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'Survivor' host Jeff Probst on that controversial rice trade

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This is kind of a new one for you guys in terms of a tribe recklessly devouring all of their food supply. Tell us about how you came up with the decision to take all the comfort items back from Hunahpu for more rice. Are there any other options you and the producers discussed before settling on that?
JEFF PROBST: Having a tribe eat through or lose their entire staple of rice is one of the greatest gifts the reality gods can bestow upon a show like Survivor because it creates story. Big story. Once I heard they were low on rice and we were still very early in the game there really wasn’t any other consideration than to take every single thing at camp — other than the most bare essentials. In this case, it was easily justified because there were no mitigating circumstances — they simply ate it all. There has to be a big check for that kind of indulgence. But the big idea I am still circling is this: If you make the assumption that you can always trade for more rice (even if it’s your entire shelter) is eating all your rice so you can stay strong for challenges actually a decent strategy? I would not be surprised to see another tribe take the risk and employ this strategy in future seasons. So in my subconscious I am already thinking of how we might handle this same situation if a tribe didn’t have enough supplies to make a fair trade. Say for instance a tribe that had won no rewards, had only the barest of shelter, but like Hunahpu, also ate all their rice. What is the appropriate invoice at that point?  READ FULL STORY

'Survivor': Did Jeff Probst demand too much or not enough for more rice?

Someone got voted out on tonight’s Survivor, but most of the debate and discussion will center around the trade Jeff Probst offered to the Hunahpu tribe for more rice (since they had gorged themselves on their entire supply already). My full recap will be up later [UPDATE: Dalton's recap is now live], but read on to find out or sound off on what happened. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched tonight’s episode of Survivor: San Juan del Sur.] READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst explains how Keith got his immunity idol back

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: As viewers, we all make immediate judgments after a tribe swap in terms of which tribe got the upper hand. What was your immediate impression once we had our new Hunahpu and Coyopa tribes? And who individually was helped and hurt the most by the switch?
JEFF PROBST: Well, the great thing about a switch is it almost always guarantees some level of chaos because all you need is for one person to switch tribes and you have a new dynamic within that group. The big story this switch was the division of loved ones and singles. My immediate reaction was “this is going to force the game into a new direction” because now you have to make a big decision. Do you hold on and hope a merge is coming and try to wait it out to get back with your old alliances, or do you jump ship right now and play the hand in front of you? Jeremy is clearly in a bit of trouble because of the Josh and Reed partnership. But… anything can happen in this game. It’s amazing to me how many times the writing is on the wall and then gets erased and replaced with something new. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst on that weird Tribal Council voting

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What, you didn’t want to take back that flint and give them some fishing gear? I can’t for the life of me figure out why, Jeff! Your thoughts on the proposed re-swap of fishing gear for flint?
JEFF PROBST: Well, first of all, I loved it! I was so happy that Drew felt comfortable enough to go for it because it was a fun moment. I really think he thought I might be swayed, but let’s be clear: There was zero chance of that trade happening. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst on that 'ugly' confrontation

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, Jeff, this seems pretty clearly to be a case of John Rocker’s past coming back to haunt him. Once Jeremy decided to use that as a weapon against him and Natalie seized upon it, was that pretty much it for him?
JEFF PROBST: I think the incident at the challenge was probably a big impetus for voting out Rocker. I remember that challenge pretty clearly and I remember feeling “this is ugly.” All of it. Those are not the kind of moments I want for Survivor but when you take a group of strangers and let them build their own society you can’t control how they will behave or the decisions they will make. I think Rocker’s actions speak pretty clearly.  He was baited by Natalie and he took the bait. Hard to recover from some of the things he said. From Natalie’s point of view, who knows if she meant it or was just playing the game, but either way, it was effective. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst weighs in on Val's 'completely unbelievable lie'

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Monty Hall, let’s talk about the Let’s Make a Deal crossover episode we just witnessed. Looks like Reed and Hunahpu tried to get you to play the part of sucker in their proposed trade of half a bag of rice for another flint. Two part question: Part 1: Even if they had come in at the top of the challenge and pleaded their case, was there any chance you would have settled for less than the entirety of the fishing gear? Part 2: Did you consider checking with the other tribe to see if they objected to the switch?
JEFF PROBST: Part 1:  Had they offered up the beans off the top I’m not sure what I would have done but most likely I would have started a conversation about the value of fire vs. beans and see where it took us, but it’s unlikely that half a bag of anything would get you a new flint.

Part 2:  No. It’s not their call. It’s a bit weird to have it play out in front of the other tribe, but it did so that’s how it went down. What’s really fun is that storyline is not over, it has a punch line still to come! READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst breaks down the premiere episode of 'San Juan del Sur'

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’ This week also features an added bonus: an exclusive video of Jeff Probst just minutes after the first Tribal Council giving his take on what went down.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, here we go again Jeff, and let’s start off this season’s Q&A series with the start of the first episode. Obviously you are looking for some emotion at the beginning there as you force two loved ones to face-off, and you got all of it and then some. Talk about the switch from Jeremy talking trash to his wife to then breaking down after he realizes he has just sent her to Exile Island and may have compromised her position in the game.
JEFF PROBST: The Jeremy-Val situation is a perfect example of how the addition of “blood” complicates Survivor. The opening hero challenge dictates that your success can only come at the expense of your loved one. So what do you do? You want to show your value to your tribe but you can only do it by sending your loved one to Exile Island. That moment of truth is always so much more difficult than the players ever think it will be. You could see it play out with Jeremy. His adrenaline pushed him to success in the challenge and then as he was standing there next to me, the consequence of that action came to the surface as he realized what it meant for his wife.  READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst names the players he's not sure can cut it this season

Every season Survivor host Jess Probst tells us at the start of filming which players he thinks are the ones to keep an eye on. But then there’s the flip side, as we also force Probst to also come clean on which players he’s just not sure have what it takes to play this game. Now it’s time to see whom Probst is ready to throw under the bus for Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water, which kicks off tonight at 8pm on CBS. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst names his favorites for this season

He’s already defended the casting of controversial baseball player John Rocker. And he told us why the show imported Amazing Race duo Nadiya and Natalie. Now,  host Jeff Probst names his favorites going into Survivor: San Juan Del Sur — Blood vs. Water. Of course, whether these people will be his favorites when all is said and done is anyone’s guess. Several people that Probst thought in the past would be stars on the show turned out to be total duds. Conversely, often people that didn’t really impress him all that much in casting ended up popping big time once cameras started rolling. So it’s an inexact science to be sure. READ FULL STORY

Jeff Probst shows off the 'Survivor' challenge you may never see

When Survivor announced it was returning to Nicaragua for filming of seasons 29 and 30 of the longtime reality hit, many fans were concerned that they would once again not be seeing many water challenges. That was a problem the last two seasons filmed there: Nicaragua and Redemption Island. Jeff Probst was concerned as well, and he told EW back in May that a plan was in place to remedy that situation: “That was the mandate from the moment we decided on Nicaragua,” said Probst of getting the contestants back in the water for challenges. “The one thing I kept asking our scouting crew for was updates on how the water situation was looking, and between our art department and our challenge department, they’ve got it under control. We’re going to have a lot more water challenges and be in the water more —and really that’s the only concern we had about Nicaragua, is that it was a little dry last time.” READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst on importing other reality stars

Something weird happened last year on Survivor. A contestant from another CBS reality show appeared on the program. Previously, CBS had imported stars from Survivor and Big Brother onto The Amazing Race. And it also cast Willie Hantz — brother of Survivor’s Russell and uncle of Survivor’s Brandon — on Big Brother. But Survivor — which is still considered the granddaddy and gold star of reality television, even if it doesn’t have the Emmy awards (or nominations, for that matter) to prove it — had never accepted sloppy seconds from another CBS show.

That all changed when Big Brother 12 champion Hayden Moss showed up on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. But that casting at least made a little sense. Hayden had actually originally auditioned for Survivor instead of Big Brother, and the fact that he was dating Survivor contestant Kat Edorsson allowed him to tag along as her loved one for that Blood vs. Water season. But would that be an isolated incident?

The answer is no. For the second Blood vs. Water go round on Survivor: San Juan del Sur (premiering Sept. 24 on CBS), the show has now gone and imported an Amazing Race duo: twins Nadiya and Natalie Anderson. The “Twinnies” — who appeared on seasons 21 and 24 of Race — are a love it or loathe it duo for fans, and I was curious as to Probst’s thoughts on bringing aboard more contestants from another show. I spoke with the host out on location in Nicaragua on day one of filming to ask him about it, and now you can see his response in the video player below. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst defends the casting of John Rocker

Survivor has had its fair share of villains over the years. But it has also had a few people that have gone past that line of villainous play into something far more distasteful. There have been productive conversations about race relations —like when Jeff Probst (in one of his finest moments) mediated a dispute between Phillip and Steve on the Redemption Island season — but there have also been insensitive remarks hurled that have made viewers as uncomfortable as the contestants.

Keeping that in mind, I asked Probst if he was concerned that bringing in baseball pitcher John Rocker — who made controversial remarks in the past — might lead to more of that type of behavior. I had already asked Rocker himself if he thought that infamous Sports Illustrated article would follow him into the game, and now I wanted to see the host’s logic for casting someone with such a background. Probst was resolute in his support for bringing in the former Atlanta Braves closer, and you can now see and hear his complete thoughts by clicking on the video interview below. READ FULL STORY

'Survivor' host Jeff Probst on the pair that dropped out and a possible final two

There were supposed to be 10 pairs of loved ones competing on this season’s Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water (which debuts Sept. 24 on CBS). But then, just days before filming began in Nicaragua, one of the couples was forced to bow out after a last minute-medical check turned up something that gave the Survivor medics pause. The same thing actually happened during the last Blood vs. Water season when RC Saint-Amour and her father had to drop out while on location due to medical reasons involving the dad. In that instance, Candice and John Cody were flown in at the last minute to replace them. (They arrived in the Philippines less than 24 hours before filming began.) READ FULL STORY

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