SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols. This week, he weighs in on Lauren’s big move, reveals if someone else could have found her idol, considers the evolution of Karishma’s game, and explains the difficulty of relegating Boston Rob and Sandra to the cutting room floor.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Lauren risked her Tribal Council vote by betting that Noura or Elizabeth would win immunity at the next challenge, and part of her strategy involved her and Tommy subtly convincing certain people to choose breakfast food over competing. It worked as Dan, Dean, Janet, and Elaine all chose to sit. That does seem to be a lot more people than you normally get to sit out in these eat or play situations. Had the contestants NOT been provided that time to consider it in advance, do you think the decision would have been any different if they had been forced make it in the moment, as is usually the case?
JEFF PROBST: It’s a good question and hard to answer, and it’s why we always change things from season to season. But I give a lot of credit to Lauren with the way she persuaded the others. As you saw in her visit with Rob and Sandra, she has a very good read on her tribe members. I loved that visit because it spoke to a key part of playing Survivor. You have to be able to anticipate what each player will do in any situation. Lauren made it look easy, but when you really examine her thought process, it’s pretty remarkable. She nailed it all the way down to the unique ways she worked each player to get them to do what she wanted them to do.

Sandra told Lauren that if she won the bet, that her idol would be hidden under a rock by the water well. Is there any scenario where if someone else from the tribe happened to get to the water well first and find it by accident that it would be theirs? What happens in that highly unlikely situation?
As you noted, it’s highly unlikely, as we’re pretty good at that part of our job! But if it did happen, that would suck for the player who found it as they would not get to keep the idol. In fact, quite often those types of idols have a note with them that indicates it belongs to the finder because they completed a specific task. But, it would still be a big advantage for that player because they could lie in wait to see who gets the idol and would now have valuable information.

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols
Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Karishma has gotten a reputation from her tribe for being lazy, but she’s the one person Lauren and Tommy were unable to convince to not compete. Everyone keeps calling her a goat, but in last few days she has found an idol, flipped the vote onto Missy, competed this week, and properly used her idol to save herself. Have you noticed a change in her demeanor and fight out there?
It’s a really great observation. If it is a change in demeanor then it may have started with Karishma finding the idol, which really seem to connect her back to her husband and the importance of her marriage. That was one of the most powerful scenes of the season. When a player discovers that kind of clarity, it’s really potent.

There is another possibility, and that is that Karishma does what works for Karishma. What I mean is, competing in challenges is personal, finding an idol is personal, but collecting coconuts or stoking the fire is something you do for the group. It’s possible she just doesn’t see the same value in putting her energy into those kinds of tasks. What has impressed me most about Karishma is her ability to hang in there even when everyone seems against her. I think others might have engineered to be voted out. But despite constant conflict, she has not backed down. That says a lot and as you said, with each day she is gaining momentum.

You all had a very funny moment of Sandra getting attacked by a chicken this week. We have not seen a lot of Boston Rob and Sandra just out there living at Island of the Idols this season — which I think is the right call because you only have so much time and the focus should be on the actual contestants, but has it been tough to leave a lot of that stuff on the cutting room floor?
If I could change just one thing about Survivor, it would be the limitations to our running time. Because of the network format, each episode has to be the exact same time every week, roughly 42 minutes. So we don’t have the luxury like other streaming shows to do 42 minutes one week and 53 minutes the next week. As a result, we leave a lot of amazing stuff on the floor.

Rob and Sandra have exceeded our expectations by such a margin that I don’t think I can adequately explain to our viewers. What they’re doing is not easy. People often forget that Survivor happens in real time. They have to get it right the first time, and they have, every single time. In addition, they are giving us massive amounts of funny material… most of which we can’t use. They’re like Laurel and Hardy. Or Spade and Farley. Or Martin and Aykroyd! Take your pick.

And the shelter is insane! Rob has built something we’ve never seen before! We have to find a way to get it into an episode. This.. is what inspired the idea for Island of the Idols in the first place — trying to find a way to get Sandra and Rob back on the show in any form.

Only two more episodes left before the finale. Hit us with a tease for next week.
It’s time for love. And as always… those who get love are happy… and those who don’t… aren’t.

Watch an exclusive deleted scene from the episode at the top of the post, and make sure to read our full episode recap. For more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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