‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Reveals How Show’s First-Ever Winner Reveal on Location Goes Down

by Joe Rutland

The biggest thing for Survivor this past season was that it had a winner reveal on location. So, how does that go down?

Longtime host and executive producer Jeff Probst offers a little “inside Survivor” look.

He talked about it in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Before the season, Probst said, “Yes, we faced our own dilemma when it came to deciding how to handle the final Tribal Council and the reveal of the winner. But this was more risk vs. risk!

“Should we risk it and do what we always do in the hopes we can do a live finale back in the states?” the longtime Survivor host said. “Or do we risk it and announce the winner in the jungles of Fiji and hope the secret stays a secret? Hmm…  What would you do? You’ll have to watch to find out what decision we made.”

He confirmed that the show did, in fact, read the votes and reveal the winner on location at the final Tribal Council last May.

‘Survivor’ Host Said Moment of Reveal ‘Was Really Fun Moment for Me’

“It was a really fun moment for me,” Probst said. “After the last jury member voted, I looked over at the final three and then over to the jury and said, ‘I’ll go get the votes.’ I knew that as I walked away, they were all naturally assuming we were going to do the finale back in Los Angeles months from now. Just like always.”

Probst said he got back to his booth in the jungle where he checks votes and he looked to see who had won.

“It was a cool moment because, normally, I don’t look at the final votes at all,” he said. 

Probst said that he could barely contain his smile “as I sat the urn down.”

After Announcing Winner, Host, Players Get Involved in ‘Survivor’ After Show

He then said, “‘Guess what…?!’ Their reactions were fantastic. Huge smiles. Everybody was excited. And then without any fanfare, I read the votes. It was so quiet. We’re used to the live finale where thousands of fans and family members are screaming with each vote read. Not this time. It was very fun and very dramatic in large part due to its simplicity.” 

Probst tells the players after reading the votes that they were going to do the Survivor After Show.

“And for the next hour, we ate pizza, drank champagne, and had a fun, candid conversation with the final three and the jury about the entire season,” he said. “They were still in game mode so the conversation was raw and pure.”

Erika Casupanan was the victor on Survivor in Season 41.