When it comes to Survivor, Jeff Probst sees castaways from all walks of life. And while Survivor has received flak in the past for racism and a lack of focus on diversity, it seems as if that could be changing rapidly. At least, when it comes to Survivor: Island of the Idols. In fact, Probst says that recently, casting has been growing more diverse and more expansive.
What’s more, the Survivor host says this season is bringing us some of the most powerful women in the show’s history. Here’s what the legendary host had to say.
A group of powerful women
The last four seasons of Survivor have all seen male winners take the title of sole survivor. However, according to Jeff Probst, things might be different this time around. Probst thinks that there are three particularly powerful women on the show this season.
Probst told Entertainment Weekly that one of his top picks for the season is Molly. “Molly is one of the first people that comes to mind,” said Probst. “Definitely a threat to win. She’s has everything. While studying to go to law school she has two whiteboards in her room and she’s always charting Survivor strategies because she was determined that she was going to get on the show. So this is somebody, it’s the new age player. It’s the young person who watched growing up and now they can categorize: ‘He plays like this, she plays like that. If I’m ever on the show I’m gonna play a little like this and a little like that.’ Really liked her.”
Probst went on to mention Missy, who he thinks stands a chance at winning as well. “We have this woman Missy, who I think is her own worst enemy in the best way because she’s like 23 going on 50. She’s had so much life experience but she’s still a young person. She’s an athlete. She’s been through a lot. She was in the military and she is another superfan of the game,” explained Probst.
The third most likely woman to win, in Probst’s opinion, might be a little sneaky. “There’s a woman, Lauren, who is a nanny who is I think going to surprise a lot of people because she has beautiful radiant energy, and you spend enough time talking to her and you realize, ‘Oh my God, she’s a stone-cold killer in this game,’” he said.
Jeff Probst on diversity in ‘Survivor’
According to Probst, diversity in the casting is part of what makes Survivor a winning show. In fact, he claims the show is interesting in large part due to cast member diversity.
Probst told Entertainment Weekly, “The truth is, by design, we always want the cast to be as diverse as possible. That’s what makes the show interesting and also representative of our country.”
Probst added that recently, casting has been an explosion of diversity. He also believes that same increase in diversity is motivating new players to apply for the show.
“But lately, something really interesting has been happening. Over the last few years, our casting has really started to bloom with so many different people from different ethnicities starting to apply. It’s incredibly exciting for us. And it spreads, because when you are watching at home and you see someone who looks like you or comes from a part of the country that you’re from, it can inspire you to apply as well,” explained Probst.
Probst went on to add, “We often hear new players reference someone they saw on the show as the reason they applied. Cirie was one of the very first to truly inspire other women just like her to get up off the couch and go for it. You can even see it geographically. For instance, Donathan, who played in Survivor: Ghost Island, was from a small city in Kentucky and since his appearance we have been flooded with others from small cities in Kentucky.”
Probst is frustrated with CBS
While diversity on Survivor has been bringing a smile to Probst’s face, CBS has not. Many fans expressed frustration when CBS aired a promo for Survivor: Island of the Idols that revealed which tribe would be attending tribal council that same night. The promo aired during the episode itself.
Probst took to Twitter to express his frustration. “To those of you frustrated by Survivor spoilers in the promos…I have to admit I too find it mind-numbing [sic]. And it pains me to have join in your complaints against @SurvivorCBS but I am,” wrote the Survivor host.
He then wrote, “Despite being on the air 20 years we still have not earned the right to approve our own promo spots. The purpose of a promo is to entice you to watch without giving away what it is we want you to watch. We have no say in that….”
“I encourage you to continue complaining in the hopes they will finally submit. But spoilers notwithstanding, tonight’s #SURVIVOR episode is GREAT! Super fun! Enjoy!” Probst concluded. Hopefully, fans will rally to his call for action.