Some returning Survivor players come back to the game with a passion to right the wrongs from their first time out. They’re fired up! They want revenge! And then there are the Colby Donaldsons of the world. Host Jeff Probst has often cited Colby as an example of a guy who did not have the same fire when he returned to play Survivor a second and third time as he did in his initial season. The thrill was gone, it seemed.
So with 20 former favorites coming back to play Survivor: Game Changers on March 8, is Probst worried that anyone from the group (all returning for their second, third, or fourth time) is going to pull a Colby? We asked the host exactly that while on location in Fiji the day the season started filming. “I don’t think so,” says Probst. “I think had Colby been brought back on a season where we called him a Game Changer, maybe that pressure would have gotten to him and he would have had to step his game up. I think Colby just got frustrated and quit. And I don’t think it’s indicative of his character either. I think it was just that moment in his life.”
Okay, fine. But what about this group? “I don’t see that happening this season — at all,” says the host who feels the title of the game automatically puts the pressure on the players to justify it. “I think everybody here is a little terrified, they’re questioning if they really are a Game Changer — even guys like J.T. and Malcolm and Ozzy — you could see a part of them going ‘Am I supposed to be here?’ I like that. Because it says we picked the right people.”
Probst says what he likes about these returnees is that they are not the type to coast or get cocky off past success. “These are people who don’t focus on their victories,” he explains. “They focus on the mistakes. Why hasn’t Ozzy won? Because your social game sucks! But here’s a chance to redeem. Malcolm is the same as Ozzy. Great strategy, maybe even better strategy than Ozzy, but you’re not a closer either! Tony? You closed. You came in with both fists up — Boom! Boom! Boom! — knocked people out. Now you gotta do it and everybody knows your game. So everybody has the burden of proof. They’ve got to prove they deserve to be here. And sadly, somebody will be the first person voted out, and the good news for them is it will not hold the same distinction because there’s going to be a lot of bummer Tribals when we lose great people.”
Only time will tell if Probst is right, but for now, you can watch the video above to see Probst wax psychological about Colby and the new cast. And for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.