In recent seasons, “Survivor” has seen a noticeable influx of new twists and advantages which host Jeff Probst has tried to incorporate into the show’s “new era.” However, both fans, as well as current and former contestants alike have called out the complexity and unfairness of these twists as unnecessary and bad gameplay.
Naturally, Probst has stuck by these new additions to the game, and has even hinted that similar twists are here to stay for future seasons. However, he has also taken time to respond to the widespread fan backlash recently. Here’s what he had to say:
Probst: ‘I Don’t Really Examine What Worked and [What] Didn’t’
On Thursday, shortly after the season 42 finale, Probst sat down with Vanity Fair to discuss being the host and executive producer of a show which has now been running for over two decades. Naturally, this long stretch of time may make producers like Probst worry that “Survivor” has overstayed its welcome; in fact, Probst has been open about the fact that incorporating dynamic and wild new twists into the show at this late stage is largely meant to offset the possibility that the show is just getting too old for its audience.
However, as fans have pointed out, it really should be contestants doing the innovating thinking – as many have done in the past – instead of the producers. Many argue that having production leading the pack indicates a lack of trust in the players who have made the show so great over so many years. Despite Probst articulating a similar mindset to the outlet, he still seems unable to connect the two, however. He said of the show’s “new era” players:
I think there’s going to be an argument made in several years that, maybe, ’41’ started an era—not of a new game, but of a much more interesting group of people. We want to understand what is happening in our world.
When it came to reconstructing the game for the show’s post-season 40 “new era,” Probst told Vanity Fair, “I don’t really examine what worked and didn’t work.” He added that he gets letters all the time from fans who express their grievances, but cannot keep up with it all. “I always joke,” he said, “if I put a whiteboard of all the things that people hated, there would be nothing left, because there’s somebody who hates every single element of the show.”
Probst Says ‘New Era’ Twists Are ‘The Best [Ideas] I’ve Got’
When fans tell him, “Oh, you have the worst ideas,” Probst says that is his response is: “Well, you may feel that, but they’re the best ones I got.”
In a rather insightful comment, Probst added that “anytime we have an idea that scares me, I lean into it, because I think there’s something worth exploring.” He did not elaborate on what he would do after realizing that a twist didn’t work out as planned (or if that even happened at all).
Nevertheless, despite the criticism, Probst is still encouraged by the conviction displayed by the show’s fans. “It says that people are invested in your show and they care,” he said. “I love that people have strong opinions, and I apologize if I’m not reading all of them. I’m just trying to maintain some mental health.” Nonetheless, his pre-emptive response to fans after changing the classic “come on in, guys” line in the season 41 premiere may shed some light onto how he responds to fan engagement: “It’s @JeffProbst on Twitter,” Probst humorously told the camera at the time. “I’ll probably never read it anyway.”
When it comes to the new twists, Probst concluded: “If you don’t like it, blame me. Because I clearly messed it up.” Although fans and commentators seem to have been doing plenty of that in recent months, Probst seems to be telling the truth when he says he doesn’t read most of the criticism, as he recently declared that seasons 43, 44, and beyond will be only intensifying in the “new era” game format.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Season 43 will premiere in September 2022.