‘Survivor: Island of the Idols’: Host Jeff Probst Dishes On the Advice He’d Want From Sandra and Rob

Survivor host Jeff Probst has seen it all — contestants with terrible attitudes, castaways starving themselves for first place, and groups of unflappable competitors. But he still knows when he should listen to the experts. 

With Season 39 right around the corner, fans are wondering what sort of intense gameplay they’re going to see from a new group of castaways. And with “Boston” Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine on the scene as special advisors, castaways are ready to learn from the best. But when it comes to Survivor, there’s so much to know. What sorts of advice does Jeff Probst think would be most helpful from the experts?

What is the ‘Island of the Idols’?

Survivor: Island of the Idols is only days away from its CBS premiere, and that means we’ll be seeing our favorite host and two of Survivor’s most legendary players again. But what is the Island of the Idols all about? 

The idea for Season 39 is that players will have an opportunity to learn from the best — but only under special circumstances. It seems as if they’re going to have to earn it. 

“The main premise is they’re coming over here. It’s called the Island of the Idols. Think of it like a Survivor boot camp or training camp, where they can come over and they can learn any kind of skill that they need. Any lesson, they can come and learn it over here. We can do anything, you know? We’ve been here over 200 days between the two of us. We can make a fire like that. We can teach them how to fish. We have everything that they would need to learn how to do any skill that it takes to survive out here,” “Boston” Rob Mariano told Hollywood Reporter.

For some castaways, this could be a golden opportunity. “Boston” Rob Mariano is widely recognized as one of the best players in Survivor history, and Sandra Diaz-Twine is the only castaways to win Survivor twice. Their advice could be invaluable. 

Probst wants this advice from Sandra and Rob

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So when it comes to advice from the experts, what can Survivor fans expect? Jeff Probst says there are a few key things he’d want to learn from these two legends if he were a castaway on Season 39. 

According to Probst, the most important things these two can offer aren’t practical skills like fishing or fire-making — it’s about observations and strategy. “If I was playing and I got the chance to hang out with Boston Rob and Sandra, I would want to talk and talk and talk and talk and say this at the end: ‘Now tell me where I’m vulnerable. Tell me what you see about me that I don’t see. Talk to me about my ego,’” explained the Survivor host to Entertainment Weekly

“‘Where am I weak? Where are my tendencies? Just give it to me all.’ And then I’ll stiffen up, take it, and go back. Because I think the thing they’re really good at is spotting entry points that they can get in. So rather than teach me how to make fire, I’d say, ‘Man, can we just forget this. Will you just tell me what I need to be better at in terms of observing?’”

And Probst makes a good point — while practical skills are useful on the island, it’s strategy and perceptiveness that often win the game. Both Mariano and Diaz-Twine are famous for their strategic insights, something the castaways should take advantage of. 

A powerful group of women

The two Survivor legends aren’t the only impressive folks on Season 39. According to Probst, this season sports a strong contingent of women. “I think [it’s] the most powerful group of women we’ve ever had,” he said.

Probst told Entertainment Weekly that there are three women he’s looking out for specifically, each of which he could see reaching the top. 

“Molly is one of the first people that comes to mind,” said the Survivor host. “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.”

There’s also a woman named Missy, who Probst thinks is a real threat. “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,” he explained. 

For his third top pick, Probst says, “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.’”