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Survivor: Jeff Probst explains the switch to three tribes

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Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You guys made the move from two to three tribes this week, which you’ve done before, but never with 16 people, I don’t think. Tell us why you decided to expand to three teams, rather than just a straight tribe shuffle that stayed at two.

JEFF PROBST: There really isn’t any big secret plan. It’s just about keeping the tribes off base. Fortunately for us and them, we’ve done enough seasons that we’ve switched and merged at various times with various numbers so you can’t ever fully be sure about what is coming next. Going to three tribes just makes it very difficult for alliances to stay together. Even if you promise to stay together before a switch, the events that take place after the switch often have to take precedence over previous agreements.

For instance, if you are truly in trouble and someone saves you at Tribal, then you owe them regardless what kind of a deal you might have made on your old tribe. We also liked the idea of one tribe getting an extra person but… having to start over. It’s not a clear-cut answer as to whether or not the extra player is worth the extra work.

Figgy wants to keep the showmance under wraps on the new tribe. Taylor does not. Who’s right and how much does that really matter out there?

Yeah, it’s a complicated situation. It’s so easy to sit at home and say “What…?!!  Are you crazy?!!! You’re falling in love on Survivor?” But watching people play this game for 17 years, I have come to realize that emotional connection is SO important that when you find it, you grab it. And on those rare occasions when two people connect and they are mutually attracted, I think it’s hard to ignore, and they find themselves doing and saying things that may not be in their best interest.

Where Figgy and Taylor are being especially risky is the casual way they are flaunting it. Wanting to keep it a secret after a switch is a bit late. It’s already out and everybody wants to get further in the game so any and all information will be used against you! I also don’t think this is a Millennial vs. Gen X thing. I think this is Taylor and Figgy. Nobody else on the Millennial tribe thinks this is a good idea.

RELATED: Ranking Every Season of Survivor

There were a lot of people — Sunday, CeCe, David, Michelle — having trouble in the water at the immunity challenge. Who was struggling the most out there? And are you conflicted at all when you see someone doing terribly in a challenge, because on one hand you feel bad for him/her, but on the other you know it is giving you great story and material to work with? 

I’m never conflicted during the challenge. I’m in it the same way they are: fully focused. I’m never concerned about their safety either. Our safety swimmers are watching all of them all the time. And oddly, I’m never thinking, “Oh this is great story.” I’m only trying to keep track of what is happening in the moment. I do recall David being absolutely spent, but not giving up.  Now… after the challenge is over and I gather with Kirhoffer and Millhouse and AB and Zach and we review the challenge, THAT’S when the producer hat comes back on and I get very excited that so many moments happened within one challenge and relish another amazing Survivor moment.

We have a Survivor classic next week with the blindfolded challenge. What can you tease up for the next episode?

Ah, that challenge is so fun, and during the challenge, we experience yet another Survivor first!

Check out an exclusive deleted scene from the most recent episode of Survivor above. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full episode recap. If you’ve ever wanted to compete in an actual Survivor challenge against former players, head here for more info. And for all the Survivor scoop you can handle, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.