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'Survivor' host Jeff Probst answers 'Worlds Apart' premiere burning questions

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Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Worlds Apart.

EW: I have been advocating for years for you guys to sprinkle in some choices people must make in the middle of challenges, so I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you did here with the locks/ropes and three different puzzle options. Tell me how you, challenge producer John Kirhoffer, and the team came up with the idea to do that, and is it something we may see more of from time to time? 

JEFF PROBST: Thank you for continuing to push this idea. The time finally came where we felt there was a purpose to forcing them to make decisions so we went for it. I asked Johnny K and the team to not only give them decisions but to differentiate the choices so they were in line with the philosophies of the three collars. No easy feat. I think the challenge department viewed it as one of their toughest—and, as a result, most exciting—assignments.  They pulled it off and that’s why it worked so well. For instance, watching the white collars take the “safest” puzzle was fascinating. I never would have predicted that—and yet, upon reflection, is makes sense. If you think about it, the white collars are the least “reactive” of the three groups. Instead of relying on instinct, they think through things, get a plan in place, and then execute. So it made the most sense to them to choose the safest puzzle and it ended up costing them the challenge. That’s one of the many reasons this season will be so fun to watch—the ability to backseat drive and second guess. 

Let’s play a game of What If? You’re a player in the game and you get the option to be honest and bring back a big bag of beans for your tribe, or to deceive and bring back a small bag of beans but score a hidden immunity idol clue for yourself. What do you do, Jeff?

You left out one key ingredient—I’m with someone else. That was the key to the twist. It’s much easier to lie when you are alone. So, for me ,it would depend on the other person. I’m definitely open to lying. But  I would follow their lead, then make a gut call if I thought I could trust them in the lie and if I felt they could hold the lie for 39 days.  One option would be to use it as a very quick way to get rid of someone. I let them take the lead, initiate the lie, agree to go along and then immediately cast doubt on them back at camp by betraying them. Like I’ve told you many times, if I played this game I would play very big and anytime an opportunity or an option arose I would seriously consider it.  

Let’s keep the “What If?” going. I am officially making you a member of the White Collar tribe. You can get rid of Carolyn (who may be more trustworthy) or get rid of So, who just killed it with the knots in the challenge. What do you do, sir? 

White Collar? Me? Wow. That’s really playing “what if” at the highest level. I’m so not white collar. Let’s just say I have authority issues! Ha! But in the spirit of your “what if”—So is gone. 100%. See ya. Bye-bye. Based simply on energy and even the slightest relationship with Joaquin, who would be next to go. I just can’t trust her. She’d probably be a decent player, but not in my alliance. I’d team up with Carolyn and Max. That would be my tight 3 on that tribe. Based only on first impressions. I’d be worried that if I put Max and Shirin together they’d be too powerful as dual superfans. Carolyn would help balance out the power.  

You affix these labels to people like White Collar, Blue Collar, and No Collar. What might be the most fascinating element of that psychologically is whether in a subtle way you are in fact driving them towards or away from a specific type of behavior simply by labeling them as such. Did you find any demeanors change out there from people after they were told they were a White Collar, Blue Collar, or No Collar? (Or the last time you did this with Brains, Beauty and Brawn?) 

I didn’t see that with this group.  From the opening moments I felt everybody believed they were in the right group. Even Nina on the no collars—who spent the last four decades of her life as a white collar—now feels most comfortable labeling herself a no collar.  But you make a good point. Anytime you give one tribe a red buff and another tribe a black buff you have animosity and adversaries. So in that same vein it makes sense that you could influence someone simply by the groupthink that is inevitable on a tribe. Before you know it, a nice calm no collar winds up on the white collar tribe and is slowly brainwashed into loving the daily grind of meetings and lunch breaks and has made friends with the human resources director and is going to happy hour every night after work drinking themselves into oblivion.  

Very solid premiere episode. What’s on tap for round 2 next week? 

SKINNY DIPPING! Wahoo!

To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s premiere, just click on the video player below. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full ‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ recap. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.