Each week, Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, a big medical scare there with Paul at the Gen X beach where Dr. Joe feared for a moment that he may have suffered a heart attack. Tell us about the job the on-the-scene producers did, how you all got the word to rush out there, and what happened once you arrived.
JEFF PROBST: I remember the day pretty clearly because the initial word from the camp was that he appeared to have suffered a heart attack. You never forget those words. I was at a challenge rehearsal a long way from the tribe camp and Dr. Joe was back at base camp. Fortunately, Dr. Joe got there very quickly and started working on Paul. He said later that his initial assessment was that Paul had not suffered a heart attack but that the only way to be sure was to run some tests. When I arrived he was in the middle of the testing.
Paul was in a lot of pain and the cramping was severe. In addition, Paul was concerned that he might have suffered a heart attack which only added to his stress. As you saw, it turned out that Paul was okay and Dr. Joe was able to get him straight fairly quickly. The two big stories of that day were: 1. Dr. Joe and his team, who once again took care of the situation with such grace and expertise. 2. Eric Woods, aka Woody, one of our veteran producers, who you saw tending to Paul before we got there.
I say this all the time to anyone who will listen and I’m going to say it again: We treat our show as though it is the single most important thing we are doing. And, as you saw last night, it goes way beyond great interviews or fun challenges. Our team cares about every thing and every person. Seeing Woody step in and take over, and hearing the Supervising Producer, Drina Maruna in the background clearing people out so Paul could get some air really moved me.
That scene of Ken fishing underwater and getting the octopus is one of the coolest things I’ve seen on your show and the reason why I love locations like this. What’s the feeling like when you see footage like that come in?
Euphoria. We want to bring that to the fans every single week, but the truth is we don’t always get it. Either the water isn’t good for fishing, or the fishing is good but the water clarity isn’t there, or nobody wants to fish in the first place! So when it all lines up, it is a tremendous feeling of excitement. We know that most of our viewers are living vicariously through the players. They are asking themselves, “What would I do in that situation? Who would I put on the puzzle? Who would I vote out?” Camp life is a huge part of that adventure. Making fire and catching fish… both of those moments are huge. Fiji is a great location when it comes to water and getting shots like that. It’s one of the biggest reasons I would like to return there as soon as possible. Fiji was great. Top location for adventure.
Wow, you had Michelle sitting there stealthily flipping Hannah on the spot at Tribal Council with super vague promises like “I’ll tell you later.” What was that whole scene like and how much could you make out what was happening over the other conversations taking place?
I love that you asked. The days of Tribal Council votes being “locked in” are long gone. Players know they cannot trust anything they are told and so they are actively listening until all the votes have been cast. That night in particular I couldn’t hear anything that was being said and I really had no idea what they were conspiring to do. I only knew that it was real and it meant that the vote was uncertain. That’s what you want every week. It’s when the guy at the poker table goes “all in” — everybody inches forward in their seats… What’s going to happen? It’s electrifying and speaks to the level of game play you can expect to see all season long. Let the backseat driving, Monday morning quarterbacking begin!
BONUS QUESTION! Sticking with Tribal Council, to say Hannah took her time voting would be an understatement. What was it like there when you finally had to go peek around the corner to make sure she was okay at the voting urn and can you ever remember anyone else taking that long?
She definitely has the record. Nobody even remotely close. That just doesn’t happen. From my vantage point I wasn’t initially concerned. Sometimes people have trouble figuring out the pen, or they take their time writing down a name, so I just assumed that’s what it was. But after several minutes — actual minutes — I did start to wonder if everything was okay. And because Tribal is shot like a live television show, there are no interruptions. So I didn’t know if something might have happened to her or she needed assistance. I peeked around the corner and there she was… debating! At that point I relaxed, knowing we had another Survivor first and also knowing that this meant the game was truly alive.
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Looks like you have some sort of twist at play next week. Tease us up for the next episode, sir!
You never know when or where an opportunity will arise, grasshopper. Stay alert.
Check out an exclusive deleted scene from the most recent episode of Survivor below. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full episode recap. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.