Posts Tagged ‘CBS’

‘Survivor’ Host Jeff Probst Explains the Many ‘Blood vs. Water’ Twists

August 21, 2013

"Survivor" Host Jeff Probst (Photo: CBS)

Thirteen years ago, a group of sixteen Americans traveled to a distant land to play a simple game. Every three days they’d get together to vote someone away, then the last two people standing would face a jury of their peers. That jury would award a million dollars to the person who they felt was the most deserving.

This ain’t that game.

Oh sure, someone will still be awarded a million dollars by a jury of their peers, but the path to get there will be different than any other version in the show’s history.

To get some clarity on all of these crazy twists, I voyaged to the  jungles of the Philippines and hunted down host Jeff Probst. Once I had him trapped, I forced him to shed some light on what has the potential to be the most unpredictable season of “Survivor” ever…

Quick Note: I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of this season’s competitors in the days before the game began. Starting Tuesday, September 3rd I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each pairing. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for those interviews, behind-the-scenes exclusives, and more…

What Is Day Zero?
For the first time since “Survivor: The Australian Outback,” the game will last longer than 39 days. The night before the game starts, players will be paired with their loved ones and left in various places around the jungle. Jeff Probst clarified that this was all Mark Burnett’s idea, “Start the game the night before. Let them get dirty. Let them feel what it’s like, now you’ve got a taste of it. Now you vote them out…”

Wait…Vote Them Out?
When the pairs arrive on the beach, they’ll immediately be split into tribes and forced to vote someone off. No talking, no strategizing, no alliance forming, just voting. However, the two people who are voted off aren’t sent directly to Redemption Island. Their loved one will have the opportunity to take their place. Why was this done? Jeff Probst explained, “The producers thought it was very important to brand Redemption Island right out of the gate.” This new twist will accomplish this as the second episode will kick off with a three-way duel between the first two eliminated players and the person who is voted out during the first Tribal Council. The first two people to complete the challenge get to stay. The third person has some buff burning to do.

The Return of Redemption Island
Why did “Survivor” bring back one of their most polarizing twists ever? “One of the reasons that those of us who like Redemption Island like it so much is it keeps great characters in the game a little longer,” Probst said. “That’s what you want, you want your best characters on screen. It’s like the loser’s bracket, but they’re still playing. I don’t have any issues with the second chance, I don’t come from that world. I get it, some people think when you’re out, you’re out. That’s a fair argument, I just don’t agree with it. I grew up playing sandlot baseball. I liked the loser’s bracket. You still get to play on Sunday. It made sense this time because we’ve got returning players, so we’re going to keep some of them longer.”

The Ol’ Redemption Island Wife Swap
Redemption Island isn’t immune from the mega-twist treatment either. Now players who are still in the game will have an opportunity to take their loved one’s place before the duel. Probst hypothesized, “At each duel you’ll get the chance to take (your loved one’s) spot. So, as we get closer to the merge, maybe I decide I can win two duels. My wife hasn’t been eating, she isn’t doing too well. I’m going to put her back in the game and take myself out. Everybody’s going to be there. Everyone is going to see your decision. You’ve got to do it in front of everyone. You’ll get a minute to come down and talk it out with your loved one. What’s the vibe, where are you at? And then suddenly that person who was just about to fight for their life? They get to put the buff back on and they’re safe and their partner is down there in a duel. Somebody’s going to make that move at Redemption Island and it’s going to be exciting.”

And Those Pesky Immunity Idols?
“This year, we have a twist with the hidden immunity where we’re going to hide them so they’ll require a clue,” Probst revealed. “But, the clue will be given out by the winner at Redemption Island. So, now you have another layer where at Redemption Island I’m fighting for my life, and if I win I’m in charge of who gets the clue. I can give it to anyone I want on either tribe. Will I try to win favor back? Will I give it to my spouse? A lot of strategy because the person who is giving the clue wants back into the game. And the clue is currency. I’ve got to get something for it.”

Don’t miss the special 90-minute premiere of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET.

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Recap: Most Depressing Episode Ever?

April 20, 2011

Last Week: Rob rejected Ralph’s rations, Phillip found a feather, and Mike the Marine met his match as he and David the defense attorney were dismissed.

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Murlonio Tribe (wearing black)
Andrea – 21, Student
Ashley – 25, Nurse
Grant – 29, Yoga Instructor
Julie – 50, Firefighter
Natalie – 19, Dancer
Phillip – 52, Former Federal Agent?
Ralph – 45, Farmer
Rob – 35, “Survivor” Hall of Famer
Steve – 51, Former NFL Player

Currently Residing on Redemption Island (wearing uncertainty)

David – 31, Defense Attorney
Matt – 22, Pre-Med Student
Mike – 31, Former Marine

Jeff Probst tweeted that tonight’s Tribal Council is going to be a doozy. And there’s a filter on Twitter that prevents people from lying, so consider me excited.

This week’s episode kicks off with Matt telling God that he doesn’t want to be in the game anymore. However, if God wants him to stay in the game he’ll keep fighting.

I’m thinking God has bigger things to deal with than who wins “Survivor: Redemption Island.”

The next morning Steve lets us know that he wasn’t ready to leave the game. He also seems to be annoyed with Phillip. Phillip gives us a prime example of how annoying he can be as he mutters to himself while he fashions a new feather headband.

Seriously, if that thing isn’t a full feather headdress by the end of the season, I’m going to be super disappointed.

Phillip follows up his arts and crafts project by telling us about his morning meditation. Apparently his ancestors have told him to trust Boston Rob. So, it’s probably fair to say that Lex Van Den Berghe isn’t one of Phillip’s ancestors.

There’s a bit of a food disparity around camp as the Zapaterans have more food left than the Ometepians. Yeah, but how much of that is crispy rice?

Phillip doesn’t approve of the tribes keeping their own rations, so he intends to liberate some of the Zapateran rice. This will end well, I’m sure.

Redemption Island invites go out and this time everybody is welcome. That’s awfully neighborly.

Redemption Island Challenge Time: Each player will have 150 wooden tiles. They’ll use them to build a house of cards. The first two players to reach eight feet will continue on. The loser will become the first member of the jury.

“Survivor: Gabon’s” Susie Smith, represent.
Not much to describe here except for some stackin’. Mike has about an inch to go and almost loses it. He eventually figures it out and wins. Matt then gets the best of David to advance. David is the first member of the jury.

Upon returning from Redemption Island the Ometepans learn that their rice has mold and maggots in it. They separate the good from the bad and ask Steve if they can combine the two tribes’ rice supplies. He doesn’t think that’s a great idea. As you would imagine, Phillip and his feather do not approve of this.

Phillip believes that only rewards are separate after the merge. Of course, that’s easy to say when the other dude has more rice than you. Steve wants to discuss the matter with Ralph. However, Phillip threatens that he’ll hide the Zapateran rice the second Steve leaves.


Steve calls Phillip a “lunatic.” Phillip agrees that he is a lunatic, but that whenever a man of his “color” gets in someone else’s face, they’re considered a lunatic.


Grant and Rob rightfully get a little freaked out that Phillip dropped a “race card.” That can’t be good for tribal harmony.

Steve tries to play it off, but Phillip informs him that he’s dealing with the “Chief of Counter Intelligence” and a “Wing Chun Kung Fu” expert. Phillip does have a point, a lot of what he does seems to be the counter of intelligence.

Things heat up again when Ralph returns. An enraged Phillip even drops a few “n words.” I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that must’ve been.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will spin around a disc in an attempt to release it from a post. Once it’s free, they’ll use it to complete a puzzle. The first six to finish will move on to a second ring to their puzzle wheel. First person to complete the second ring wins immunity.

Rob, Julie, Ralph, Andrea, Steve, and Grant were the first six to complete the initial puzzle. Phillip thought he had it, and even mimicked J-Pro’s announcing style, but nobody fell for it.

In the second round, Rob returned to his previous “Survivor” form and completed the puzzle first. Rob wins immunity.

Politicking around camp, not shockingly, involves the Zapaterans trying to get rid of Phillip.

Julie isn’t content just to vote him out as she reaches into the Russell Hantz playbook, swipes Phillip shorts and buries them. OK Julie, that’ll annoy Phillip, but think of what you’re doing to the viewers. The return of Phillip’s pink panties can’t be good for ratings.

That night at Tribal Council, Phillip lets Jeff know that it isn’t cute that somebody stole his shorts.

Steve brings up the race/rice war. Phillip thinks the term “crazy” is a substitute for the “n word.” Probst can’t see where Phillip is making that leap. Phillip says he can’t put it into words, but he knows it when he sees it.

Steve lets us know that there is no line of black or white in his heart.

Jeff does a masterful job of explaining that they are both welcome to their take on the events, and that in their hearts they are both right. Wow, well done, Mr. Probst.

Afterward, Jeff gets Julie to fess up to stealing Phillip’s shorts. Man, he’s two for two tonight.

Voting Time: Steve votes for Phillip (shocker), Julie votes for Phillip, Ralph votes for Phillip (technically it was “Phile”), Phillip voted for Julie, and the rest of the votes are secret.

J-Pro tallies and returns…three votes for Phillip, four votes for Julie, and the eleventh person to be sent to Redemption Island is…Julie.

Verdict: Probst was right, Tribal Council was crazy. However, it wasn’t entertaining-crazy.

I like my “Survivor” with everyone at each other’s throats, but that was just depressing. I felt bad for Phillip because he’s obviously been made to feel that way in the past. And I feel bad for Steve because I don’t think that was his intention at all.

Here’s hoping Steve and Phillip eventually find some common ground and are able to figure things out.

Who’s Going to Win? Natalie’s got the perfect path, right?

Power Rankings Update:
Sash had Matt as his Redemption Island pick, I had David. So, Sash earns a point. Sash had Julie in spot seven, I had her in spot five. The current score is now Team Sash 112 to Team Gordon 99.

Ooof…that may have put this game out of reach. Also, readers @truedorktimes, @SherriErwin, and Kyle got the best of me. Congrats!

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

Watch Full Episodes:

‘Survivor: Redemption Island’ Power Rankings: Round 9

April 19, 2011

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Nicaragua” finalist Matthew “Sash” Lenahan and XFINITY TV’s “Survivor” loudmouth Gordon Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of the next episode will determine the number of points the two players will earn. For example, if Julie is voted out this week, Sash will receive 7 points and Gordon will receive 5 points. Also, each player will pick who they think will win at “Redemption Island.” If they choose correctly they will receive a bonus point. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Redemption Island” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Sash and Gordon both had Mike in spot eleven. Sash had David in spot six, Gordon had him in spot seven. So, Gordon gained a whole point. He must be so proud. The current score is now Team Sash 104, Team Gordon 94.

Wanna Play? Last week, several “Survivor” fans posted their own Power Rankings on Twitter. Tag Gordon (@gordonholmes) in your own Twitter Power Rankings, or post your picks in the comment section of this post. If you do better than Gordon does, (which is highly likely) he’ll give you credit in his weekly recap.


Current Score: 104



Current Score: 94

natalie . natalie
#1 Natalie – Natalie’s loyalty to the men of her original tribe is keeping her safe and has cleared an easy path to the end. . #1 Natalie – Natalie’s allegiance to Rob was cemented when she spilled the beans about Ashley’s discussion with Ralph. It proves she’s more interested in getting far in this game than she is in having a spa buddy.
ashley . andrea
#2 Ashley – The buddy system may lead to Ashley’s demise now that Natalie gave Boston Rob the inside scoop on her exchange with Ralph. . #2 Andrea – There’s usually some awkward negotiating at the end of an endurance challenge. There was none last week. Ashley and Natalie happily let Andrea win. I think this and the Matt blindside prove that Andrea is solid with Rob’s Zombies.
bostonrob . grant
#3 Boston Rob – Rob has complete control over his groupies as they vote off the original Zapatera one-by-one, but once the original Ometepe tribe begins to cannibalize itself, he will have a very difficult time working his way to Final Tribal Council. . #3 Grant Someday Rob is going to stab Grant in the back. It won’t be this week, but it’s coming…and soon.
phillip . ashley
#4 Phillip – Phillip’s stories are “Survivor” gold for those of us not living with him on the island, but will he wear out his welcome among his tribemates? . #4 Ashley – Rob sent Matt packing over a handshake. You think he’s going to take kindly to your odd deal with Ralph? Once the Pagonging of Zapatera is over, you’re in trouble.
grant . julie
#5 Grant – Grant is the total package with his athleticism, puzzle making skills, and charm, but Final Tribal Council does not have enough room for both him and Boston Rob. . #5 Julie – Gamewise, I think there are bigger (Boston Rob-approved) fish to fry right now. But she’s not going to get close to the end.
andrea . bostonrob
#6 Andrea – Voting against Matt was the best move Andrea has made all season long.  She now needs to remain under the radar and hope that an opportunity presents itself to make a bold move. . #6 Boston Rob – The Ometepians have the kind of numbers advantage now where nobody should feel safe. They could lose one of their own and still get the best of the Zapaterans. Rob had better keep his idol close at all times.
julie . phillip
#7 Julie – By association with Steve and Ralph, Julie’s time is limited.  Her only move is to work her magic with the younger women. . #7 Phillip – Right now, Phillip is playing a game that makes him valuable to take to the end. However, if he’s driving the Brady Bunch crazy, Rob could decide to bounce him to win some favor with the future Zapateran jury members.
ralph . steve
#8 Ralph – Ralph is on Boston Rob’s hit list because of his failed attempt to pull information from Ashley, and now without an idol, he has a one-way ticket to Ponderosa. . #8 Steve – The previews make it look like we’re going to see a Phillip vs. Steve throwdown this week. Will this lead to the wild Tribal Council that Probst has promised?
steve . ralph
#9 Steve “Survivor” is a delicate game where building relationships is everything.  Steve’s lack of social awareness with Phillip and the rest of the tribe will lead to his dismissal. . #9 Ralph – Why Ralph instead of Steve? Because Steve’s ready to go and Ralph has proved that he’s prepared to scramble. No way Rob wants someone with the will to fight sticking around.
matt . david
Redemption Island Winner – Matt is the only one with experience on Redemption Island and is poised to dominate the only part of this game he excels in. . Redemption Island WinnerHmmm…why David? Because I need points and I think Sash will pick either Mike or Matt.

Any questions? Drop me a line on Twitter at @gordonholmes.