Survivor host Jeff Probst says there's a simple reason why nearly all of the returning castaways featured on the reality franchise's non-allstars editions have been men.

"There just aren't as many colorful women characters in Survivor history and we've used up the ones we can, you know, [Parvati Shallow] and [Amanda Kimmel] and [Cirie Fields]," Probst told Entertainment Weekly in a recently-released interview about Survivor: Philippines, which premieres Wednesday and will feature the returns of former castaways Jonathan Penner, Michael Skupin and Russell Swan.

"I mean, not saying they can't come back. We'd love to have someone like Cirie come back again, but we used them up a lot. And for whatever reason, we're loaded with interesting guys."

Eight of the nine returning Survivor castaways who have competed in the four non-allstar Survivor editions which have included a prior castaway on each tribe of first-time contestants have been men -- with Stephenie LaGrossa, who returned for Survivor: Guatemala with Bobby Jon Drinkard in 2005, being the only woman.

Shallow, Kimmel and Fields all competed on both Survivor Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains following their original seasons, leaving them with three Survivor appearances each -- a mark that has only been passed by "Boston" Rob Mariano, who has competed on four Survivor editions.

According to Probst, the gender discrepancy may be a result of a flaw in Survivor's casting or a natural difference between how the sexes tend to play the game. 

"Maybe [the statistic] says something about our casting process or maybe it just says something about how men and women behave differently in conflict. Maybe men are a little crazier and lose their minds a little more and thus become more interesting, and women are a little more rational and thus probably better leaders," the host told EW.

However, Probst suggested there is one question Survivor producers ask themselves when determining whether a particular woman would be a good candidate to return to the show.

"But for whatever reason, when we look at bringing women back, we are left with saying, 'If they have to carry the show themselves, are they strong enough?'" added Probst.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.