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Report: 'Survivor' producer Mark Burnett expects Jeff Probst to leave

By Reality TV World staff, 10/27/2005 

Just when it appeared that Survivor host Jeff Probst had publicly quelled an Inside TV report that he planned to leave the long-running reality show after his current contract ends, the gossip mill has began churning again, with TV Guide (Inside TV's sister publication) now quoting Survivor producer Mark Burnett as saying he expects next spring's twelfth Survivor edition to be Probst's last.

According to TV Guide writer Michael Ausiello, Burnett "basically" told him the report that Probst wants to settle down with Survivor: Vanuatu girlfriend Julie Berry and get a job that doesn't require Survivor's travel was true.

"I believe in my gut that he will move on [after the next edition]," Burnett reportedly told Ausiello during an early October party to celebrate the launch of TV Guide's new full-size magazine format. Burnett also reportedly "half-nodded" when Ausiello asked Burnett if Probst would likely be replaced by a "former female Survivor contestant," leading Ausiello to conclude that "that rumor's apparently true as well."

Interestingly, TV Guide's launch party was on October 11 -- three days before Probst filled in for regular host Regis Philbin on the Friday, October 14 broadcast of Live with Regis and Kelly and appeared to shoot down the earlier Inside TV report.

During the appearance, Probst confirmed -- as he already had during previous media interviews -- that he is very much in love with Berry and that his current Survivor contract was set to expire after Survivor 12. But he also termed the rumors that he was going to leave the show because he was in love as being "ridiculous," adding he didn't "know where these stories come from" (perhaps he should start with Burnett?) and noted that he was going to be leaving for Survivor 12 in two weeks. Afterward, co-host Kelly Ripa joked that the reports were a contract negotiation tactic and chided Probst to "remember what happened to those CSI people" and not ask for too big a raise, causing Probst to (as he has repeatedly done in previous interviews) state that he was under no illusions that Survivor couldn't go on without him.

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