Survivor: Jeff Probst says to get ready for a 'phenomenal, historic, unpredictable' finale | EW.com

TV | Survivor

Jeff Probst says to get ready for a 'phenomenal, historic, unpredictable' Survivor finale

(Monty Brinton/CBS )

Each week host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Another week and another big medical scare as Tasha needed rescuing out in the water. Take us through what happened and your team’s response.  
JEFF PROBST: That was a tricky one because the challenge course was so long. I was so far away from Tasha and didn’t realize how tired she had gotten. Fortunately, we always have safety divers in every water challenge. They are just on the outside of the course always watching. I know from talking with Tasha that she was exhausted but ignored the signs and kept pushing herself harder and harder until her legs simply gave out. She had no energy left. I’m sure from her point of view those safety swimmers seemed far away but as you saw, the minute she said she needed help, they were there to save her life. 

I often reference how proud I am to be a part of this show and this is another example. Those swimmers hang out in the water for hours during test blocks and rehearsals and challenges and yet they never lose their focus. They know that at any moment someone could be in trouble. And we are extremely fortunate to have an amazing medical team, led by Dr. Joe. He hopped in a boat and was by Tasha’s side in just a few moments. He quickly surmised that she was overwhelmed and rightly so, but she was not in any true danger. He calmed her and then, in typical Tasha fashion, she hopped in the boat, took a quick ride to shore and then with the help of her tribemates walked back to her mat. I think this was the third time I referenced how amazed I was at the camaraderie within such a devilish game. 

This was a massive reward visit to Siem Reap because that place is not close at all to where you were in Cambodia. How were you all able to work out the logistics to get them there and back so quickly?  
That was a very tough one to pull off for so many reasons. It took weeks of negotiating with the government to get permission to shoot there and to do a fly over in our chopper. They normally do not allow that. Then, as you mention, we had to have them gone for an overnight which is tough logistically and also from a show point of view. It’s a long time to be away. But the reward was so amazing that we couldn’t pass it up.

We are fortunate to have a chopper that is ours 24/7 for the entire shoot and we don’t hesitate to put it to use. It is in the air every day whether it’s shooting reality at the beach, covering a challenge, shooting the tribe leaving their camp for Tribal, evacuating players or crew to hospital, or on special occasions taking players on awesome rewards! I wish we had more time to show more of the reward. It was stunning. I was bummed we had to cut it down due to time.

I’m usually a not a fan of players who don’t do a lot more than cause mischief, but I thought it was fascinating watching the other players — those playing with and against Abi — having to adjust their games to deal with this fickle force of nature. How would you sum up Abi’s impact on the game?  
I think Abi caused a lot of havoc and definitely impacted the game. Just ask Shirin. You could not simply ignore Abi because she has a vote and you need that vote — and often Abi was a loyal vote. But there is an invoice and it’s a steep one. You have to both live with her and ultimately have faith she will do what she says she’s going to do. And you have to do this knowing that the slightest thing might upset her and then all bets are off.  

I thought it was interesting that when the loved ones came, Abi was a different person.  She had someone there that she felt safe with and it showed. Then, the minute her mother left, she was back to the same ol’ Abi. I feel for her because I think she has taken a lot of grief this season and it doesn’t appear that she really learned much from the experience. I still root for her.

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BONUS QUESTION: You still owe me one dramatic and absurd finale vote delivery. Any chance Keith drives you and the votes back to Los Angeles in a Tuk Tuk?  
Ha! I’d love that. I tried to get Keith a Cambodian drivers license as a fun bit for the live show, but the government wouldn’t go for it. So for now it will have to be me walking in once again. Lame, I know.

Okay, six players left as we head to the finale/reunion. What can you tell us about both next Wednesday night?  
The finale is … phenomenal. Historic. Unpredictable. And ultimately satisfying. I think it will cap off, in grand fashion, what most fans will regard as one of — if not THE greatest season of Survivor. I have absolutely loved the way this group played. I am proud and impressed by the level of fierce dedication to playing to win. Everybody went big. I hope future players take a note from this season. You want to be a part of something amazing? You want a shot at being asked back? You want to be remembered? You have to play big. You have to remember that if there are 20 people playing, 95 percent of you will lose. So you truly have very little to lose. GO BIG or do yourself and your family a favor and STAY HOME. :)


To watch an exclusive deleted scene as well our pre-game interview with Abi and recent episodes of Survivor Talk just click on the video player above.