'Survivor: Cagayan': Jeff Probst on which players have proved him wrong

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Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: Cagayan.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Oh my God! That rain! That wind! Those waterlogged hands and feet! I love it! As a producer, what is that sweet spot of just the right amount of misery you shoot for? On one hand, it’s amazing to see people struggling out in the elements against the force of Mother Nature. But I’m sure you also worry about your players just huddling up under shelter and not doing anything all day because you want them out there doing stuff. 
JEFF PROBST: Good question! When it comes to Mother Nature, there is definitely a point of diminishing returns.  We were close to that point in Samoa when it rained for something like twenty one straight days.  When it gets that bad it not only impacts the Survivors’ health, but also their morale. It also impacts the show, making it hard for us to get from point A to point B and hard to build our challenges. So the sweet spot is probably a good rain storm every few episodes. It’s really quite a balancing act because you want them under constant stress and crisis because that is part of the adventure, but you never want it to crush their spirit.

EW: You make your initial impressions of the contestants as you go through the casting process. Now that they have been playing out there, which contestants at this point totally surprised you in either a positive or negative way?  Whom did you have pegged wrong? 
PROBST: Well, let me start by saying that I am usually wrong, about a lot of things, but almost always wrong when assessing a Survivor cast. Spencer is probably my biggest turnaround so far. We went at it pretty good during the casting process because he is fun to antagonize and I did tell him that he had “zero point zero” chance of winning this game because he lacked absolutely any social awareness. He grew on me pretty quickly, and I now think he could win this game if he can just find a way out of the massive hole he’s already in with the brain tribe. Kass is another one that I was concerned about. I wasn’t sure she was going to “show up” ready to play. I was wrong. She’s definitely playing.  We haven’t gotten to know enough of the other players yet so I’ll withhold my opinion for now. But overall I REALLY like this group. I did from day one. I knew we had a good cast and they are delivering. And let’s not forget I’m playing a game with them too, so sometimes my comments are just that — game play.

EW: So the Beauty alliance of 4 splits their vote to protect against a possible idol (even though LJ had it) and then votes out Brice on the revote. Not to nerd out on voting theory too much, but what would make you more nervous if you were one of those voting in the alliance of four: splitting the vote and therefore making yourself vulnerable if one of your four flips, or not splitting the vote and making yourself vulnerable if an opponent pulls an idol? These are the things that keep me up at night, Jeffrey!  
PROBST: Hmm… given that specific scenario I’d be more concerned about not splitting the vote. Idols are just such a crazy wild card and there is no way to predict if someone will play it or not. We’ve seen people hold them to the end to keep as a souvenir — which is super risky — and we’ve seen people play them the moment they think they’re in trouble, and we’ve seen people voted out of of the game with one or even two idols in their possession.

EW: ACK! Nothing causes me to lose it more than a tribe throwing a challenge, and the preview teases we may possibly see that coming up. Tease us up for next week’s episode, sir. 
PROBST: Ah, there is so much to tease as it’s another stellar episode. I’m gonna tease not just one but two great challenges! One will make you laugh and then your jaw will drop. One will make you laugh and then scream at your TV. Edge of your seat drama and fun!

Click on the video player below for an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, and make sure to read Dalton’s recap. Also, for ‘Survivor’ scoop sent directly to you, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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