'Survivor: Philippines': Jeff Probst on which player he is most surprised to see in the final four and why anyone can win

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Philippines’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start off with a strategy question for you, Jeff. When you have a reward challenge this late in the game that requires leaving two potentially bitter people behind, is better to throw it so you don’t anger a potential juror, especially when there is a 50 percent chance someone will select you to go on it anyway? Or is more important to win and control who goes where so you can talk strategy with the people you want or make certain people feel safe? What would you do in that situation? 

JEFF PROBST: I would try to win everything. It gives you a better argument at the final Tribal Council and it gives you more power. Agreed, it’s a tricky situation politically, but I’d rather be in control. It’s a great question and one of the many reasons that Survivor is so damn complicated.

EW: Working off of your pre-game impressions, which one of the people still in it are you most surprised to see in the final four? 

Well, Skupin for sure. Given the target on his back, I just never dreamed he would last this long. But the most surprising is Denise. She’s really fantastic. I knew because of her profession (therapist) that she’d be good with people, but I didn’t realize how calm she would be no matter how crazy things get.

EW: I’ve always considered one of the most overlooked aspects of this game to be how people handle your line of questioning at Tribal Council. Are they able to give you what you’re looking for as a host and producer while also not tipping their own hand or upsetting fellow tribemates? And the really savvy ones are able to use their answers to your questions as a way to subtly influence the jury. Who is doing the best job out there strictly in terms of Tribal Council performance? 

I don’t think there is one simple answer to this question. You’ve surmised it pretty well — you have to satisfy me by giving me something other than “Gee, Jeff, I don’t know” — while not damaging yourself in the process. The brighter players are always thinking ahead. Always. The point of Tribal Council is not the question, it’s the answer. It’s no different from a job interview. You should know what it is you want to get out no matter what question your potential new boss asks you. Same with me. But here’s the biggest problem — you’re starving, you’re exhausted, you’re trying to make sure that you aren’t going to be blindsided. It’s so much easier to examine it rather than live it.

EW: Big finale coming this Sunday night. What special teases can you give us? 

For the first time in years, anybody could win this game. It’s crazy. It all depends on who ends up in the final. Malcolm could win. Lisa could win. Denise could win. Skupin probably has the longest shot at winning but depending on how it plays, he could win. It’s a great finale! I’ve loved this season!!

To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well as our pre-game interview with Abi-Maria, simply click on 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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