Neither rain nor heat nor gloom of night— nor the occasional crashing wave in the South Pacific—has stopped Jeff Probst from presiding over every Survivor episode. (That’s roughly 600 torch snuffs in 21 years, for those keeping score.) And yet, the 59-year-old host and executive producer proclaims that Survivor 41 was one of his favorite shoots “in a very long time.” He filled us in from Fiji about the upcoming “reimagined” season.
When we last saw you in May 2020, you were reading Winnersat War Tribal Council votes from your garage in Hawaii. Any worries about the future of the show at that point?
JP: Making the decision to postpone Survivor 41 was tough, mainly because of the impact it had on our crew. We were taking away their ability to provide for their families. But I never, ever doubted we would be back. In fact, once we accepted that we would have to wait until March 2021 to shoot again, we took the time as an opportunity to step back from the show and look at it with fresh eyes.
And what did you conclude?
JP: It was actually Mike White, a former player [in David vs. Goliath] and one of the best writers I’ve ever met, who pointed me in the right direction. I was in my garage with a whiteboard full of ideas and called Mike to pitch him. He listened politely and then asked me a very simple question: “Is it fun?” I said, “I gotta go” and hung up. I couldn’t erase the board fast enough. From that point forward, every idea was put through the “Is it fun?” filter.
After all the planning and waiting, what went through your head when you finally welcomed the players and started the game?
JP: It was a combination of excitement and emotion. It was so good to see a new group of players wearing their buffs. But the emotions went far beyond the game. This was the first time in over a year that all of us had been around other humans. Because we had been tested and quarantined, we were able to shoot without masks. You could feel the sense of camaraderie and community.
So, how will this season look different from the previous 40?
JP: You can’t compare. This is a reimagined game, and every single element has been heightened. We changed it from 39 days to 26— and then adjusted everything else accordingly to ensure it would be 26 of the most exhilarating days anyone could endure while still playing a game that was already challenging physically and emotionally. The living conditions are extremely difficult, as we did not give the players their daily ration of rice. The pace is blistering fast. The tribes are small. You are in constant danger of losing your vote. There were very few rewards, additional penalties for losing a challenge, many dilemmas, and zero guarantees.
Did your role on the show change as well?
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Yasmine Al-Bustami's Dallas
Welcome to the Lone Star State and bring your appetite. The NCIS: Hawai’i actress shows us around her hometown.
What Happens In Vegas
Mandeep Dhillon, Jorja Fox, and Paula Newsome are solving crimes, changing the game, and kicking ass in CSI: Vegas.
Survivor – Carrying The Torch
After a 16-month COVID-induced hiatus, the groundbreaking reality series Survivor is finally ready to don its buffs again. For its 41st season, 18 brand-new contestants will be marooned on the island of Fiji and will attempt to outwit, outlast, and outplay each other forthe $1 million prize and, if they strategize correctly, the chance to etch their names in Survivor lore. But first: Let’s hear from host Jeff Probst, meet the new cast, and get up to speed with a highlight reel of memorable players, twists, romances, and more. In the words of Probst, come on in, guys!
Full Speed Ahead
When he’s not catching bad guys on Magnum P.I., actor Tim Kang enjoys his life in the fast lane.
The Boo Crew
This Ghosts story tells how the new CBS comedy came together brilliantly in spite of the ghastly pandemic.
24 Hours With... Debra Martin Chase
The first Black woman to produce a $100 million blockbuster (1996’s Courage Under Fire) and land an overall deal at a major studio (she currently has a deal with Universal Television), executive producer Debra Martin Chase is the powerhouse behind the Queen Latifah drama The Equalizer. Here’s a look inside the world of a Hollywood trailblazer.
Emmy-winning The Young and the Restless costume designer David Zyla spills his wardrobe secrets.
Happy 40th anniversary, Entertainment Tonight! The history-making news magazine didn’t just talk about the stars … they were right there with them.
As a former football star, an analyst on The NFL Today, and a new co-host of CBS’s morning show, Emmy Award–winning Nate Burleson shows his versatility every time he’s on camera. And he’s just getting started.
Weights, a skateboard, and protein-packed meals keep S.W.A.T.’s Alex Russell feeling fine.
Cydney Gillon Is Just Getting Started
From excelling at track sports to competing on Survivor to winning the Figure Olympia title twice, Cydney Gillon has wasted no time. And the scary thing is, she’s just getting started.
SURVIVOR WADE TREATED PAK GAME AS HIS LAST
Australia’s Semifinal Hero Drops Hint He May Even Leave After Sunday’s Final
Terror survivors urge media to change attack coverage
Victims of terrorism have issued an impassioned call for the way media organisations report on attacks to change, after some were harassed and left “traumatised”.
Evolution Of The Game
Jeff Probst thought he’d seen it all on as host of Survivor, but each new season brings a whole other survival quest.
HELLO, OLD FRIEND
The Langebaan Lagoon is the heart of the West Coast National Park, but its soul stretches back to the beginning of humanity. Today, like so long ago, it still provides man with the perfect hideaway.
BACK WITH A BANG
Winning Survivor SA launched Rob Bentele into the career of his dreams and soon we’ll be seeing more of him in his new reality show