‘Survivor’ is an appealing and dramatic social experiment: Jeff Probst


Survivor and Jeff Probst make it look like that they are a match made in heaven since they first began in the year 2000. The 35th season of the reality show, Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers, just premiered in the US and to take a leaf out of Probst’s own book, the reality show has become a story of ’35 seasons, numerous people, 1 Survivor — Probst!’

Probst and his reality show became one of the pioneers changing the shape of TV as we know it. Many of Survivor’s tacts, challenges, and even casting strategies inspired other reality show contests that came after them. In an interview with DNA, Jeff Probst, the man who has seen it all from the beginning talks about the challenges and what still keeps the audience hooked to the show. Excerpts:

After 35 seasons, what do you find more difficult to handle, the contestants or the weather conditions?

That’s a really interesting question because the weather is changing so much. The truth is neither have been a truly serious issue but to the point of your question — definitely the contestants. If we cast the show correctly, we have a group of Type A personalities who push the envelope every step of the way. I love it!

What do you think keeps the interest of the audience alive after all these years?

The Survivor format is a really good one. You take a group of strangers and force them to live together while voting each other out. With challenges and a million dollar prize, it’s a really appealing and dramatic social experiment.

How much input do you have when it comes to designing a season or a challenge on micro-level?

As the showrunner, I am ultimately responsible for all elements of the show. But we have a Challenge department that creates our challenges. My input varies from Challenge to Challenge, but I think of us as more of a team and so all the ideas tend to blend together. The only thing that matters is that the result is a great Challenge.

How does it feel to be a pioneer when it comes to shaping the reality TV as we know it?

Those are big words but I do understand the notion that Survivor ushered in a new kind of television. As more years go by, I become more comfortable realising I am a part of that and it feels great.

What should the Indian audience take away from the show?

Well, maybe it’s the same thing that American audiences take away, that the people who can get along with others tend to do better in life.

Survivor season 34 airs every Monday to Friday at 9 PM on AXN

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