Why Did Jeff Probst Want to Change ‘Survivor’ 2019?

Jeff Probst from ‘Survivor’
Survivor host Jeff Probst | Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/Getty Images

After 37 seasons, it’s a given that a show needs to mix things up a little to stay relevant, interesting, and entertaining. After being on air so long, Survivor has mastered the art of twists and surprises. But now, the show introduces a new twist that will test the desire of the contestants and bring viewers on a journey of they’ve never seen before.

How does Edge of Extinction differ from previous seasons?

To the contestants entering the game, this season of Survivor is no different than any other. All they know is that they will be split up into teams to face off and survive until the very end. To make it to the end, they must survive tribal council or else they get sent home.

What the contestants do not know is once they are voted out, they do not have to go home. This year, after a contestant is voted out, host Jeff Probst will snuff their torch and send them on their way down the path away from tribal council. But this is where the similarities end.

At the end of the path, the contestant will find a signpost telling them that they have a choice. Option one, go home. Option two, take the torch, head onto a boat and head to the edge of extinction.

This sounds a lot like redemption island…

At first glance, the new twist doesn’t sound very new at all. Seasons 7, 22, 23, and 27 all featured a twist that would bring back voted out players. But things are a little different this time.

The primary difference between this season and previous seasons is the level of difficulty the ousted players will face. In a promo video for the show, Probst says, “What they know is, there will be an opportunity to get back in the game. What they don’t know is it will be the hardest they’ve ever had to work for anything.” If things get too hard, players can raise the mast on the shipwrecked boat and they will be removed from the game.

Another twist — in past seasons players knew ahead of time that voted out members would have a chance to enter the game, not so this time. Players will only find out about the twist after being voted out, which means a players gameplay could be different thinking that once someone is voted out, they are gone for good.

Why did Probst want to change ‘Survivor’?

Probst has always been a fan of the game and loves seeing just how hard someone will push themselves to get to the end. He says that the crew has worked hard to create the gameplay and introduce new elements, idols, and twists. He says now he wants to see why people play the game.

Probst tells Entertainment Weekly that this new twist is a way to see just how bad someone wants to be in the game and what they will do to stay in it. “…if there’s something stirring inside of you and you’re posed with this question of, ‘Wait, I could maybe get back in?’ then maybe you’ll push yourself a little further and see what you’re made of.”

Veteran players are coming back to help

This season will see the return of four veteran players, Aubry Bracco, Joe Anglim, Kelly Wentworth, and David Wright. Probst told viewers, “One of the things we wanted to do is to set the players up early to remind them how hard it is to win… What we were trying to say to the new players is, no matter how good you think you are, you’re going to have to do a lot better, because even things guys have yet to win.” All but one of the players has played on more than one season, and all almost won it all.