‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Breaks Down the ‘Second Chance’ Premiere

"Survivor: Second Chance" (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: That Tribal…I’m still not sure what I just saw.
Jeff Probst:
It was a doozy and it made me super happy. Everybody contributed to what you just saw.
Holmes:
I’ve seen a few of these in person, and I’ve never seen anything like what we saw with Varner. He literally stopped the show to ask Peih-Gee if she was going to do what they discussed in the ocean. It seems like he just changed his mind mid-stream…no pun intended.
Probst:
I’m not certain what happened. I’m not sure what the tribe divisions are. But, based on Woo, I would say that Woo and Terry and Vytas were together with somebody else. They’re now going back to camp thinking they’re in trouble because it was a four-to-six vote. I’m not sure who the fourth person was.

Note: I watched Tribal on a monitor, Jeff didn’t have a chance to check the tapes yet.

Holmes: The fourth vote was actually cast by Kelly Wiglesworth. Do you think Varner was worried about a tie?
Probst: I think Varner was probably in the middle. He was deciding what he was going to do, so he was checking in with Peih-Gee and he wanted to make sure they were doing what they had discussed earlier.

Holmes: In pre-game, Varner said he had a pre-game alliance with Terry and Kelly. Here we are three days in and he’s already voting against them. Is this proof that pre-game alliance don’t work?
Probst: It’s hard to say, but Parvati Shallow, a great “Survivor” player, told me one time that pre-game alliances are a terrible idea because you’ve now committed to somebody before you know what the play is. And, that’s the best take on it that I’ve heard.
Holmes:
Any chance this is some kind of Keyser Soze move to throw people off of their scent and Varner will get back with Kelly and Terry?
Probst:
(Laughs) I don’t know. Varner could be playing some kind of a long game and playing people. It’s a good question, but I don’t know. I’m really excited for Varner to be back. He’s a very clever guy.
Holmes:
He was great tonight.
Probst:
He was fantastic.

Holmes: It didn’t seem like Vytas was blindsided. Why didn’t he scramble more?
Probst: It’s hard to know if he was truly not blindsided. All of these guys are good enough that they’re going to say, “It could be me.” I think if you’d asked him to put money down, Vytas would have said he’s not going home tonight. I think otherwise he would have been talking. I think he heard his name, but he thought he had Woo, Wiglesworth, Deitz, and Varner. I think Abi was the one who really thought she was going home.

Holmes: It’s gotta make this worse to have this on the heels of the fan vote.
Probst: Yeah.
Holmes:
What do you think would hurt more; losing the fan vote or being first out?
Probst:
Oh, it’d be worst to not get here. Being on the list is one thing, it’s like you’re nominated for an Oscar. Getting in is like winning. He made it. People wanted to see him again. I did think Vytas said it well in his confessional, “Somebody has to be first.” And Vytas has to know if he gets another shot he could turn it around and win.

Holmes: Shirin had an odd laughing fit.
Probst: I don’t know what happened with Shirin. It was fascinating.
Holmes:
But then you mentioned her going home and it stopped being funny.
Probst:
Yeah, she had three distinct moods. She has, “Let me set up what it’s like to play.” Then she’d lose her mind for a moment over something that wasn’t funny. Then the color drained from her face when she realized they might be talking about her. That’s why Shirin is great. She really wears it on her sleeve. She’s very sharp. She knows how to tell a story. And she’s really good at choosing which part of her personality to tell a story with. That’s why she’s so complicated and confusing. She really can get excited about watching monkeys fornicate.
Holmes:
“Monkeys fornicating” seems cold. Monkeys making love is a little classier.
Probst:
That’s a good point. That’s because you’re in love.
Holmes:
That’s true.

Holmes: This is the first time I’ve been to Tribal and had no idea what was going to happen. Do you think the move to ship them here immediately after the challenge had something to do with that?
Probst: Oh yeah. It really screwed them up. I think even though Peih-Gee said you should be prepared for that, you could tell the uncertainty was worrisome. I didn’t get to check in with anybody, and just because somebody at Tribal gives you a nod, you don’t know if they’re playing you.

Holmes How did you feel about the marooning?
Probst: I liked it a lot. I felt the energy, I felt the emotion. I like how happy they were to be here. I liked Shirin being the last one out of the boat. I like it when someone is last.
Holmes:
And you like calling it out.
Probst:
I have to! And I liked that Deitz had to go back to get his sandals. I love that Kelly outswam a raft with nine people on it. I loved that Woo and Joe raced for the rice. Woo proved he’s here to play.

Holmes: We’ve been talking non-stop about second chances, but what’s yours? If you were granted some kind of cosmic do-over, what would it be?
Probst: Oh man, that’s a long list. The one that comes to mind is in the very first season at the final Tribal Council, I had this line that I was determined that I was going to say, which is, “Conflict reveals character.”  But instead I say, “Character reveals characters.” And our editors didn’t catch it or didn’t know what I had meant to say. And if you go watch the final Tribal, I say this line that means nothing. That one always haunts me because it makes…no…sense! And nobody has ever brought it up to me.
Holmes: And now that you have, it’ll be a meme.

Holmes: The next challenge is the A-frame challenge we ran a few days ago. Keeping in mind that Vytas is now gone, who do you think wins it?
Probst: It’s a big puzzle…it’s a tough puzzle.
Holmes:
And Joe is amazing.
Probst:
(Laughs) Joe is amazing. But they’ve both got some good puzzle solvers…Spencer is good. Shirin is better than we’ve seen. I’m going to go with Bayon again.
Holmes:
And who goes home after that Tribal?
Probst:
Wow…Deitz, Woo, and Wiglesworth were on the wrong side of the vote, but Jeff is a tricky player. Is he locked in or is he going vote by vote? He might come back and say, “I got rid of who I want to get rid of, now let’s play.” Terry seemed old school, Kelly seemed old school. Jeff seemed like an old-school guy who was willing to listen to the hip hop and dance. That’s a terrible quote.
Holmes:
It’s late.
Probst:
(Laughs) So, I don’t know.

Holmes: Great marooning, a close challenge, and an odd Tribal Council. How are you feeling about this premiere.
Probst: Not just an odd Tribal Council, but a Tribal where the audience isn’t going to know what’s going on. They’re not going to know who’s going home. They’re going to feel pretty much like we did. Woo’s concerned, Abi’s concerned, Shirin’s concerned, Terry’s concerned, Varner asks questions and shuts it down. Based on what we’ve seen, I think it’s going to be a stellar premiere. Fantastic. I really do think it’s going to be an amazing premiere.

Holmes: I’ve been pushing the line “Tomorrow is your next second chance” for a few days now. When are we going to hear it?
Probst: Right. (Laughs) When am I going to say it? I’ll probably use it at some point. I think we’ll use that on a Tribal with a lot of emotion.
Holmes:
And if you could point and wink.
Probst:
You’ve got it. And that was Dalton’s line, right?
Holmes:
No, it was the guy that ate the scorpion today and did so well.
Probst:
Parvati?
Holmes:
She didn’t even…
Probst:
Dan from ET?
Holmes:
Damn you.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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