The game between contestants on Survivor is intriguing, but often what is even more fascinating is the game of cat and mouse between players and producers. The producers come up with rules to trip up the players and keep them on their toes, and then the players find loopholes or ways to exploit those rules for their own advantage.
One of those rules is the revote, where a majority alliance will split their votes at Tribal Council to see if someone on the other side has a hidden immunity idol. If someone does and it is a tie, they flush that idol and then put all their votes on the other person in the revote. But that won’t happen this season.
We spoke to host Jeff Probst in Fiji on day 1 of filming Survivor: Game Changers to get the scoop on a big new change they are implementing when it comes to voting in season 34. “One big twist we’re doing is at Tribal Council, if there’s a tie, there will be no revote,” explains the host. “We will go directly to the tiebreaker. And at first you hear that and go, ‘Oh my God, what does that mean?’ It actually is not a significant change. All you’re doing is pulling out the middle section, which is the revote. You still have a chance to change your vote.”
So what does this exactly mean and how will it play out? Probst walked us through it. “So we vote, there’s a tie. Great, now here’s what we’re going to do. You’re all going to talk. These two people or these three people have votes. If you can all agree on who to get rid of, we’re done. They go home. But if you can’t unanimously agree, they’re safe and you draw rocks. So what this does is it eliminates the free peek into the future where an alliance that had enough members would say, ‘You know what? Let’s just split the vote between Dalton and Bill and let’s see if either one of them has an idol, and if they don’t we’ll put all our votes on Dalton.’ ‘[EDITOR’S NOTE: Why is Jeff Probst trying to vote me out?]
Probst says he saw players doing this more and more and therefore wanted to force them to make harder decisions. “It occurred to me during Millennials vs. Gen X, oh my God, they’re getting away with this for free! How have we missed this for this long? There should be an invoice to look into the future, and now there is. They’re risking a tie. They’re risking drawing rocks.”
But the fun in the new twist is not just eliminating the safest play, but it also could manifest itself in ways the producers never dreamed. “I’m guessing that the smart players will realize things that we haven’t yet even about how to use the vote,” says Probst. “One would be, for instance: Imagine you are in a minority alliance. And you feel you’re dead. They’re going to pick us off one by one. And you guess right about where they’re going to put their votes, and you put one of your votes on your own alliance member, and you force a tie. And now you say, ‘We will not agree to any of us. So it’s going to be one of your alliance, or we will risk going to rocks.’ Game changer!”
Personally, I love the wrinkle. Whenever players get comfortable with the rules of the game, make them uncomfortable. And when they are presented with an easy road, give them a harder one. Interestingly enough, however, Probst says that not everyone on the production side thinks the new twist is a good idea. “There’s some dissension on our crew,” says Probst. “Some guys on our team did not want to do this. They’re petrified it’s going to change the game. They might be right, it might be a terrible idea. But the one thing that the fans have allowed us to do is take big swings because they’ve said, we’ll watch. Just keep trying new things, so we’re going to try it. Personally, I think it’s going to work. I don’t think we’ll miss the revote at all. But if I’m wrong it will be back in next season.”
Watch Probst explain the new voting policy in the video at the top of the post, and then watch the video above to see him actually tell the contestants in the Survivor: Game Changers premiere, which airs March 8 on CBS. For more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.