Jeff Probst on the premiere of 'Survivor: Philippines'

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the most recent episode of Survivor: Philippines.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m sorry, but I’m a little confused and think I need you to break this down for me, Jeff. Zane tells his tribe to vote him out since he performed so horribly in the challenge, but then tells us it is all a ruse to see if he is running the tribe. Is that the worst ruse of all time?
JEFF PROBST: Only Zane knows his true motive for this surprising move. If I were betting, I’d say he wanted out of the game and in a moment of weakness just told the tribe to vote him out. Then upon reflection, realized he’d look like a quitter, so he tried to change the story mid-way. I don’t think he wanted to stay in the game and once he told them to vote him out I don’t think he had a chance anyway.

We see Penner and Russell both on the outs on their tribes. Who’s in more danger at this point? I would guess Penner since Matsing still needs Russell’s strength.
Both have major targets but for different reasons. Nobody trusts Penner and that goes back to his first season when he stepped off his tribe mat to join the other tribe. It’s a perception that has haunted him and there’s definitely a lesson — perception is reality. Russell has the strength that may help him for a bit, but his bossiness is the most likely reason people would vote him off. When there are only six people on each tribe, you can’t be too much of a pain in the ass. Russell is right on the edge.

The move to three tribes was made so that no five person alliances could run through a season from start to end, yet we of course still saw lots of deal making on day one. The RC and Abi-Maria alliance is particularly intriguing to me, because when you have two people that excited that soon to be working together, it can’t help but go bad. What alliances — or people being on the outs — this early surprised you?
Nothing surprises me anymore, you know that. You’ve asked me before! Yes, we did three tribes to complicate the numbers but there is no denying the power of a two or three person alliance if you can last long enough in the game. Survivor strategy has gotten tricky in the past few years because if you panic and make the wrong alliance it can end your game, but if you don’t make an alliance quickly you soon find yourself on the outside and it’s very tough to get back in.

Bonus question! I couldn’t help but notice that Survivor challenge producer extraordinaire John Kirhoffer is a guest on The Jeff Probst Show today. How did you get him to “say yes” to appearing, and is he better or worse than Friday’s guest, former EW writer A.J. Jacobs?
Yes, we did a show on Odd Jobs with Mike Rowe from Dirtiest Jobs (who was a great guest) and John Kirhoffer has one of the greatest “odd” jobs in television. The “say yes” moment was pretty easy — I called him. Was he better than AJ? I’d call that one a draw!

Okay, Jeffrey, tease us up for next week’s episode. Whatcha got?
Malcolm and Angie are on the hot seat as they canoodle in front of everyone, and Lisa Whelchel is already feeling the truth — Survivor is an equal opportunity ass kicker.

To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well as Jeff’s reaction immediately following last night’s Tribal Council, simply watch the video player below. To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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