'Survivor: Blood vs. Water': Jeff Probst addresses the big challenge whoopsie

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Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

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

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So you switched up the tribes this week. Tell me your initial impressions of the new tribes as soon as each were formed. Were you hoping for more couples — like Tina and Katie — to end up on the same tribe to see how that dynamic played out?
JEFF PROBST:
Honestly… and I know you sometimes doubt my authenticity, I stopped “hoping” for results years ago. I truly don’t give it a thought. We put the buffs out, we let them pick which one we want and we play it out. This dates back to the All-Star season when we did a switch and Amber was the only person who had to switch tribes and by all accounts she was dead in the water. We felt so bad for her, it seemed so unfair…. Amber won the season. So, having said that — my initial response was “once again the reality gods are looking out for us.” The division of tribes was so lopsided in so many ways that it completely shook up the game and that is all you could ask for of a switch.

You make no bones about the fact that as producers you guys want the hidden immunity idols to be found due to the unpredictability and drama they always add to the game. So is it killing you inside when you keep seeing people putting idol clues into the fire instead of reading them?
Good question. Typically I would say yes — because we really do like to see them in the game. But this season, the reason they are not in the game is because of strategy so that softens the blow a bit. Also, the added layers of strategy this season have more than made up for the missing idols. I don’t disagree with what people are doing. Group-think definitely has an impact. People are tossing clues in the fire because that’s the direction the horse is going so you follow it.  Perception is reality — if the perception is “If I take this clue, people will think I have the idol” then that is the reality. They will think you have the idol. So you better have it. I would probably toss the clues too. Or… if I was a magician like Neil Patrick Harris, I’d try to fake it by having something in my left hand that looks like a clue and toss that in the fire and keep the clue in my right hand. But I’m not Neil and I’m not a magician — oh and I’m also not playing.

We don’t see it in the episode, but before every challenge you walk both tribes individually through all stages of a challenge and make sure they understand every component, while also giving them a chance to ask questions if they do not. That said, what do you think happened with Tina and Laura both forgetting to bring the fish trap back to shore, and have you ever seen anything else like that?
What happened with Tina and Laura is pretty rare and it simply comes down to not listening.  I give the same speech every year at the first challenge. I suggest that they listen to the full explanation before they start discussing or strategizing. I tell them that the tendency is to listen to me explain the challenge and the minute you hear something you’re good at, like swimming, you say out loud “I’m a good swimmer!” And while you’re doing that, I’m explaining the next critical part of the challenge that you didn’t hear because you wanted to let everybody know you were a good swimmer. I also tell them that I won’t remind them again after this first challenge. I think that’s what happened. They just didn’t pay close enough attention. Everybody else heard it. I even asked both tribes at the end — did everybody else hear me say to bring the fish trap back? Everybody else heard it. To her credit, Tina completely owned it.

Okay, sir. Tease us up for next week and tease us up good!
Emotions are starting to bubble over and you really feel the tug of one relationship. Plus, a lesson in Survivor strategy — what not to do.

To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, as well as our pre-game interviews with Kat/Hayden and Brad/Monica, 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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