Each week, Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I love the way you all adapted what was previously an individual challenge with having players stack letters spelling immunity into a team competition. What prompted that change? Give us an on-the-scene report in terms of what you noticed as it played out?
JEFF PROBST: The idea came from the challenge department’s normal creative development. In the field, it went through several tests before we found the sweet spot regarding how many blocks and how much rope and if they could move all at once or one at a time, etc. But once we found it, it worked really well. During the challenge, it was pretty exciting to run from one tribe to another checking their progress, because we knew that no matter how close a tribe was to finishing — it didn’t mean they would actually finish. I sometimes laugh at how “into” it I get. I probably look ridiculous, but I gotta say it’s still very fulfilling to watch people play this game.
We saw a scary scene as Cole fainted and then was tended to by Jessica and Mike. Did the Survivor medical team intervene at all and examine Cole, and were you ever en route to the island in case it was something more serious (as we have seen sometimes in the past)?
Any time a player has any kind of medical issue, even if it appears to be very minor, our medical team goes to the beach to check them out. In most cases, the player is fine and the reassurance from our doctors is the remedy. That was the case with Cole. He just fainted. It was scary and could have been much worse had he hit his head on something, but fortunately, he was not injured.
This incident highlights a truth about Survivor — it’s very tough for low fat, lean, muscular guys who are used to wolfing down a lot of calories every day. The smart players start to change their diet weeks before coming on the show. But vanity is a powerful thing, and if you want to look like Cole, then it comes with an invoice.
Ali seemed to be playing a strong game early as she made a lot of allies on the Hustlers tribe, but she was ultimately undone when Ryan turned on her for Chrissy. Is there anything she could have done differently to save herself, or did she just trust the wrong guy?
Ali was a big loss. She’s a bright player and a great interview. I don’t know what she could have done differently. Survivor is so tricky. She clearly had good instincts in choosing Ryan — as he’s proving to be a good player — she just ended up on the wrong side of his decision. I know that a lot of young girls really like Ali’s spunk and the way she was playing. I hope we get a chance to see her play again.
Okay, tease us up for next week, sir!
This is the point in the game when the real players begin to emerge. Even though they can’t yet see the light at the end of the tunnel, they can sense it. Decisions become much more important and Tribal is often much more lively!