PLUS, the host names his favorite winner

By Lynette Rice
October 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly
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Jeff Probst may have said at the time that it was the most frightened he’s ever been on Survivor but he doesn’t regret what happened on Kaôh Rōng earlier this year.

Speaking with EW’s Dalton Ross at EW PopFest on Los Angeles on Saturday, Probst recalled how the challenge involving the tribes digging up bags was a “perfect storm” of unforeseen events. No one could have predicted the three-digit temperature in Cambodia, nor the fact that the buried bags would take so long to find, he admitted. 

“After 30 minutes in 115 degrees, I was talking in the mic saying, ‘Are we 100 percent (sure they are there)? They have got to be there.'” But, Probst added, “I don’t think it went too far.”

Here are other highlights from the panel with Probst and executive producer John Kirhoffer, who is in charge of designing the challenges:

1. Probst was asked to select the contestant who best played the game. After some prodding from the audience (and hand-wringing that he would get complaints from former players), he settled on Parvati Shallow and Rob Mariano.

2. Asked his favorite winner, Probst didn’t hesitate (too much) by saying John Cochran, who triumphed during the 26th season. 

3. Don’t ask Probst to identify his favorite season — it’s too hard of a question. He does, however, think the “last few years feel like they have been as good as the show has ever been.”

4. It was much easier for Probst and Kirhoffer to reveal their favorite challenges. Kirhoffer said it was the boulder dash across the savanna in season 3 (“really visceral”) while Probst singled out the “bob bob buoy” challenge during Pulau that “we will never do again because it kills production.”

5. Survivor brought out some challenges for ticket holders at PopFest to play with, and former contestants like Ozzy Lusth, Abi-Maria Gomes, and Tai Trang came out to race alongside them!

Watch panel clips from EW PopFest: 

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