Jeff Probst talks about the big 'Survivor: Caramoan' food auction

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Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of ‘Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites’.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Jeff, you have to explain it to me because it drives me batty every single time. I know they are all starving. I get that. But why do people at the food auction not wait and spend every single dollar of their money on the items that can help them in the game? Malcolm and Cochran both got their idol clue and challenge advantage for less than $500! How can that happen?
JEFF PROBST: The beauty of Survivor is that there are always, I repeat, always people who are certain they are safe. For those people the auction is free food! There is also a strategy that says even though I am not certain I’m safe, if I show my alliance that I am concerned by going for an advantage at the auction they make think I am planning a move of my own and it may backfire, so better to stay with the crowd and go with the flow. As for how Cochran and Malcolm stole the clue and advantage – that is a good observation. I’m guessing people were so focused on the food in front of them they just stopped paying attention. Those who pay attention are often rewarded. Onward now, grasshopper.

EW: You have forced contestants to make certain choices at the auction before, but definitely seemed to kick up the Let’s Make a Deal aspect this time around. When you give Reynold three covered options — one bad, one okay, and one good — which item are you hoping he picks? Be honest!
PROBST: Honestly – I don’t care. I am mainly focused on remembering which order to reveal them based on which one he chooses. But if you gave me an option — I always want them to get food. I like auctions to be fun and for morale to be restored. Despite what you might believe, they are not overfed!

EW: BONUS QUESTION! What happens to the money they hand over to you at the auction? Is it used to purchase new Survivor baseball caps?
PROBST: That money goes right back into our show. It’s not real money in that sense. We just take it out of petty cash and whatever we get back goes right back into the next challenge, or reward. I am proud to say I have never pocketed even one twenty dollar bill.

EW: This group of Favorites made a lot of big time blunders their first time playing. Which player has stepped up his or her game the most the second time out? I’m thinking self-proclaimed challenge dominator John Cochran must be near the top of the list.
PROBST: I think a case can be made for a few folks. Cochran is definitely playing a major game. He has put all of his knowledge of the game together with a much bigger sense of confidence. It’s deadly. Andrea had a great teacher in Boston Rob and she is performing exactly as I knew she would. She is using her smarts of the game along with a very refined charm to put her smack dab in the middle of this whole thing. I wanted her back the moment she lost her final duel on RI the first time she played. Dawn has stepped up her game in a big way as well. She’s still crying but she’s doing it while making big moves! I think Brenda is playing a good game as well. It’s a quiet game but it’s cagey. Everybody knows that Brenda is a threat to win — it’s not sliding past anybody. Erik is playing the same kind of game and I think Malcolm played pretty close to the way he played last time. The only thing that hurt him last time was losing a challenge. He had the social game from day one. Here’s something that will make you think I’m crazy — I believe any of the remaining Favorites could still win this game. I really do. How often does that happen? Even Dawn thru the tears — if she is with the right two people could make a very good case of strategy. Erik, though quiet, is very likable. The others — it would be a dogfight and I wouldn’t want to go up against any of them. They are all super deserving.

EW: Tease us up for next week, sir!
PROBST: Oh where do I begin? This season is on such a roll. Well let’s see — we tempt them down with food and once again I am BLOWN away by decisions made during an immunity challenge.  Cochran continues to flex his muscles and Tribal? Holy cow. Awesome. Enjoy!

To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, 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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