Jeff Probst: We would probably change 'Survivor: Fiji' twist if we could
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/28/2007
During Survivor: Fiji's pre-season interviews, Survivor host Jeff Probst certainly seemed to imply that he liked the "all or nothing" living conditions twist that the long-running reality show used for its currently airing fourteenth edition.
However after watching both critics and viewers grow disenchanted by nothing but weeks of domination by the Fiji season's privileged Moto Tribe, Probst -- though still stopping short of calling the concept a mistake -- now admits that Survivor's latest "science experiment" has been less than a complete success.
"I don't think it's fair to classify it a mistake. I've been fully vocal about things that I think were mistakes. This is one where you don't know. It's not like we shouldn't have done it," Probst told reporters during a recent conference call with the Canadian media, according to the Edmonton Journal. "It was an option and we went with it. I'll definitely be candid in saying, yes, we would probably change it if we could. If we could go back now and change it, we would [but] I wouldn't put this in the world of mistakes."
Unfortunately for Probst there's no Survivor time machine, so the fourteenth season's "social experiment" is going to have to play itself out. However since there was a tribal swap during last Wednesday night's episode, Probst hinted that Fiji should get more entertaining in coming weeks.
"I will say the season isn't over yet and, you know, there's new life now for people," Probst told reporters. "And some people get to taste the good life. Other people are still starving on Poor Man's Island. But I think the show begins to pick up a lot of steam beginning this week."
Probst said if the "haves vs, have nots" experiment -- which NBC's currently airing The Apprentice: Los Angeles also used for its season -- could be corrected he'd like to have the tribes competing for the plush camp during each episode.
"Each season of Survivor is in a sense a science experiment. You don't know what you're going to get. You have all these variables and you concoct this stew and then you see how it plays out," Probst told reporters. "If we could go back to the beginning now and start Fiji over, I think we would make one change, and that is we would have the 'good' camp. We would have them play for that each week."
"That's something we talked about, and we just didn't know which way it was going to go. We didn't know if that would get too confusing and nobody would ever know where they were living and so that would be hard for the audience. We didn't know. So we decided let's just go for winner take all and see what happens and in the past we've had pretty good Survivor luck. This time, if you look at this as a mistake, then we certainly didn't have luck."
After explaining how he felt describing Fiji's twist as a "mistake" would be a little harsh, Probst offered a suggestion about what he thought could be classified as an outright Fiji blunder.
"What I would put in the world of mistakes was giving the losing tribe Ravu a chance to win the beach a couple of weeks ago," he told reporters. "I hated that idea. I fought against it until [Survivor producer Mark Burnett] finally said shut-up we're doing it."
The longtime host also referenced his favorite "mistake" in Survivor history.
"The outcasts in the Pearl Islands [seventh season] -- [I] hated it. I think that was a mistake," he told reporters. "I think if you're voted out of the game, you're out of the game. That's what I'd call a mistake. This one, I'd call an idea that didn't work out so well."