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Jeff Probst handicaps 'Survivor: China' cast, finale 'doesn't disappoint'


By Christopher Rocchio, 12/05/2007 

Survivor host Jeff Probst apparently feels Survivor: China viewers have a lot to look forward to in the show's final few episodes.

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"I think China's been one of the best seasons we've done, and it finishes well," said Probst in TV Guide's December 10 issue.  "It doesn't disappoint.  You have a lot of rootable people still in it."

With just six Survivor: China castaways remaining, Probst said Todd Herzog, a 22-year-old flight attendant from Pleasant Grove, UT, and Amanda Kimmel, a 23-year-old hiking guide and Miss Montana USA 2005 from Los Angeles, CA, have the best odds of winning the show's $1 million prize.

Probst said Herzog is "exciting to watch" because he gets "such a joy" out of playing the game.

"He's loving this manipulative adventure he's on, and he's good at it," Probst told TV Guide before offering a disclaimer.  "But it's always fun to be the person in charge of giving the blind-side to somebody until you get to the final Tribal Council and they're sitting on the jury."

The Survivor host suggested Herzog "let other people get credit for making moves" if he even wants to sniff the $1 million prize. 

While Probst said Kimmel has "been in Todd's shadow" for most of the competition -- he added she "knows this game as well as he does" -- evident in the fact that she masterminded last Thursday night's ouster of James Clement, who had both of the Hidden Immunity Idols in his possession.

"She just pulled out a big sword and lopped somebody's head off with it," Probst told TV Guide.  "If she's willing to do that again, she could have a check for a million bucks.  If she goes back to being timid, it'll be tougher for her to win."

Probst said he's "surprised" to see  Courtney Yates, a 26-year-old waitress from New York, NY, still in the game.  But since she's made it this far after butting heads with several castaways, he thinks she has a shot at taking home the prize.

"I actually think she has a chance at winning, depending on who she's up against and what argument she makes," Probst told TV Guide.  "If she could take all of her negative traits and turn them into [obstacles] that she overcame, she has a shot."

Probst also described Denise Martin, a 40-year-old school lunch lady from Douglas, MA, as Survivor: China's "dark-horse favorite."

"Out of anybody in this game right now, I would want to get rid of Denise as soon as possible because she's so likable and she's really done nothing wrong," Probst told TV Guide.  "She's been a true friend to everybody.  It's hard not to root for her.  And I like her even more for the story she told about why she has a mullet."

With those four original Fei Long members representing the majority vote in the merged Hae Da Fung tribe, it should come as no surprise that Probst believes Peih-Gee Law and Erik Huffman -- the only two original Zhan Hu tribe members still in the game -- have the toughest road to travel.

"Erik has no chance of winning this game," Probst told TV Guide about the 26-year-old musician and self-proclaimed virgin from Nashville, TN. 

"I don't care who you put him up against in the Final 3," continued Probst.  "Very nice guy, talented musician, gonna be a great husband, probably a great dad... But lousy Survivor player.  You have to be willing to reach a little deeper inside yourself and find the fun part that enjoys the game."

As for Law, a 29-year-old jeweler from Marina Del Rey, CA, Probst said he "didn't really like her in the beginning" and described her as being "kind of toxic."

"But the more she stayed, the more I started to see she's a pretty good player," Probst told TV Guide.  "She's become a true under-dog.  She's got a lot of former [fellow Zhan Hu] members on the jury, and that could work to her advantage."

Survivor: China's two-hour finale is scheduled to air Sunday, December 16 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS and will be immediately followed by a live one-hour reunion show.

(Photo credit CBS)


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