‘Survivor’: Jeff Probst Says Drama Continues at Ponderosa, Crew Keeps Secrets

Survivor is the ultimate game, requiring not just physical and mental prowess, but also social skills as well. So when players are eventually voted out, it’s no surprise that the game continues at Ponderosa. In fact, according to Jeff Probst, the Survivor crew specifically keeps gameplay secrets from the castaways to make sure their decisions aren’t influenced, even at Ponderosa. What’s more, castaways continue to scheme, even if they’re not a part of the tribe any longer. 

Jeff Probst says the ‘Survivor’ crew keeps secrets at Ponderosa

‘Survivor’ host Jeff Probst aboard a ship wearing a blue shirt
‘Survivor’ host Jeff Probst | Timothy Kuratek/CBS via Getty Images

Survivor host Jeff Probst takes the game very seriously, especially when it comes to maintaining player autonomy. Probst revealed that when Survivor castaways are voted off to Ponderosa, the show’s crew makes sure not to spill any beans about who did what. 

“We do not tell the contestants anything – ever. Someone who was voted out before them might tell them things that happened earlier in the season but nobody from production ever shares anything. That would be a major breach of trust,” Probst said during a Reddit AmA

The social game continues to extend to Ponderosa, and Probst warns that castaways who have been voted off should still take everything other players tell them with a grain of salt. 

“The other interesting thing about Ponderosa is people who have been voted out often have grudges and so you cannot trust what they tell you because it could be a lie or it could be rumor or speculation,” Probst added.

“This game is very tricky – you have to vote people out who will then get together and gossip about you – and you have to do it in a way that will still want them to give YOU the money. No different than politics at an office.”

Scheming continues even after the main event 

Jeff Probst smiling during tribal council on ‘Survivor: Winners at War’
Jeff Probst on ‘Survivor: Winners at War’ | CBS via Getty Images

Survivor castaways still see Ponderosa as a part of the game. Someone will eventually be crowned sole survivor, and many castaways are jockeying for a specific winner even if they themselves have been voted off. 

As a result, Ponderosa can become a major strategic playground for castaways hoping to swing the jury vote for another player. 

“For me, Ponderosa is kind of a moment to regather your thoughts and replay moments that were out in the game — things you did wrong and things that other people did right. Kind of a moment to realize what kind of juror you personally want to be,” Will Wahl told Hannah Shapiro for Mic.

“From a super-fan perspective, Ponderosa is pick who you want to win, try to sway any vote you can and really gather your thoughts on who you want to win and why,” he added. Wahl went on to explain that as soon as he arrived at Ponderosa, he was pulled aside for a strategic huddle. 

“The first night I remember Taylor [Stocker] pulling me aside and being like, ‘Will, the game is still on in a weird way. Because we’re going to decide a winner and everyone wants their specific person to win,’” he explained. 

‘Survivor’ castaways tend to overeat at Ponderosa

Jeff Probst in a suit and tie
Jeff Probst | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Ponderosa isn’t just a hotbed for after-action strategy — it’s also a place where Survivor castaways have access to full meals for the first time in a long time. However, this can also mean castaways wind up eating themselves sick. 

“There were many times that I was on Ponderosa where I was throwing up because I just wasn’t used to eating that food,” Andrea Boehlke told Insider.

“Your brain is just so confused that you now have food that it just thinks you’re supposed to eat it all as fast as you can,” she explained.

“Everybody’s feeling really gross after a few days. And then you have to go on medication for your digestive tract because you’ve just done horrible, horrible things to it and you can’t stop,” explained Tyson Apostol.

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