Hello reddit! Jeff Probst here – you probably know me best as the host of Survivor on CBS. I’ve traveled all of the world as a host, producer, author, ordained minister, director and writer.

Hope you’re getting excited for the Survivor: Cagayan finale on Wednesday at 8/7c! We’ll be crowing the next sole survivor! If you missed last week’s episode, catch up here before the finale.

Also, check out my New York Times best-seller STRANDED.

Alright everyone…ask me anything!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to come ask me questions. I hope you all enjoyed this season of Survivor and I do hope to come back to reddit again soon! Don’t forget to tune in to the finale to find out where we’re headed to next season! https://twitter.com/JeffProbst/status/468466059402825728

Comments: 998 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

beegsman236 karma

Jeff, at the end of Survivor: Amazon, you left the last tribal council on a jet ski to get back to the United States. Question is, how long did it ACTUALLY take you to jet ski that far and still have great hair?

JeffProbstHere575 karma

That was a fun shoot That was back in the days when we did these really nutty entrances with the votes. We did shoot in the Amazon. We brought in a jetski and I raced out of there with the votes. Then we went to NYC and I rode the jetski on the Hudson and it was the COLDEST day I ever remember experiencing. No exaggeration. I was truly freezing. Took about 7 hours to thaw out. They thought I had hypothermia. I had no "long johns" underneath my clothes - just that damn blue Survivor shirt! But I remember the best moment of all - it was just after 9/11 and I jet skied past the statue of liberty. It still brings back the memory - I don't think I've ever had as much patriotism pumping through my body. I was so proud to be a U.S. Citizen. Thanks for reminding me!

NorthZeroEast226 karma

You often point out when people are having a tough time in challenges. Does anyone ever tell you to fuck off?

JeffProbstHere346 karma

I don't really do it with the intention of being annoying - even though I know it's frustrating for them - I think it's just become an added layer to the game and part of my "play by play" which I also know drives people nuts! If someone told me to fuck off, then I'd know that I was fully in their head. I do sometimes rehearse a challenge and John Kirhoffer (our challenge supervising producer) will play "me" and he does the same thing and man is it hard to solve a puzzle with someone telling you you suck!

Blackstream221 karma

Since you seem to be in the market for idol suggestions, I want to suggest my own. A small secret clipon idol that you (ideally secretly) clip onto your vote, and it makes that vote count double (giving you another number effectively). Call it the secret idol or something, because you won't necessarily know who played it (it's great for backstabs), and more importantly, it's generally weaker than a normal idol EXCEPT that it happens to beat split voting and you don't have to guess who to play it on.

JeffProbstHere330 karma

This is a very clever idea. We have played around with the idea of extra votes - and may do it one day. I like your "visual" idea of how to play it. When we have a new idea we run scenarios for a long time to try and find the places where it will backfire. Extra votes are a fun idea but we have to be certain we've thought of every situation and how it might play out. I like hearing that a fan is okay with an extra vote too -because it is clearly very powerful. If we end up using your idea on the show I'll deny this was me and be sure to take full credit for coming up with it myself!

JeffProbstHere206 karma

Hey guys! I'm so sorry I have to end this. I truly enjoyed it. I feel so lucky to have such a unique relationship with the fans of our show. I liked your questions, I appreciate that they were real and you wanted certain things answered. I hope you are satisfied with my responses. We can do it again sometime. I hope you enjoy the finale this Wednesday. I'm gonna start the show live and pop in a few times during the finale (I can already hear some of you bitching) but the idea is to make it a big more of an event and share a couple of tidbits and insight with you to make it even more fun! Either way I'll be there and if you're at the live show say hey!! Later!

DabuSurvivor146 karma

This right here isn't a question, but I want to say please keep it up with seasons like this one -- balanced editing distributed among a cast of new players. Lots of people really appreciate it.

Zero_Heart38 karma

I like this season but to say the editing is balanced? There were a lot of times where it seemed like only Tony and Spencer mattered.

JeffProbstHere247 karma

Okay let's address this -- we put people on Survivor for a few reasons - one of them is their ability to tell a story. The reason people like Tony and Spencer or Boston Rob or Parvati or Phillip or Coach end up on the show more than others is typically because their "interviews" are more interesting or do a better job at telling the story and with some "flavor!" We aren't just putting Tony on because we like Tony better -- that's really it. It's not an editing bias. Some people pop better than others. We'd love to have all 20 people be fantastic - but it doesn't always happen.

UnderwaterDialect120 karma

What do you miss most about the early seasons?

JeffProbstHere290 karma

There was an "amateurish" feeling to our early seasons, especially season one -- where it really was cinema verite - we had cameras in the shots, we didn't always have great audio - but it was really compelling because it was so raw. Our show is now much more polished, which is ultimately a much better way to tell the story. But there is something very innocent about season one that will never be there again. Great question.

DMod119 karma

I'm a huge survivor fan and have been hooked since the first season and I think you are on an incredible run with amazing seasons lately, so congrats!

My question is: What are your thoughts on the players use of social media, like twitter, while the show is airing? It can sometimes be pretty telling how a season will go based off of who is following who and who is fighting with each other on twitter.

JeffProbstHere242 karma

Personally I don't like it. If it was my decision I would not let them use social media. I agree with you it is too risky. This is a CBS decision and I don't have any say in it. Generally speaking I don't think it gives us one more viewer and so the upside is not worth the potential downside.

where_it_began96 karma

Jeff, this season on twitter, some of the castways have gotten a little too close to giving away some parts of the season (Spencer and Kass feuding, Morgan and Sarah using the hashtag "ponderosa queen" before Morgan was voted out, for example).

Any chance of a twitter or social media clause being added to their NDA?

JeffProbstHere195 karma

I'll answer this again in the hopes that the VP of publicity is reading this - I do not think we should do it. It works on other shows but not a competition show that is still on going. Big risk. I fear it will bite us in the butt one day. Thanks mom, for sending in the question.

udliketoknow83 karma

Hey Jeff,

You've branched out a lot over the years with projects other than Survivor. Have you ever consider leaving the show? Do you think it could survive without you?

Personally, I would hate if you left. You're a staple of the show

JeffProbstHere207 karma

There were a couple of times where I felt a bit burnt out on the show and did consider leaving but wisely CBS and Mark Burnett said "take a couple weeks and think it over" and I did and realized "This is probably the greatest job I'll ever have!" And fortunately didn't make the mistake of leaving. I am as connected and as committed to the show as I ever have been. No intention of leaving. Love the team we have and the relationship with the audience - which is KEY for me. We make the show for our fans.

vividoblivion77 karma

Hi, Jeff! Thanks for doing this AMA!

I really miss the infusion of local culture and history into the challenges and rewards of the earlier seasons. Africa, Vanuatu, and China are some of my favorites because the cast was fully immersed with their surroundings.

Will we ever get to see more diverse cultural offerings in future seasons of Survivor?

JeffProbstHere102 karma

You know this comes down to a few things -- it's harder for us to find "new cultures" that we haven't explored (after 28 seasons) and it's also a question of time available in an episode. We have to decide what stories are going to be most interesting. As much as I love culture - I really do -- the fans do seem to enjoy strategy and game play more than culture. Thanks for the question!

DabuSurvivor42 karma

Have you thought about removing the Hidden Immunity Idol as a twist, as they are rarely played effectively and it would free up time for other strategies, rewards, or character development? Trying another Idol-less season, if only once or twice, could be a worthwhile experiment and it would give you guys more freedom about what you could show, since you wouldn't be obligated to devote several minutes to explain vote-splitting, show people finding Idols, etc.

JeffProbstHere63 karma

I kind of answered this earlier - but I disagree that they aren't used effectively. It's often a matter of opinion and often based on limited information. I do think they change the game up a lot and often just the threat is enough to move the game one way or another. Look, I could be wrong but it's a big risk to take away an element that has been responsible for dozens of great memorable Survivor moments. I think a better direction to head is "how else could idols be used....." Hmmm...

Zero_Heart11 karma

How do fans generally respond to the family visits? They weren't really in this season besides a small scene with letters.

JeffProbstHere35 karma

They flip for them. You can't really appreciate how much you miss your family until you are away from them with no way to reach out (phone, email, text) and on top of it you are living with people who want you out of a game worth 1m dollars. It's so stressful. I see the "safety" that they feel when they see a loved one. As for this season. it's not over yet!

Devaux75 karma

What was going through your mind during the second tribal council of Cook Islands as Billy Garcia professed his love for Candice?

JeffProbstHere115 karma

This is an AWESOME moment. And why not - Candice is beautiful and smart! He has good taste.

b00n9666 karma

Got a quite a few questions for you, Jeff. Hope that you can answer these for me:

Honest opinion. Is there a season of Survivor that you didn't like while hosting? Or that you didn't like after the fact the season was done?

On the /r/survivor subreddit, one thing that is important to a viewer is the location of the season. Samoa has been used for four seasons, the Philippians for four seasons, and if rumor has correct, we are headed back to Nicaragua for another two. Are we ever going to get a more distinct location, as in China, or does production budget just simply not allow more exotic locations?

Who are players that you want to see make a return but have not returned for a second time? And why is not Shane Powers?

What happened at the Caramoan reunion? In the first time ever, pre-merge wasn't on stage. In addition to that, half the jury was not asked a question. It's understood that the reunion is under time restraints but a lot could have been cut out to make time for the jury.

What's your favorite and least favorite "twist" that has been used on Survivor?

Why did the format change for post-merge reward challenges? It used to be the winner of a reward challenge gets to pick one or two people to come on reward. Now they are randomly put on teams and compete for reward?

How's the bromance with Boston Rob?

JeffProbstHere156 karma

Okay you have a lot of questions - I'll answer a couple of them that seem most polarizing --

Seasons I didn't think worked --- Fiji was one that I didn't feel great about while we were doing it. Can't tell you why exactly - and nothing to do with Earl winning - he was a good winner. It was just an overall feeling combined with a location that didn't feel right.

Locations in general as noted earlier are very very tough to find for lots of reasons. I don't worry about the location as much as I do the cast and theme. If we get those two right we are usually okay.

I don't even think half our crew would know which jungle we were in if we blindfolded them and dropped them. Sometimes a beach is a beach. But never is a contestant just another contestant.

Caramoan Reunion - couple reasons we had the non-jury off the stage. The biggest reason was we were trying something new. I hated how much it hurt the feelings of the non jury. I am not a cold or uncaring person. I knew they felt slighted. We made a mistake in not telling them ahead of time and I take responsibility for that. The reason the idea came up in the first place is we knew Brandon would not be at the show and we didn't want it to be a big deal. Turns out it became a bigger deal as a result of our decision.

As for asking questions to every single person during the reunion show. I don't believe the average fan wants that - I ask people constantly and in fact one of the most common answers is - "please don't waste questions on people who were out early." It's a harsh truth but there are some stories that are more interesting than others.

As a human I feel badly that I don't have time to do 5 minutes with everybody - but as a producer I have a responsibility to deliver what I thin is the best show content.

EFINI61 karma

A decade ago after All-Stars you were extremely critical of the concept of bringing back returning players, going as far to say that it wasn't Survivor when returning players were involved and that you hoped to never see returning players again:

Much like the Outcasts, I would hope we never do All-Stars again, because Survivor is a game about strangers living together. Once they have had that experience and have spent time together socially, it's a completely different game. It's stunt casting.

When and why did you change your mind since you seem to be quite a fan now? By the way I'm genuinely interested to hear your answer, I don't intend for this to be a “gotcha” question, I'm not against returning players (but not too often and not with “fans” who never stand a chance).

P.S. speaking of returning players, bring back Crystal Cox. <3

JeffProbstHere79 karma

Great question. I made that comment back in 2004 I think. The first all-star season was an idea from Les Moonves (who runs the world and CBS) and I didn't really understand why we would bring back returning players when we were doing so well with new ones. But what Les knew and I have since learned is that tv shows need stars - and fans like stars - so every so often you bring back some of your "old stars" and it's fun! Now I really love bringing back players. I continue to learn thanks to having really good teachers like Mark and Les.

Jragyn53 karma

Budgetary concerns are usually a sign of impending doom for any show. Please tell me budget wasn't a factor in not having a loved ones visit this season. (I'm already assuming it's timing, not budget, that isn't giving this season its normal Sunday finale/reunion.)

JeffProbstHere125 karma

Ah so glad you asked this.... do you know what happens when you assume -- remember that one? You make an ass... well my friend and I mean that lovingly--- the season is not yet over is it? Ah thee of so little faith!

AmantEris53 karma

Do you ever have contestants who totally surprised you once on location, and who did not fill the "role" (i.e. "villain" or "sweetheart") you expected to when casting them?

I ask because I read an interview that said Edgardo Rivera was cast partially because of a story about him seducing a friend's girlfriend to prove she was disloyal. Perhaps cast to be a villain but he turned out as one of the nicer guys on Fiji.

JeffProbstHere65 karma

Yes it happens. Sometimes it's because people just get overwhelmed or the lack of food and intense heat is too much and they wilt -- and sometimes we just make a mistake in casting them in general. But for the most part we're pretty good about our casts. Our casting director Lynne Spillman and her team work so damn hard to find the right people. Edgardo did have a story about his buddies girlfriend but I don't ever remember that as being a big deal or us hoping he'd be this incredible villain. I thought he was great on the show!

rtretick53 karma

Hey jeff Huge fan of survivor Quick Question..how long does it take you to come up with your words of wisdom after Tribal

JeffProbstHere159 karma

Good question -- here's what happens. I go back and get the votes and put them in the most dramatic order and then I have a few moments to think about what to say. Usually it's centered around what happened at tribal- but sometimes we're at a point in the show where it seems to make sense to comment on the "bigger picture" -- so usually it's 3-5 minutes. It's funny that it's now a staple because it started off as just a one time thing and then I did it again and then it started feeling like part of the fabric of the show. That's how 90% of the things I say came to be - I just said it one day and it stuck -- like "got nothin for ya" -- :)

themindreader53 karma

Huge Suvivor fan, had these questions planned for over a week now :)

Current season questions!

  • Does Spencer still 0% chance to win? I know you said that preseason, where his interviews even annoyed me, but from where he is now if he can make it to the end, he wins.

  • Why bring the Tyler Perry Idol (or 'Special idol') back? It isn't a new concept. It gave Yul a free ride to the win, and gave Tony too much power which lessened the suspense from a viewer standpoint. As a producer, I assume you wouldn't want this kind of reaction, there is little counter play to this, why bring it back? Others! Your thoughts on Final 2 vs final 3? Why the change?(Glad to hear this season is final 2! Best season in a long time) Others!

  • Your thoughts on Final 2 vs final 3? Why the change?(Glad to hear this season is final 2! Best season in a long time)

The advantages to a final 2? IMO it gives Survivor players as much of a chance as they can get to win. With one more Tribal, one more vote out before FTC, they have more room to maneuver, no matter how small it may be.

  • Is there truth to the rumor that in Fiji, Yau-Man(Bring him back!) broke the car reward challenges? As people weren't happy about their products only being used as bartering tools. It would be hilarious if it was true. Or was it the more likely scenario of a cost/sponsors dropping kind of thing?

  • I miss the old Pondersoa videos showing the jury having fun, like this one. Now they are all the same, showing Jury X, Y, and Z eating and looking themselves in a mirror shocked at the weight loss. Bring back the old style please?

  • Last, but not least. Obligitory; Put me in the game, coach? I will not dissapoint ;)

JeffProbstHere64 karma

Well since you said a week - okay here we go... 1. Spencer - clearly I was wrong! I will deal with that on the live show so be sure to watch. I own my mistakes and that was a bad early assessment!
2. Tyler Perry - we'll also talk about this on the live show - but I will say that honestly we didn't think anybody would find it. We BURIED IT and there was no clue We just wanted people thinking it was out there. But Tony flipped it upside down when he lied about how late in the game it could be used. He has forced them to make him play it in order to find out it's power. Brilliant. 3. I tend to like 3 but I know a lot of people like 2. It has to do with how many people start the game. This season we had 18 so it's easier to do. But if we have 20 we simply have too many people to pull it off without doing a lot of double elimination episodes which I hate. But we need 20 because so many people end up getting evacuated (or quitting) so we need some security in how many we bring out to play.

  1. Don't remember anything about Yauman breaking a challenge? Oh you mean brought an end to them? Absolutely not - the sponsor LOVED that twist. It was HUGE. I think the car sponsor just stopped sponsoring the show. That happens. Advertisers come and go depending on what they are marketing in a given year.

Thanks for the questions!

ellieleg49 karma

HEY JEFF! I know you get asked a lot if Canadians will ever be allowed on Survivor...but here's a proposition...what if you did a season where one of the tribes was made up of Canadians? A friendly cross-border rivalry never hurt anyone!

JeffProbstHere89 karma

It's a "rights issue" -- I just spoke at a fun conference in Toronto recently for Global TV and I came back and hit our lawyers up again to try and find a way to make it happen. So far we can't get around the fact that we only have the rights to make an US version and that means with US citizens. We know how much of a fan base we have in Canada. I'm trying.

GoTeamAwesome48 karma

Hello, Jeff.

I want to start by saying that the current season (28) of Survivor is the best yet. Casting is a huge reason why. I will always favor a great cast over gimmicks (e.g. Redemption Island). However, my question is unrelated to Survivor.

You have great comedic timing as host of The Greatest Event in Television History. The scene from the Too Close For Comfort episode where you acknowledge that the show has footage of a ghost is sublime. Can you tell me how you were chosen as host for that show, and do you have plans to do more comedic projects in the future?

JeffProbstHere36 karma

Hey thanks for the nice words! I LOVE doing TGEITH. Adam Scott who created the series with his wife Naomi - called me to host it. We've known each other for a few years. I was really flattered and had a blast playing a bit of a parody of a host. At least it was intended to be a parody!

ChildScott45 karma

Do you have anything in your closet besides that blue shirt you always wear on the show?

JeffProbstHere97 karma

Only a few options - my survivor closet is really funny -- those shirts are old and so are my shorts and so are the pants I wear to tribal. They always want to get me new shirts and I always say - "Why?" They all look the same, let's put the money into the show!

unjabbered43 karma

Jeff Dimples Probst, you're my man. Are there any production decisions made for Survivor that you regret?

JeffProbstHere74 karma

Medallion of Power. I never liked it. Didn't speak up loudly enough. We do make mistakes - we know that. But I hope you guys feel that generally we make good decisions. Here's the truth and any show creator will tell you this -- you don't know what will work until you try it. If it's right you're a genius, if it's wrong, you're an idiot. I like the risk - I'm okay being an idiot so long as I believe in the idea. Medallion of Power I didn't believe in so that was a hard one. But RI -or "Idol with special powers" etc - I believe in their foundation and what we hope to accomplish. You MUST take risks in life. Otherwise you're just wasting your time on the planet.

Dr_Fargo140 karma

Season 30 is being rumoured to be survivor legends...any comments?

JeffProbstHere84 karma

Once again - a "rumor" -- I love the title "Survivor legends" - but can't confirm or deny anything. I will say this though --- we look at season 30 as another season. Not the end of anything. That's been very interesting to me to listen to people say "You gotta do something REALLY BIG for 30!" I'm not sure I agree. What we have to do is a great season. That's the most important thing. And I'm loving having new players -- between this season and last I can think of 9 people just off the top of my hungry head that could be asked back -- tony, spencer, kass, tasha, sarah, hayden, vytas, culpepper, ciera -- that's kind of amazing.

Andersongirls440 karma

Hey Jeff!! Where did YOU sleep while on the islands??

JeffProbstHere123 karma

The crew sleeps in whatever accommodations are available. In the Philippines we were situated in the middle of the ocean. On this one island there just happened to be a massive (usually empty) casino and a large hotel (usually empty). No idea what goes on there when we're not around but it made for an awesome base camp for us as we all had our own rooms with showers and air conditioning! We have slept in tents many times in the past. Especially those first seasons. I remember so vividly being in these single person tents in Kenya. It was incredible. Every time you'd pull your cot out to look at the stars and then every morning when you unzipped your tent you did it as quietly as possible because you knew there was a good chance you'd have a herd of Zebra or a few giraffe outside your tent. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for sure.

Keyblade2739 karma

Greatest Show on TV today

Is an All Winners season something you would like to do?

JeffProbstHere73 karma

comes down to enough of them wanting to do it - an even division of men and women and enough winners that are truly interesting and worth bringing back. Not all winners are great characters.

jessicafrey37 karma

you once said rob cesternino was the best player to never win, has that changed since there has been alot more seasons?

JeffProbstHere67 karma

Well that was oh about 20 seasons ago! I still think Rob played a fantastic game. He's so sharp not only strategically but also has quite a wit. I think Rob's problem the second time was his "game" was known and he couldn't get away with as much. If he played again today I think he might be a threat again because so much has happened between then and now.

jeric13xd35 karma

Hey Jeff, big fan of you and ofcourse Survivor.

My questions:

1) Who do you think played the best strategical game on Survivor ever?

2) Who's the most fascinating contestant ever? and Why?

3) I don't know if you can answer this but who are you rooting for to win Survivor: Cagayan?

By the way, it's been great that you guys have been doing the show in my homeland, the Philippines, for the past 2-3 seasons! On behalf of Filipinos like me who hasn't been back there for years, thanks for showing the world how beautiful our country is.

Thanks Jeff and keep going for that elusive Season 68 lol.

JeffProbstHere51 karma

  1. There have been a lot of great strategists - and I know I'll leave someone out and that will piss them off - but I am sitting on my couch, I kinda have to pee and I'm hungry - so this is what you get -- Parvati (she's pretty sharp) Boston Rob (say what you want about my bro crush -the dude is very good at strategy) Cochran is good. I think Andrea is very good too. Tony and Spencer are good strategists although play very different games. I'm trying to think back to earlier seasons and I'm going blank. I think the most overrated strategist is Richard Hatch. He hates when I say that but though he did win and play a good game, he had a lot of breaks go his way that covered up some poor strategic decision making.

Glad we could show off your homeland. I will tell you that in all the locations we've been too - the best local crew was in the Philippines. Nobody even close.

MaverickVox35 karma

I know how Survivor is always thinking of big twists to change up the game, some work, some don't. However, I think the biggest possible twist now would be to not have a twist. Has there been any thought given to throwing new players into a "Classic Survivor" season, with no Hidden Idols and only a Tribe Swap in the mix?

JeffProbstHere55 karma

This gets pitched a lot - but my hunch is that it would be like an episode of the Sopranos where nobody gets whacked. Just not that satisfying. Sounds good on paper but idols and switches turn the story and that tends to lead to great moments.

survfan35 karma

Have you ever loved someone in casting that CBS or Mark Burnett hated or didn't like? Who wins in that situation?

JeffProbstHere48 karma

Casting is very thorough. It starts with a wide net. Then when our casting team narrows it down the producers start to see people and begin evaluating. Yes there are times when we disagree but we talk through it and almost always find common ground. But if push comes to shove Mark and Les Moonves decide. Les Moonves still approves every casting decision on our show. Wonder why CBS is #1? That might be the place to start - he pays attention to detail.

nyc55david31 karma

A few questions for Probst:

The two main things I have learnt from the 'tell me 3 things you learnt about Jeff Probst' question I ask my guests on 'Survivor Oz' is that you are short and have a bit of a potty mouth. Will we ever get to see Jeff Probst uncensored on any season in the future and how tall are you?

I used to ask the question to all my guests on the show how many cargo shirts a season you went through and it would be fantastic if you could share with us just how many you do go through! Just to clear it all up for us...

Are you still BFFs with Aussie TV host Rove McManus? And if so when can we expect to see you in Australia next?

Finally, I've been trying for 2 and half years to get you on my show for an interview! What does an Aussie have to do to land a chat with you! Even a short interview would suffice! I will supply you with all the cargo shirts, kangaroos and Tim Tams you desire!

JeffProbstHere136 karma

That's funny. I'm short and have a potty mouth, eh? Fuck that. They can suck it.

I don't have that many shirts - probably 5 or 6 and we always have a "double" in case I ruin one.

Same with shorts -- I mean how many shorts do you really need? One of the great things about Survivor is I don't have to shave or even shower. Just throw on a cap, grab a shirt and head out !!! No "hair and make up" time in the chair.

Getting an interview with me? You? "YOU GOTTA DIG DEEP!"

markclaassenx30 karma

When the people get to Ponderosa, are they told who voted them out?

JeffProbstHere70 karma

We do not tell the contestants anything - ever. Someone who was voted out before them might tell them things that happened earlier in the season but nobody from production ever shares anything. That would be a major breach of trust. The other interesting thing about Ponderosa is people who have been voted out often have grudges and so you cannot trust what they tell you because it could be a lie or it could be rumor or speculation. This game is very tricky - you have to vote people out who will then get together and gossip about you - and you have to do it in a way that will still want them to give YOU the money. No different than politics at an office.

survivormaryland27 karma

Jeff--at what point over the seasons did you start to feel comfortable calling out the contestants during challenges? Early on you seemed like you loved watching them and didn't want to be mean to them at all.

As a survivor host myself (I run a college version), I find that calling out contestants is one of the hardest things to do, but I'm working on taking up tips from you. Love the show and can't wait to meet you in casting someday ;).

JeffProbstHere50 karma

It started in Thailand. A "fight" of sorts started during a challenge and I got into a bit of a shouting match with clay and someone else -- and we left it in the edit and CBS loved it. Up until that time they wanted me to remain neutral and have no opinion. I loved when they opened up the flood gates. It allowed me to be more honest in my responses and like them or not (like me or not) it's the only way to host a show. You have to be authentic. You're either right for the job or you're not but pretending to be a news anchor or pretending to be a tv show host just won't work.

As for advice for calling out contestants -- it may not be your thing. Maybe your thing is always encouraging or maybe your thing is sharing what you think the audience is thinking -- just try doing it without any expectation and no filter. See where it takes you and see if you can find your own groove. Don't imitate me - you'll be much better being you! Good luck!

arrogantsob26 karma

I have heard that Survivor is not all-or-nothing, and that there are some small payouts given to losing players, that increase the later they make it into the game, as an incentive to keep people playing even when they're in a hopeless situation.

Is this true, or just a rumor? If true, what are those payouts?

JeffProbstHere47 karma

Yes. Basically true. 1m first place 100k second and it drops from there. First out gets very little. This is a winner take all which is why it makes NO sense to play for the jury. It's a waste of your time. when you sense a big move should be made- make it.

admiralsfan26 karma

Hi Jeff!

I honestly feel survivor would not be the same without you. Two questions for you.

  1. What's your favorite part about hosting survivor?

  2. How much longer do you want to keep the gig of hosting survivor? Any plans of finding your successor? I've heard rumors of Cochran but I don't know what to expect.

JeffProbstHere39 karma

I just had to answer this because I always get a kick when I read someone saying " the rumor is..." Honestly and this is the absolute truth. 90% of the rumors I read about the show are not only wrong they're just completely fabricated. No one has ever talked about a former player being the new host. I do think there are some people who would probably be great at it, but the discussion hasn't happened. Nor have most of the "this is what they're doing next season" rumors -- I wish we had that many creative ideas but they're very few and far between and take us months to figure out what we end up doing. But it's fun to read and I do love Cochran's sense of humor and point of view.

TraverseTown25 karma

Has the jury ever made a mistake?

JeffProbstHere58 karma

From their point of view - never. They are the jury. It's their game. I only take issue because so many times they let their own personal bitterness get in the way of a rational decision - who played the best game? But I do realize that's how life goes. You piss someone off and then the boss asks them "What do you think of Probst for that promotion?" And they say "he's a dick" and you're out. So .... I guess I go back to my first answer. From their point of view - no.

thecrashtd24 karma

Hey Jeff! So what happens at the end, in the event of a tie? With a final 3, and 9 jury members, I feel like it's bound to happen. Would there be a re-vote, or would we simply get our first ever tied winners?

JeffProbstHere52 karma

Ah I would love to answer that but I won't! Maybe one day it will happen. But no - there will never be a "shared winner" ---

highscore199168 karma

If you draw rocks for a million dollars that would be the single greatest thing to ever make it on television.

JeffProbstHere70 karma

That would be a ballsy way to end -- after all this strategy..... your fate is decided by chance. Not likely though.

lexadexter623 karma

Hey Jeff, huge fan of Survivor.

How much of the audience's opinions do you take into account? For example, the "special idol" (now dubbed the Tyler Perry idol) has received some major flack from viewers and commenters on /r/survivor, as well as the constant returning of players, etc.

Also, when I apply to be on the show, try to shift my application to the "yes" side. I'll include my username so you know it's me.

JeffProbstHere47 karma

I listen and try to remove my own emotion and just hear the reasoning. When it comes to returning players -- it's merely an opinion and one that is countered by another person who LOVES when Rupert comes back. So those you just note and keep on.

Tyler Perry Idol having too much power - I listen. I do agree in this case and like I said - we truly did not think it would be found. And we felt since there was only one of them and it could not be traded that the worst case would be somebody saved themselves one time at tribal. Nobody anticipated Tony finding it along with the other two - and we never even considered he would lie about it's power. I do believe though that if spencer had found it - people wouldn't be nearly as upset.

But yes I listen. Sometimes that missing ingredient is the audience doesn't have all the information and if they did they might make the same decision we do.

thefoolofemmaus23 karma

Jeff, I had no idea you were a minister. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and experiences there?

JeffProbstHere60 karma

It's not based in religion. It's a bit of a lark off the internet - Universal church of Life. I've married a few friends and remarried my parents. And two of our closest friends married my wife and I. I highly recommend it as a way to get married. You have friends who know you and can make your wedding personal and it's legal!

sdubs201319 karma

MR. JEFF PROBST!!! Can you please tell us about your typical day on Survivor (on/off camera). Thanks!!

where_it_began45 karma

In case he doesn't answer this, here is a great video from China where you get to see a lot of cool behind the scenes stuff, like the production camp. :)

JeffProbstHere53 karma

I was going to try and find this exact link - thank you for that. This is still a pretty good representation of a day. No day is alike, they're longer than you would imagine and much more fun than you would believe. The show runs 24/7 and as Exec Producer that means you are always "on" - but we have one of the most kick ass production teams in the world. In the world. We're 300+ people (bigger than most movies) because we build a "world" to take care of everything from locations to accounting to marine to transportation to pyro to safety to medical to reality to challenges to art -- all of these are departments and they all run independently - and simultaneously work together.

AgilityHobo15 karma

Hi Jeff. Where do you buy those sweet shirts you always wear on the show? Would you be upset or flattered if I wore a shirt like that on Survivor some day?

JeffProbstHere69 karma

We buy them from adventure stores - but the key is we dye them and tailor them. You have to - esp these shirts, because they are really big in the cut. Guys - biggest thing I've learned about clothes --- it's how they fit that matters! For real. Sounds dumb but if you get a shirt and then tailor it to fit you it just looks better and you don't look like you're wearing your dad's shirt. I know everybody can't afford to have a shirt tailored - I'm just sharing my fashion tip of the week. Cutting off the bottom of a buttoned down shirt so that it doesn't hang over your droopy ass will make a difference. Where's Tim Gunn?

ThatSteeve15 karma

Jeff, Finder's Fee was/is an incredible film. I used to own a Video Store, after the obligatory the Survivor guy made this conversation, every single customer said really enjoyed the flick.

Do you plan on doing any more writing/directing?

Edit: clarity.

JeffProbstHere27 karma

Thank you for the nice words. Finders Fee was a blast. Ryan Reynolds and James Earl Jones were fantastic. They taught me a lot. I love writing. I love directing. I really get my biggest kick from collaborating with other storytellers. I did finish another movie called KISS ME with another great cast of actors - but not sure it's going to find a US Distributor which is a bummer but that's how it goes. Getting your movie seen is tough right now. But yes I want to do more of it and I just have to create those opportunities for myself.

clauderainsrm14 karma

My 10 year old daughter loves your books and was excited that when we toured her new middle school library during open house last week that they had the first two on the "Hot Titles" table.

Any plans for more of them?

JeffProbstHere31 karma

That's so fun to hear. The books you're talking about are called STRANDED (for those who don't know) and they're an adventure series for kids 7-12 years old. It's about four kids (2 boys/2 girls) who have just become a new blended family. They go out for a sailing adventure with their favorite Uncle - to get to know each other better and they end up shipwrecked-- STRANDED without any adults. It's Survivor for kids. They have been very popular - and we are writing another trilogy right now. Same kids - but a new adventure -- turns out they weren't as safe as they thought!! The first one comes out in September and if they liked the first series I think they'll like this one too! Big time adventure for sure!!