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Jeff Probst: Spring 'Survivor: All-Stars' edition "wouldn't be a bad idea"

By Christopher Rocchio, 09/14/2007 

CBS still isn't revealing whether next spring's sixteenth Survivor installment will be another All-Stars edition, however that isn't stopping show host Jeff Probst from teasing reporters about the possibility.

"We're going into our sixteenth season, it wouldn't be a bad idea," Probst coyly told the media during a Wednesday conference call to discuss Survivor: China, the fifteenth Survivor edition that premieres next week.

Although rumors that CBS might be planning another All-Stars edition have circulated for years, more formal reports that Survivor's Spring 2008 edition would be another All-Stars installment began to surface earlier this year.  According to a May report in In Touch Weekly, the second All-Stars edition would only feature castaways from the seven Survivor editions that have filmed since 2004's Survivor: All-Stars edition occurred (Survivor: Vanuatu; Survivor: Palau; Survivor: Guatemala; Survivor: Panama; Survivor: Cook Islands; Survivor: Fiji; and Survivor: China).

"No winners will be back," an "insider" reportedly told In Touch at the time.

The In Touch report came two months after Probst had previously told reporters that -- although he "personally didn't want to do" and "didn't enjoy" the show's initial All-Stars edition -- he felt Survivor was "due" for another All-Stars installment.

"The only thing I can say is that I've come around to understanding that even though the All-Stars we did was a pain-in-the-ass from a production point of view, it was one of our best seasons," Probst reiterated to reporters Wednesday.  "And it was our best season because we had our best people back.  I get that."

According to Probst, one of his biggest All-Stars gripes was the swelled heads some of Survivor's first All-Stars edition participants developed during their second go-around on the show.

"I wouldn't be looking forward to necessarily doing another 20 all-stars," Probst explained Wednesday, "because I know the minute you call them an 'all-star,' suddenly the contract has four-page rider on it that they need their green M&Ms removed."

On Friday, a CBS spokesperson told Reality TV World that, despite Probst's comments, the network will neither confirm nor deny any information about Survivor's sixteenth edition.

Regardless of Probst's personal feelings about the concept, one thing is certain: Survivor's first All-Stars edition was a success in the area that television networks care the most -- the ratings.

Survivor: All-Stars' post-Super Bowl premiere in February 2004 achieved ratings that the series had not reached since the finale of 2001's Survivor: The Australian Outback and it instantly became the highest rated entertainment broadcast of the 2003-2004 television season.  It continued to do very well -- consistently averaging more than 20 million viewers throughout its run -- and ended with 24.8 million watching the May 2004 finale and 28.36 million watching the reunion show that saw Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich (the season's winner) fuse into "Romber."

However if Survivor's next season is another All-Stars edition, don't expect it to finally be the long-running show's frequently-discussed Canadian-set edition.

"Not in winter," Probst said when asked about the possibility of filming a Survivor edition in a non-tropical location.  "I mean we've talked about it.  I think [Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett] is pretty against winter, simply because if you're talking snow and cold -- from a production point of view -- it would be very difficult.  And as human beings, you tend to just hibernate.  You're not going to frolic in the water or go off into the woods and talk strategy."

However Canadian Survivor fans can still take solace in the fact that their country may still eventually serve as the setting for an upcoming fall edition of the show (Survivor's fall editions typically film in July and August).

"We have talked about going somewhere in the spring that might be rolling hills of grass, or like somewhere in British Columbia, where you get just a completely different look," said Probst.  "I mean you've got streams and lakes instead of oceans.  We have talked about that.  I think that has a chance of happening because Mark seemed pretty into it."

If Survivor's Spring 2008 edition is an Olympics schedule-like revisitation of  the show's Spring 2004 Survivor: All-Stars format, CBS isn't likely to be able to keep the show under wraps for more longer.  Based on the show's previous production history, Survivor's sixteenth edition is likely to begin filming in November.

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