thoughts on the double-vote advantage: love it, loathe it, or not yet sure? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.