'Survivor: Nicaragua': Jeff Probst on the new season, final 3 vs. final 2, and how long he'll keep hosting

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Survivor: Nicaragua premieres tonight on CBS. Yes, that’s right — the show has switched back to Wednesdays. But how does host Jeff Probst feel about being moved off TV’s most important evening (Thursday), especially after dominating it for years? The host discusses his feelings about the displacement as well as several other Survivor hot-button topics in parts 3 & 4 of our on-location chat, topics like: some new wrinkles to the hidden immunity idols to keep contestants from finding them every 13 seconds; why the show prefers a final 3 as opposed to final 2 (they couldn’t be more wrong on this, if you ask me); and whether this will indeed be Probst’s final year hosting the reality giant. (Yep, the three-time Emmy winner’s contract is up again in May.) You’ll also be treated to some exclusive in-game and behind-the-scenes footage along the way. Check out what Probst has to say in the video player after the jump, and then hit the message boards and let us know what you think about the great final 3 vs. final 2 debate. Also make sure to watch parts 1 & 2, where Probst shows off his heavy metal singing voice and explains what made him so upset at the first immunity challenge., as well as the first two minutes of the Survivor: Nicaragua season premiere. And check back here tomorrow for my full recap of tonight’s premiere. Finally, for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

Comments (94 total) Add your comment
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  • ew sucks

    They should cast Bear Grylls of Man vs Wild in survivor!!!!! he would own every challenge =]

    • connor12

      So will he get to take his own food and team of survival experts like he does in every episode of man vs wild?

    • TreS


      • Ben

        I’m so please this has finally happened! I’ve been waiting for all of these for years! Now if I can just get Cook Islands, Guatemala & Heroes v Villains…

    • FTKatie

      He would totally dominate a “drinking your own pee” challange

      • Mark Burnett

        Wow! How come we never thought of that?

      • DON C RAGG


  • JeffDJ

    I MUCH prefer a Final Two. To me, Final Three seems like a “throw that poor 3rd dog a bone” situation and just more opportunity for the jury to toss off those over-the-top barbs to the finalists (read: “entertainment”). I was really happy when they went back to Final Two for Tocantins and thought they’d returned to their senses; alas, they went back to Three thereafter.

    • Michelle

      Final TWO is much better! Jeff is the best. Survivor is great. It’s always great. People needing to deal socially with each other while surviving, while trying to win a game, ALWAYS interesting. And Jeff is just sharp as a tack with the questions, and of course the editors know what to show, and the cameramen are great at catching the action. The longer it goes, the better the production gets at catching the action and knowing how to get the best out of it and the contestants.

      • ceebee

        Totally agree.

    • Jo

      Final 3 sucks, because, let’s face it, Sandra robbed Russell or Parvati of that win last year. And with a final 2, one of them would have won it and taken the other, not Sandra.

  • wizard62

    Regarding the change from Thursday to Wednesday, Jeff is 100% correct – Survivor is not waning. I am a die-hard fan of this show and have been since it premiered 10 years ago. I watch…no, LOOK FORWARD to every episode each week. No other show does that for me. I am positive it’s fans will follow it wherever they place it on the schedule. Besides, with DVR’s, time slot and day of week do not matter as much anymore. The change in cast each season is also what keeps it fresh because it’s always different. CBS has a gold mine in Jeff Probst. There’s no other show I can think of where the host is SO incredibly integral to the program. It’s like Idol losing Simon – everyone knows it won’t be the same, and that’s the case with Jeff. He is as much Survivor as any other element of the show. If Jeff leaves, they may as well cancel the show. The other thing about Survivor is…it NEVER gets old. This show can potentially go on forever, as long as Jeff is attached. I’m am incredibly excited for this new season to begin and hope CBS realizes what a commodity they still have after all these years with Survivor.

    • Mark

      You’re absolutely right that Survivor must be watched live, and that its loyal fans will follow it anywhere. Hell, if CBS moved it to Wednesdays at 4:00 A.M. you can bet I’d be going to bed early in the evening and setting my alarm for 3:55.

      • ceebee

        Count me in!

      • steve

        It makes no difference whether you watch it live or recorded. You will see exactly the same thing either way. If you like Thursdays, just record it on Wednesday and wait until 8:00 PM Thursday to watch it. I guarantee that you will not see anything different. :-)

    • Richard

      I agree! Survivor is the only show that I circle the date for well in advance.

    • keemar

      I agree – Survivor is strong enough to do well where ever it might be in the schedule. For me, a cheapskate would completely lost CBS in the digital conversion, I have yet to miss an episode online. As the next season approaches, I find the date online and add it to me Outlook calendar. The only bummer is I have to wait an extra day.

  • Eric

    Actually for me no Probst=no Survivor unless Stephenie Lagrossa hosts. She’s the only replacement candidate that would work.

    • Alvisor

      I second that!

    • Mark

      You’re right that Survivor simply would not be the same without Jeff (note to CBS executives: watch how badly American Idol does next season without Simon, then imagine a hundred times worse for Survivor without Jeff). But the only other possible replacement would be Dalton. And don’t think Jeff doesn’t know it. That’s why he always gets a bit snippy in their interviews – he knows he’s looking his future sucessor, and it reminds him that no one ever has one hundred per cent job security.

      • CV

        I’ve also watched all seasons, never missed an episode (except I did close my eyes the first time they ate bugs…then I got used to it lol)…and I would follow the show to any day/any time slot.

        I also think Jeff is integral to the success of Survivor and I look forward to his interaction as much as I do the Survivors. If, for any reason, Jeff chose not to go forward with his hosting duties … I would hope the producers would consider Boston Rob.

    • darclyte

      I think Colby would make for a good host. He has experience as both an actor, a host, and of course a competitor on Survivor. There are a few other former contestants who would be good, but I don’t know if Stephenie would make a good host.

      • Mark

        I would have agreed with you, darclye, until last season’s “Heroes Versus Villians”. After his woeful performances in all the challenges and lack of spirit in the game, I can’t help but wonder if he’s lost his enthusiasam for Survivor.

      • notluvin

        Colby hosted a show on the History Channel called Top Shot, I could tell he picked up a few hosting hints from Jeff and learned alot from him, he was very much like Jeff on that show

      • Mic

        Colby’s a wet blanket. I’d fall asleep during his speeches.

    • Cindy

      Rob Cesterinino would also be a good host, as would Boston Rob Mariano.

      • michelle

        Boston Rob would absolutley ruin it. never watch survivor again if he hosted the show!

  • Ellen

    What else can be said after Wizard62’s comments. They are right-on in every detail. Jeff IS Survivor. Without Jeff Probst, Survivor might as well be cancelled because it wouldn’t be worth watching. I anxiously await each and every episode of Survivor…tape it and watch it again…and Jeff is the biggest part of why I love this program. As for the finals, it should definitely just be the Final Two.

    • Teresa

      I agree completely!! I absolutely LOVE watching Survivor! Haven’t missed an episode ever! But would just not be the same show without Jeff…

  • LibbyP

    I much prefer a final two as well. Final threes feel like the producers want to ensure some voting drama (like throwing a Ross Perot in the mix – upsets the voting numbers). I’ll say it again, I much prefer a final two.

    • Daniel

      Has a final three ever been exciting? I’ve watched every season and whenever they do a final three the “third wheel” always gets no votes b/c everybody (contestants and audience) knows that person doesn’t deserve to be there! I’d love to see a final three where each contestant actually gets votes to make some excitement, but it hasn’t happened yet.

      • Cat

        In China, it was a 4-2-1 vote. Todd got 4, Courtney 2, and Amanda got 1.

      • victor

        Um… China?

  • Mark

    Let’s face it, the only reason Jeff was hedging his bets these last few years was because there was a very real chance he could get Larry King’s job when that host retired (or kicked off). Now that that issue has been settled, I think Jeff will be happy to keep the best job on TV for many more years to come.

    • Mon

      I remember for a while there WAS a lot of talk about Jeff maybe getting King’s job. I guess they decided for grumpy englishman instead of cute dimpled all american fun guy.

    • Jersey Jeff

      I think he is waiting for Regis to retire. Kelly and Jeff have a great chemistry.

    • Mark

      Jeff Probst – the great vulture of aging talk show hosts!

      • John

        Watch out, Barbara Walters.

  • Gink

    Ugh, hate final three.

    • Mon

      I concur.

  • Summer Girl

    There should be a final 2… not a final 3.

  • t,t

    does ANYONE like final 3?
    i mean we dont get the whole final challenge where the winner picks who he takes to the finals and then the jury get a huge chance to vote for who they want its like pick a player ANY player
    also final 2 is ALWAYS more drama!

    • Lee

      I think final 3’s could really work if it WAS a battle, like Jeff was talking about. Unfortunately, that’s never the case.

  • Jethro

    Having the final 3 has proven to be a waste. The third final person never gets a vote so to have him/her sit there, is a waste of time. Going back to final 2 allows the ousted contestants be more vicious in their final remarks, better TV for me.

    I personally don’t care if Jeff leaves or not, really anyone [Ryan S, Carnie W, Jeff Woolery, Wink Martindale, Bob Barker] can do that job.

    • bleh

      20 minutes in the tropical sun and Bob Barker would look like a cremated monkey

  • Bellaskye

    Loooove the interviews with Jeff!! @Jeff you keep hosting and i will keep watching:D Wednesday, Thrusday, Saturday.. Monday.. no matter when you are on, we will be watching Survior!! :D

  • Bellaskye

    eep! *Survivor :D sorry for the typo:(

  • CiCi217

    after a decade of doing this show and making countless $millions, you can’t blame the guy if he wanted to try something different. And its obvious his name plate has already been made to replace Regis’ on that dressing room door.

    • Mark

      No one could begrudge Jeff for wanting a change, of course. But the bottom line is this – at heart, Jeff is an outdoors man. I honestly think the novelty of sitting behind a desk would wear off quickly for him, and it wouldn’t be long until he craved being back outside in pouring rain with blustering winds pounding his face. And I’m afraid the guests he’d be interviewing on Regis and Kelly might not share that enthusiasm.

  • jody

    I just excited for a Survivor w/out Russell Hantz! Not a huge Jeff fan but LOVE Survivor!

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