‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Speaks Out on ‘Scary Part’ of Show’s Major Changes

by Craig Garrett

Long-time Survivor host Jeff Probst is weighing in on recent changes to the iconic competition show’s format. COVID-19 forced the show into a long break. However, when it returned for seasons 41 and 42, there were major changes. The impact of these adjustments was significant, with play times being cut by nearly half, the fourth wall being broken, and almost a dozen new surprises springing up.

The onslaught of twists appeared to be excessively intricate from the fan’s point of view. Jeff Probst is raising the question of whether they are becoming too convoluted with their tune-ups. Does the long-time host believe they run the risk of going too far with changes?

“Yes, there is always the risk of going too far,” he told The Wrap. “It’s a real risk. And the scary part is that you can’t change it after you’ve done it. So, it goes back to being comfortable with the risk of having a massive failure. We knew we were going big.”

However, after over twenty years and forty seasons, Survivor needed a shake-up. “And we anticipated that fans and players might think it was a bit too much out of the gate. But we wanted the players to have to reassess everything they thought they knew about Survivor. Everything, ” Probst added.

Jeff Probst welcomes a new era of Survivor

Probst revealed that the network was uneasy about Survivor‘s revamp in season 41. “Yes, we knew well in advance that our 40th season would be the end of an era in terms of how we play the game and produce the show. I think CBS was probably a bit concerned as to why we would dramatically change something that was still getting a good rating and fans were still enjoying, but we’ve always believed in taking chances and trying new things and CBS has given us the permission to fail.” Perhaps one of the most popular competition shows for over twenty years deserves the benefit of the doubt. “That’s huge. If you’re comfortable with the risk of failure, it opens up a lot of possibilities,” Probst said.

Coming up with a new set of play for Survivor was exciting for the showrunners. “From a game design point of view, I felt we had done a good job of exploring the nooks and crannies of the current format for 20 years and we wanted to give the players a totally new game to figure out,” Probst explained. The hook of the new era reinvigorated Survivor, Probst claims. “That’s where the fast-paced, dangerous, 26-day version emerged. It’s a completely different game and the players are still figuring out how to maximize the twists and tilt the game in their favor,” he said.

Still, Jeff Probst believes viewers are the biggest strength of Survivor. “We just finished one of our most celebrated seasons, 22 years into our run,” he said.  “It was the people that made it special. So that’s our biggest job. We have to continue to find interesting people who want to take on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and let us tell their story.”