'Survivor' host Jeff Probst: We lost two new 'Blood vs. Water' contestants at the last minute
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/04/2014
Survivorhost Jeff Probst has revealed the upcoming Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- Blood vs. Water season will unexpectedly only have 18 castaways instead of 20 due to a medical situation.
The 29th season of CBS' Survivor has begun filming in Nicaragua, and Probst explained that two castaways dropped out only 48 hours before taping began.
"We just lost two contestants [on Friday]," Probst told Entertainment Weekly.
"We came out here with 20. We spend months casting our show -- months. I mean, this is, like, who you're gonna ask to prom. All year you're like, 'Is it her or her?' and 'Will she say yes?' And you finally get your 20 people, and then through no fault of their own -- just a medical situation -- they can't play. In fact, it happened last time on Blood vs. Water with [Roberta "RC" Saint-Amour]. So instead of 20, it puts us at 18. Instead of equal men and women, it puts us uneven men and women."
On the first Blood vs. Water season, which was Survivor's 27th installment, Saint-Amour was supposed to compete with her father. However, due to a medical issue, the pair had to withdraw from the competition and were replaced at the last minute by Candice Cody and her husband John Cody.
"What I noticed yesterday when we had to tell the producers, nobody even paused in their walking forward, because that's just how it goes. That's where it's different. You can't recast, you can't say, 'Let's push the shoot a week. Let's call the insurance company and hold a couple of days.' It doesn't work that way. We are shooting. Regardless of what everyone's doing, we're shooting in 48 hours. So we're going to start with 18... Nothing is really insurmountable; It just is," Probst explained.
"And in a weird way, I felt like it was just the right thing to happen because we've been on such a good streak, and I've been feeling the pressure of, 'Man, how do you live up to the past four seasons?' -- which seemed to have gotten a little bit better with each one. And I realized the irony at least for me is, I have to -- we, as a show, what I thought was really interesting was I was feeling the pressure of the last four seasons. I felt my body tighten, like, 'We have to deliver. This has to work!'"
Probst continued, "And then I realized, 'Oh my God. The show has to take the same advice that I give to the players: You have to continue to swing for the fence. You cannot suddenly play conservatively and say, 'Okay this worked last time, let's just try that again and see if we can hang on.' You can't! You have to step up and say, 'Here's a new idea, a new group of people, a new location, we'll see what we get.' We're already 48 hours away. We don't know if this will be a great season, a sucky season, somewhere in the middle -- we don't know what's going to happen!'"