Longtime “Survivor” host Jeff Probst has no illusions about how hard the show is. Following an eye-opening Tribal Council during “Winners at War,” he opened up about how scarring it can be for its contestants. Here is what the Emmy-winning reality TV host had to say.
Probst Said The Effects of ‘Survivor’ Are Long-Lasting
In an interview with “Entertainment Weekly,” Probst was asked about the game’s real-world effects. The question stemmed from a Tribal Council during “Winners at War” where he asked the players how the constant distrust in the game bleeds over into the real world. Ben Driebergen said after he played the first time, he had a hard time trusting his wife, and Jeremy Collins, a firefighter, said that he struggled with trusting his coworkers at the firehouse. Probst said that conversation spoke volumes about how hard it is to adjust to the real world after filming.
“It speaks to the invoice that comes with any adventure that is based in reality and not fantasy. When you undergo something as real as ‘Survivor,’ you typically walk away with both physical and emotional scars,” said Probst, adding, “‘Survivor’ is a zero-sum game. I only do better when you do worse. And for the last one standing, a life-changing $2 million prize. Those are real stakes.”
He also said that the “desperate desire to trust someone, anyone,” is “very real,” but because you can’t ever fully trust anyone, “your perception of the world can start to shift.”
“Your new reality is you can’t trust anyone. And you’re right: Then you return home to loved ones who you trusted when you left, but now you don’t. Your perception has shifted so much that you now view them with the same amount of distrust. That trust can and does come back, but it takes real work by the player and compassionate understanding by his family and co-workers,” said Probst.
He said that is one of the “clearest examples” of “Survivor’s” authenticity.
Creator Mark Burnett Sees It As a ‘Morality Play’
Creator Mark Burnett was once asked how “Survivor” is so much more than simply surviving the elements and so forth and he said he sees “Survivor” as a classic morality play.
“‘Survivor’ is a television show, it’s made to entertain people and it connects, obviously, with a lot of people … so the question is, what is the connection with ‘Survivor’ and why do I think that is? I think ‘Survivor’ is a morality play and the morality is how you treat others will result in how you fare. It’s specifically shown in Survivor that you are asking the people that you have ousted to give you the gift of a million dollars. It’s a morality play,” said Burnett.
He also revealed that Tribal Council is lit in such a way so that the contestants are lit by the amber color of fire to represent life, but when someone is voted off, they are bathed in blue life to symbolize death.
“The tribe will never be the same again. They’re minus one … it’s a different lifeform, but they’re reborn. They’ve been reborn anew in a redemptive way and they live on tomorrow and that connects hugely with America. Americans like the chance that you can always be reborn, you can be forgiven and you can live on,” said Burnett.
“Survivor” is back in production now. If the pattern holds, it should be premiering its 41st season the third or fourth week of September 2021.
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