‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Revealed What He Misses About the Early Seasons of the Show

With Season 38 of Survivor already nearing its end, fans are thinking ahead to what the next few seasons of the show will have in store. We can expect new twists and turns, of course, and there’s another constant we all know will be there — and that’s host Jeff Probst. Probst has been the host and narrator of the series since the very beginning, and he’s also the executive producer, which means he gets a say in the big decisions that are made in regards to the structure of the show.

Probst loves the direction Survivor has taken over the years, but he’s stated before that there are aspects to early seasons he misses. Here’s what he’s said.

Survivor has gone through a number of changes since the beginning

Jeff Probst extinguishes Wendy Diaz's torch on Survivor
Jeff Probst extinguishes Wendy Diaz’s torch on Survivor | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

It all began with one simple concept: Take everyday folks, put them on an island with limited resources, and make them vote each other off of the island in an attempt to be the last one standing for $1 million. Since the beginning, Survivor has taken off — and while the main concept has remained the same, we’ve seen plenty of twists on each new season to help keep the gameplay fresh. From the introduction to the hidden immunity idol to twists that totally flopped (Probst hates the Medallion of Power twist, for example), fans love how unpredictable Survivor can be.

The current season, Edge of Extinction, is trying a twist the producers have never attempted before, too. Contestants who are voted out get a second chance at the game if they choose to head to Extinction Island. On Extinction Island, there’s little food and no shelter, so they have to figure out how to make it through. But eventually, through challenges, the players who can withstand the separate island get a chance at coming back.

Probst has noted the players on the current season are loving this twist, too. As he told Entertainment Weekly, “I think on some level, the idea of a second chance is appealing to all players. Everybody wants to play.”

Jeff Probst misses certain aspects of the show when it was still fresh

Survivor: Edge of Extinction
Survivor: Edge of Extinction | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

Most new players on Survivor are folks who’ve lived and breathed the game at home. They’ve seen most, if not all, of the previous seasons, and they’ve had years to think about what kind of game they want to play, what kind of people they want to align themselves with, and what they would do given certain scenarios. The production value of Survivor today is also incredibly polished. This makes the story easy to follow, of course, but Probst has stated the first few seasons of the show are ones he misses.

Probst loves how into Survivor the new players are, but he’s noted he misses when the show was more “raw” in regards to both players and production value. During an “Ask Me Anything” Reddit session, Probst wrote, “There was an ‘amateurish’ feeling to our early seasons, especially season one — where it really was cinema verite – we had cameras in the shots, we didn’t always have great audio – but it was really compelling because it was so raw. … [T]here is something very innocent about season one that will never be there again.”

Will we ever get an all-winner season? It’s highly unlikely

Jeff Probst on the finale of Survivor: Ghost Island
Jeff Probst on the finale of Survivor: Ghost Island | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

With so many Survivor winners, fans wonder if a twist for a future season may involve all previous winners as contestants. Could this ever happen? According to Probst, it’s highly unlikely. “We can’t do all winners. As a producer, I would never suggest it. I would say it’s not a good idea,” he told Us Weekly. Probst also added that he can only name “10 great winners that you’d want to see play again. … Some of the winners don’t want to play again. Some of the greats are like, ‘No, we’re done.’”

Probst mentions that “CBS wants to do it,” so if the network gets its way, then perhaps it’ll happen. Or, it’s a possibility that there could be an all-winners tribe against new players for a season. We’ll have to wait and see what’s decided in the future.

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