‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’: Why Does Jeff Probst Keep Inviting Boston Rob Back to Compete Again and Again?

The 40th anniversary season of Survivor marks Boston Rob Mariano’s sixth time on the show. Rob and his wife, Amber Mariano have each won the game once. He’s also competed in CBS’s Amazing Race, twice.

So, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Why do they keep bringing Rob back?” Other players also returned to the show multiple times — including Ozzy LusthRussell Hantz, and Cirie Fields — but no one has played as many seasons as Rob.

[Warning: Survivor 40: Winners at War spoilers ahead]

Rob Mariano
Rob Mariano | CBS via Getty Images

How many days has Boston Rob played on ‘Survivor’ — Is it more than anyone else?

Rob is the definition of making a career out of the reality TV show, Survivor. He is currently competing in his fifth season. However, he was present in season 39 as a mentor to the newbies — not competing. There is a massive statue of Rob on the islands, where players went for Island of the Idols. He’s known to some as the “Godfather” of Survivor.

However, he did not come out of the gate as a winner. Rob played Survivor: Marquesas, Survivor: All-Stars, and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains without winning the $1 million. However, he made up for it all when he won Survivor: Redemption Island with an 8-1-0 vote. Jeff Probst still says that he played the “most perfect game of Survivor ever,” with that season.

Going into Survivor: Winners at War, Rob spent 117 previous days on the islands of Survivor. He was in third place for the most days spent competing, at that point.

However, Rob currently adds six more days to that total —making it 123 — bumping out the second place Survivor contestant, Cirie Fields, and her 121 days. Rob will take the title of most days on the islands if he lasts five more days on season 40 — overtaking Ozzy Lusth’s first-place position with 128 days.

Jeff Probst says they keep asking Boston Rob back to ‘Survivor’ because he is ‘compelling’

After episode 2 of Winners at War, Probst discussed the move that Rob made when he forced his tribe mates to empty their bags at Tribal Council. Rob intended to flush out any hidden immunity idols that might be present. The shocking element of this move was that every person complied with his order.

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“He’s compelling. He’s amazing to watch,” Probst told Entertainment Weekly. “The move to have everyone empty their bags was so smart on so many levels. Even levels that didn’t play out this time. And I do not think this will be the last time it happens. It’s a very powerful move that could be used in many ways.”

“When people ask why do you have Rob back so many times? This is why,” Probst admitted.

Rob knows how to make big moves — and he doesn’t care whether they succeed or fail

The moves he makes speak for him. Even when he loses challenges, the other contestants do not consider voting him out.

“But he made an equally big move in the puzzle by trying a crazy strategy of separating pieces, and this time it didn’t work,” Probst continued. “It was a major disaster. That’s the consequence of a failed big move. Rob is not perfect, yet he continues to make big moves always trying to turn the game in his favor. When a big move works you move forward, and when a big move fails… you still move forward.”

After the challenge, Rob went back to camp and admitted that he blew the puzzle with his strategy. No one targeted him after. His alliance remained strong, and the tribe voted with him. Probst and the CBS producers bring him back because he is the definition of the show, and fans love to watch how he plays the game.

Catch new episodes of Survivor 40: Winners at War Wednesdays at 8 pm ET on CBS.

Read more: ‘Survivor’: Why Isn’t Russell Hantz on ‘Survivor Winners at War?’