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'Survivor' host Jeff Probst talks merge episode

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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: Let’s talk merge! Specifically, why did you decide to dismantle the shelter and make them start from scratch? Was that to see how they would all integrate while also having to work together on a project right off the bat? 

JEFF PROBST: Sure, that sounds like a reasonable answer! I’ll take it. Yes, that’s really the basic premise. Forcing action. It also offers a reset—will they repeat what they did the first time? Have they learned anything? And as always it presents a chance for differing opinions to come to a head. We also had not done it in a while so it sounded fun!

The first post-merge episode is always one of the most exciting of the season as completely new battle lines are drawn. I have to imagine it is the same for you at the first post-merge Tribal. Talk a bit about the energy of this specific Tribal Council and how pre-and post-merge Tribals are different in general.  

It’s really the energy shift. There is a marked difference once the merge hits. Players are now moving into third gear and you can feel it. Tribal is more lively and players often throw out a few jabs to see who will counter and with what. I think the audience feels that too—it’s like the warm up period is over. Game is truly on.

Have I underestimated Jenn? She projects a laid back goofy vibe, but we’ve seen her make a few nice moves lately. Now, granted, she was not able to sway Tyler and Carolyn over to her side—which I would think she should have been able to do—but she wisely used the idol when she needed to.  

Jenn is a tricky one for me. We had a love-hate relationship. Best described as—I loved her, she hated me!  She is a true No Collar—probably the most No Collar of anybody out there. She does what she wants, when she wants, with who she wants, for whatever reason she wants. As a result, her attitude and approach to the game fluctuates on a moment-to-moment basis. Yes, I think she is very bright and can play the game at a high level—but when her emotions take charge she can make mistakes. Although she wouldn’t call it a mistake. Thus the love-hate relationship.

BONUS QUESTION: Is there anything in the entire world you love more than a downpour at the challenge?  

Well… yes. But I think you’re talking strictly Survivor related.  So the answer is NO! I love rain at challenges and at Tribal. I love it. I love seeing it in the lens. I love feeling it on my face. I love how stupid I look drenched. I love Survivors sticking out their tongue trying to turn the rain into hydration. I love the havoc it brings at camp. I love when our gear goes down because the camera’s got too wet. I love the reality teams when they return from a day—solidly soaked—but with smiles on their faces. I love when the rain knocks out all our communication and crews can’t even talk to each other because it’s so bad. I love it when it floods my room—okay, wait.…I got a bit carried away with that last one. I do like a dry room to come home to.

Very strong start to the single tribe phase of the game. What’s coming up next week?  

Simply put, one of the best episodes of an already very strong season. And one of the best idol hides and finds in history.  It’s fantastic, start to finish. 

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

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