Survivor host Jeff Probst reacts to Kellee's Tribal Council comments
Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols. This week, he reacts to Kellee’s Tribal Council comments as well as her big strategic move in the game, and gives his take on Janet’s decision at Island of the Idols.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, let’s get into this conversation that Kellee brought up about Jamal’s fear of a women’s alliance being sexist and offensive. There are a lot of angles to this thing, but let’s start here. How much in terms of what has been happening in our society in the past two years with #MeToo and Time’s Up do you feel influenced this conversation in terms of people feeling freer to discuss such a topic in such an open fashion where maybe they wouldn’t have been so eager to engage before?
JEFF PROBST: I think it’s totally related and it makes me so happy. I loved that conversation. We are all looking at things with fresh eyes and able to see them through a different lens. And I’m learning too! I continue to have my own view of the world refocused through my conversations with players. They teach me things about myself every week and they make me a better person as a result. And because of social media we are all also much more comfortable using our voice and demanding to be heard. So, when you combine the two — awareness and voice — you have a powerful combination. I don’t want it to ever change. I like talking about things and being influenced by others life experiences. This is one of the things the Survivor format does really well — it reflects where we are as a culture and we are undergoing a seismic shift.
I’ve watched way too much reality television in my life, and therefore know that we also can’t ignore that simple fact that the vast majority of talk about women’s alliances on shows like Survivor and Big Brother have actually been from women. Just this season alone, the women’s alliance on original Lairo was a major theme, and we saw Noura wanting to form one on original Vokai as well. And the most famous and successful Survivor alliance ever was Black Widow Brigade from Survivor: Micronesia which players ever since have talked about wanting to emulate. So what do we make of all that when having this discussion about there being too much discussion about women’s alliances?
Wow, that’s a complicated question… hang on… let me sort through this. What do we make… this discussion… too much discussion… women’s alliances… Okay, I think I’ve sorted through your question and my answer is…I have no idea! I know what you’re suggesting, but I have no idea if they’re related. I’ll offer up an idea, but it’s really only a theory. It could simply be that both men and women alliances get discussed on every season of Survivor, just as a natural course of conversation. But that would not negate Kellee’s point at Tribal because even if it was true, we still never mention the threat of a men’s alliance but we often talk about the threat of a women’s alliance.
We had a first on Island of the Idols, as Janet refused Rob and Sandra’s offer of safety without a vote at Tribal Council because she worried it would be seen as selfish and would upset her alliance and make her a target. What did you make of her reasoning and decision?
It’s a legit decision, especially coming from Janet. I know a little bit of how she operates as a human and she is one of the purest “team players” we’ve ever had on the show. Yes, of course she wants to win, but her approach to life is that a team is always stronger than an individual and I think she brings that to the game. So it makes sense that she feels it might jeopardize the trust of her alliance and in the long run just isn’t worth it. And I gotta say, I think it was pretty wise. Janet is seen as the mom of the group, so for mom to come back and say “it’s not for me” might gain her that one bit of trust that she needs one night at Tribal. But, to be very clear, I do not think that is how most Survivor players would approach an opportunity for advantage.
Kellee gives Dean her idol and orchestrates a blindside on Jack, while still voting for Dean as cover. What do you think of this wily play by Kellee and could it come back to haunt her?
I think Kellee is a very good player. She has strong instincts, she’s a good strategist, she’s relentless and she’s willing to take huge risks. Her idol move with Dean is a big time move early in the game. These are the types of qualities it takes to win Survivor. And they are the same qualities that can get you voted out. We say this same thing week after week. You have to be willing to play a risky game in order to win. Today’s jury simply will not reward someone who sits back and plays a passive game. They want to reward someone who earned it. But the minute you’re seen as a savvy player, you become a threat and now have a target on your back. There is no easy answer. There’s no shortcut. You have to manage every single moment of every single minute, every single hour of every single day. And if you do everything right, you get to the end and then what happens? You give up all your power to a jury of people that you voted out! Brilliant!
Merge time next week! Tease us up!
Well, merges are almost always game changing. And this one is no different. It’s back to back episodes. Two hours of riveting Survivor.
Watch an exclusive deleted scene from the episode above. Also make sure to read our full episode recap , and exit interview with Jack, as well as Boston Rob’s evaluation of the season so far, and all about the show’s on-air tribute to Rudy Boesch. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.