Fans of Survivor know that Jeff Probst always has a new twist up his sleeve. When it comes to the winning CBS reality show, almost anything could be lurking around the corner. While some fans have been protesting the non-stop twists, calling them gimmicky and distracting, others have embraced the ever-changing nature of the show.
But it begs the question — where does Probst get all these bizarre new ideas from? Survivor fans might be surprised to learn that many of them came from none other than Jimmy Fallon.
Tips from friends
Fans who watched last night’s Survivor premiere noticed two special guests at the tribal council — “Boston” Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine. As advisors for the season, it makes sense that the pair would want to see how tribemates interact at the tribal council sessions.
However, it turns out that the idea to include the tribal council viewing booth wasn’t actually Probst’s at all. In fact, it came from Jimmy Fallon. Probst, fortunately or otherwise, has discovered that Fallon is a huge fan of the game.
Fallon told The Hollywood Reporter, “Jeff probably regrets giving me his email after he was on my show a few years ago. I use it all the time. I will have ideas in the middle of the night and just shoot off a short email and say ‘Is this anything?’ Now and then he’ll respond with: ‘This email is no longer in use.’ But I know he’s reading them!”
Probst clarified that the idea for the viewing booth came from Fallon a while ago. “We thought it was a great idea, but we could never make sense of it. Why would you bring a player back to secretly spy on Tribal? We weren’t sure about it. When the [Island of the Idols] idea took flight, we thought this was the time. This is when we can use the secret Jimmy Fallon viewing booth — the Fallon Booth.”
Any other big ideas?
According to Jimmy Fallon, he sends Jeff Probst a lot of different ideas. He has one particular twist in mind that he thinks would be especially fun — a double season.
“I had one long idea once where the two tribes finally become one only to find Survivor Australia is filming their season on the same island and now those two tribes have to go at it. It’s a double season! Or something… I think. Jeff hasn’t got back to me on that one,” admitted Fallon.
He went on to add that he’s a huge fan of the game. “I’m just a fan of [Probst] and of Survivor, so I’m always thinking of new twists and things that don’t completely change the game that I love, but enhance it. If it ain’t broke….” said Fallon.
It turns out Fallon isn’t the only celebrity to influence Probst’s twists on Survivor. In fact, Probst often hears from Tyler Perry, who helped contribute his own twist to the show.
On Survivor: Cagayan, Tony Vlachos found a special idol that allowed him to gain immunity after the votes were read during tribal council — typically idols must be played before. According to Probst, this idea came from longtime Survivor fan Tyler Perry.
Some fans are sick of twists
While Jeff Probst loves adding new twists to his ever-evolving game, there are some fans that feel as if it happens far too often.
One Reddit user wrote, “I think there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. I think there’s a threshold that, once crossed, makes a season feel imbalanced and lopsided. It feels less like Survivor and more like a game of random chance of when someone will find and use advantages.”
Another sounded off, writing, “I feel like nowadays, you get too many points where it feels less like the players are competing against each other within the game and more like they’re competing against the game itself.”
Probst has replied to criticism regarding twists in the past, especially regarding Edge of Extinction. He once told Decider, “Anything that messes with somebody they like in the game, people hate. Anything that helps somebody they like in the game, they will love.”