The name Jeff Probst is synonymous with “Survivor.” The 60-year-old has hosted the show since its inception in 2000. Over the years, the beloved reality show has created a cult-like following of dedicated superfans who live and breathe “Survivor.” However, longtime fans have recently criticized the show for becoming “too complicated” and even accused Probst of ruining the game.
Probst spoke about the show’s legacy and why it needed a revamp in a June 2022 interview with The Wrap.
Jeff Probst on Keeping ‘Survivor’ Fresh
In a promo for “Survivor 41,” Probst announced that season 41 would mark the start of a new era, referring to “Survivor 41” as “Survivor 2.0” and calling it a “brand-new game.”
Season 41 and 42 introduced a series of new twists and advantages in an effort to shake up the game.
Probst spoke about his controversial decision to restructure the show, telling The Wrap he believes in taking chances.
“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,” he said. “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.”
“If you’re comfortable with the risk of failure, it opens up a lot of possibilities,” he continued.
Probst said he wanted the “Survivor” production team to stay inspired and have the opportunity to explore new ideas.
“It’s important to keep things fresh for your team of storytellers,” he told the outlet. “They need to stay inspired too! So, we extend the same permission to fail into the edit bays where our teams know they can try new ideas regarding scene structure, playing with time or using high-speed shots in places you might not expect. We’ve extended that same permission-to-fail philosophy into our shooting of the show as well.”
Jeff Probst on Going ‘Too Far’
In the interview, Probst also addressed the criticism from fans who said the twists had gone “too far.”
“There is always the risk of going too far,” he said. “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. 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.”
Jeff Probst on the Success of ‘Survivor’
After 42 seasons, “Survivor” is still going strong. The TV phenomenon has continued to grab viewers’ attention and has solidified itself as one of the most successful reality shows in history.
In December 2021, Variety ranked “Survivor” as the number one best reality show of all time.
More recently, “Survivor” scored the number two slot in Esquire’s “32 Best Reality Shows of All Time” list released in April 2022.
The New York Times interviewed Probst about the show’s success in 2015.
Probst credited the show’s historic run to their faithful audience.
“I’m not going to lie and say I wouldn’t love for more people to start watching ‘Survivor,’ but I’m not making it to attract a new viewer,” he told the publication. “I’m making it for the people who have kept us on the air.”
“We have this amazing format that we never deviate too far from,” he continued. “We create the scenario, and that’s contrived. You aren’t really shipwrecked. But beyond that, it’s their story.”