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Survivor: Jeff Probst on the Healers challenge snafu

The host also says had ‘no idea’ Ali and Patrick knew each other until right before the game started

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Each week, Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with the Healers tribe. Let’s say you are Roark or Desi. You learn Joe has an idol, but you also see Cole and Jessica are forming a pretty unbreakable bond. We may not get to see how this plays out with the tribe reshuffling coming next week, but what would YOU be more concerned about as the bigger threat: the guy with the idol, or the power couple?
JEFF PROBST: I’d be more concerned with Joe simply because it’s Joe. He seems to possess a deadly Survivor cocktail: a pretty decent game strategy, a relentless energy to look for idols, a willingness to mess with tribe dynamics, and a reckless approach to strategy. He’s fascinating to watch but would be very scary to play against. Cole and Jessica represent two votes and that is absolutely a threat, but if I was in their tribe I think I would have picked up the slight imbalance in their relationship. It’s a really tough call because both are threatening, but I’d be more concerned about Joe and he would be my target.

We saw the Healers tribe finish stacking their blocks in the challenge, but they had lost one piece. Take me through how you and your spotters figured that out and then what you do in a situation like that. Do you tell them they’re missing a block or do they have to figure it out on their own?
We have eyes everywhere. We have people watching each tribe and we have people watching every player. We knew they were missing a piece but we would never tell them nor even hint that something was amiss. It must seem so silly when you’re watching at home — “How could they forget a piece?” But I can attest to the fact that in the moment SO much is happening. They are feeling the pressure of the challenge, and the threat of Tribal Council, and I’m yelling at them, which never helps. From our point of view, those are obviously fun moments because they turn the story, but even for me in the heat of all of it, I’m not really thinking much other than “Remember, they are missing a piece!  Don’t call the win!”

Ali and the just-voted-out Patrick knew each other before the game and were friends in college. Were you all aware of that when they were cast and, if so, did that give you any pause in putting them on the same season and on the same tribe?
We had no idea during casting. We didn’t find out until just before we started. They were already on tribes and we didn’t even consider changing things. We spend so much time keeping players separated and in the dark as much as possible, sometimes these things happen. Didn’t seem to have much impact.

BONUS QUESTION: Ryan says he has never been in a relationship and asked if you know somebody. Well, Jeff… do you know somebody?
Ha! I think Ryan’s dating life may begin to change. I think people are already seeing how charming he is. He just needs to get out there a bit more. Hopefully, this experience will give him the confidence he needs. Romance is a big part of life, can’t be missing out on that!

It looks like it’s “Drop your buffs” time next week. What can you say about the next episode?
Are there three more exciting words on Survivor? I love it when we switch tribes, the game kicks into another gear. Plus, there’s a fun little Easter egg in this episode. But no clues…

Check out a deleted scene from last night’s episode at the top of the post, and make sure to read our full episode recap. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.