Jeff Probst on episode 9 of 'Survivor: South Pacific'

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of Survivor: South Pacific.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I don’t want to minimize the importance of food out there, but it still amazes me watching people sit out challenges in favor of some grub. Even though Upolu all felt safe, we’ve seen people in the past that felt just as safe and then went home. Also, for some of these huge Survivor fans like Rick and Cochran that have been dying for years to get on the show, don’t they want to experience every last bit of it? What’s your take on this? Is it more important to refuel, even if you leave yourself exposed?
JEFF PROBST: The only conclusion I can draw is that it’s just in your DNA. Some people, like myself, would probably participate in every challenge no matter what because immunity is your only protection in the game. But others don’t have that killer instinct. They see food, they think “I’m hungry. My alliance is strong, why not!” You see it in all aspects of life. I was at the gym the other day and I walked in and saw a guy who I see every day and he was absolutely unrecognizable. He was huge. It seemed to have happened overnight. I asked, “What gives?” He said, “Pills baby.” In one month he had put on 20 lbs. My first reaction was, “Are you at all concerned about the long term impact?” Clearly he wasn’t. I think it’s the same in the game of Survivor. Some people just approach life from a short-term gain point of view. I’m always big picture first, then micro. Then again, maybe one of those who sat out will ultimately win the game and completely disprove this theory.

Speaking of challenges, we saw Jim snap back at you when you announced that, “Jim has no shot at immunity tonight.” But you love that, don’t you? Which contestant qualifies as the lippiest talk-backer in Survivor history? I’m guessing Jonathan Penner may be somewhere in the mix on this one.
Penner. Hands down. What was great about Penner was he is such a good storyteller that his lippy replies furthered the story. I miss Penner. I love when people talk back. It also lets me know they hear me.

Coach is clearly playing a great game so far — much better than his previous two outings. Part of that, however, has involved him toning down his eccentricities. We’re not hearing him blurt out highly unlikely survival stories or act insanely jealous when anyone else besides him is seen as a leader. While I’m sure you’re impressed  — and, no doubt, surprised — by the quality of his game, as a producer do you also miss having Completely Crazy Coach around?
I love the new Coach. He’s evolved. That’s the idea in life, right? You learn, you grow, you adapt, you grow. Grow, grow, grow. I am so happy that people are enjoying Coach this year. I feel the difference. He said something very wise to me days before the filming began. He said, “I learned something valuable last time I played. You can’t expect people to meet you where you are, you have to meet them where they are.” It’s completely changed how he played the game and it’s working. Coach could make it to the end.

As we head to the tease for next week, you told me when filming began that there would be no group duels this season, yet by my math we have three dudes hanging out on Redemption Island. What gives?
Yes, I did say that and I was trying to find a simple way to say that generally speaking duels will only be one on one. I think there are two times where we have double eliminations and have to have a 3 person duel. But only the winner stays. The two losers are out.  My bad. Just seemed more complicated to explain it the way I just did.

For more from the host on last night’s episode, check out Jeff’s Tout page. To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well our pre-game interviews with Ozzy and Jim, simply watch the video player below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

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