Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about one of the most bizarre acts of self-incrimination on this show I can ever remember. How much do you think this was an on-the-spot decision by the tribe to get rid of Jenny based on her telling them at Tribal Council about wavering on the alliance?
JEFF PROBST: I think they changed their mind at Tribal. 100 percent. Scott, Jason, and Cydney are playing a very aggressive game. I like it because as I am often heard saying, “The only way to win this game is play as though you don’t mind losing.” You have to make moves. Jenny should be credited, too. She may not have executed it as well as she could have but she was looking “big picture,” which is key to getting deep. Both sides made big moves. One wins, one loses. That’s the game.
The most exciting part of all of this for me is that Tribal Council continues to be a “live” moment where anything can happen. People come into tribal with Plan A in one pocket, Plan B in the other, and the willingness to throw out all plans and call an audible. And remember, this season was shot BEFORE we shot last season, and it’s still hopping!
RELATED: Ranking Every Season of Survivor
You’ve always stated that you want players to find idols due to the drama and unpredictability they inject into the game, but it seems like you’ve made obtaining them a bit more difficult this time as Tai had to first find a clue, then dig up another clue, and then attempt to scale a huge tree to get the actual idol, which he was unable to do. Tell us how you all come up with this concept for the idols and deciding the difficulty level of obtaining them.
As you well know, we the producers relish our role as participants in the game. So anything we can do to add drama, mystery, intrigue, consequence, dilemma … we do it. Making the idols harder to secure adds several layers of drama and it gives the possessor a bit more street cred. They earned that baby! So we just started imagining, beyond finding them in the middle of a challenge, what else could we do … and we landed on this idea! Pretty fun!
And on top of it, we gave them the option to increase the power of the idol but it requires luck and risk: First, you must find a second idol or find someone else who has an idol. Then you must trust them enough to share the fact that you have an idol. Then the two of you must trust each other enough to agree to put your idols together and finally you must agree when to use the idol and on who to play it.
RELATED: Ranking Every Season of Survivor
Survivor has had fascinating hetero-homo friendships before, going all the way back to Rudy and Richard from season 1. What makes the Tai and Caleb bromance so special?
Ah, man, this is my favorite bromance of all time because both people are so likable and the partnership is so unlikely. Think about it. A survivor of the Vietnam war gets on a boat with 100 other people and immigrates to America where he is living a happy life as a gay gardener in San Francisco. He signs up to play a vicious social dynamic game where he meets a tough, young, straight, U.S. Armed Forces veteran. Instead of butting heads, the two become instant friends and allies and share a sense of humor that most couples would love to have in their own relationship.
We knew from the moment we met Tai that America would love him. I was not so sure about Caleb. In fact, at first I did not want him on the show. CBS pushed hard to include him in the cast. They were absolutely right and I was absolutely wrong. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever been that wrong. Caleb is rock-solid and I am so happy he is on the show.
BONUS QUESTION! We are three-for-three so far on the orange Survivor hat this season, which you know has always been my personal favorite. What goes into your decision making as far as picking out which color hat to wear for a challenge or marooning? Set rotation? Spur-of-the-moment selection? Take us inside the mind of Jeff Probst: Fashion Icon.
As you know, fashion was my minor in college. I studied all of the greats and one thing was constant: All great fashion icons have something that separates them from the rest. Marlene Dietrich was known for her masculine pantsuits and bow ties. Audrey Hepburn’s signature style smacked of minimalist chic. And, of course, Marilyn Monroe was the sultry bombshell in skin tight dresses. My favorite professor, Michael Lorenn, saw something in me early on — my penchant for orange. I didn’t even realize it until he pointed it out. My socks, shoes, even my underwear often had a spike of orange. I guess it just stayed with me. When I started Survivor, I swore that if the show lasted long enough I would make my mark. Sixteen years it has taken. Over 450 episodes. Finally, someone noticed.
As for sharing my routine, well that’s a bit like a magician sharing how he does a trick, isn’t it? I think that shall remain my little secret and something to be revealed in the biographies that will certainly follow my passing. In the meantime, I am humbled and enthused that I may finally make my mark alongside some of the greats. Thank you for noticing. Thank you, Professor Michael Lorenn and thank you, America!
Looks like we’ll have some idol searching drama next week on the Brawn tribe. Tease us up for the next episode, sir!
Oh it’s a good one. You thought Tai had a rough go of getting an idol, you ain’t seen nothing yet!