Survivor has been an incredibly popular series for nearly 20 years and 40 seasons by this point in 2020, so it has fans of all ages, professions, and levels of fame. Jimmy Fallon, formerly of Saturday Night Live and of course now host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, is a Survivor superfan, and having Survivor host Jeff Probst's email address has resulted in some pitches for the show. One of those ideas ended up making it to Survivor for Season 39, a.k.a. Island of the Idols.
Jeff Probst (who hates Survivor spoilers) dropped by The Tonight Show to chat with Jimmy Fallon and hype Survivor Season 40, and in the process outed Fallon for sending all kinds of wild ideas for consideration. According to Probst, emails from Fallon could come as late as 3:30 a.m.! Fallon looked a little embarrassed while he laughed, but Probst was all enthusiasm as he brought out a specific email that actually pitched a good idea. Here's how he put it:
But this one, this is an email, a real email from 2018. It says, subject, 'Loving the new season, here's two dumb ideas.' And the first one's this Tribal Bible. It's some journal. Not the best... But the next one was called the Invisibility Box. Then you say, 'during Tribal, somebody can sit in like they're in an outhouse and hear everything that's being said, but nobody can tell they're there.' That's 2018. I go to location, Tribal's already being built. I'm looking around, 'How can we do this idea?' Doesn't work. A year later, March 18, 2019, I send you a photo. So that is the Invisibility Box that we designed the entire Tribal around your idea and we used it on the show.
On the one hand, Jimmy Fallon's idea for the Tribal Bible didn't fly with Jeff Probst, although it did have the benefit of rhyming. On the other hand, the Invisibility Box was a hit was a hit with the longtime Survivor host!
As viewers of Survivor: Island of the Idols will remember, former Survivor champs Sandra Diaz-Twine and Rob Mariano returned to the show to act as mentors to the Season 39 castaways, and this sometimes involved secretly watching Tribal from an Invisibility Box, though it wasn't given that name.
Kudos to Jimmy Fallon for pitching an idea that impressed Jeff Probst so much that it became a key part of Season 39. If only we all had the option to pitch ideas at the people who run our favorite shows!
Jeff Probst (who was recently accused of duping original Survivor winner Richard Hatch) went on to rave about how excited he was to include a Jimmy Fallon idea on Survivor, saying this:
It was super cool... We put bamboo so nobody could see in. And the best part was, we have a crew of 400, from all over the world, and the best part was I was able to say, 'Check it out. Jimmy Fallon sent us this idea.' I'm showing them my phone. 'For real! Jimmy sent this!'
Not too many people can go to work and show off proof that Jimmy Fallon wanted to help out! Of course, Jeff Probst made it clear that there have been a lot of pitches from Fallon that didn't make it into Survivor (although I for one am curious about the Tribal Bible). Still, the duo both looked pretty excited.
Take a look at Jeff Probst sharing Jimmy Fallon's email and more during his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon:
See Jeff Probst back in action in Survivor mode when Season 40, a.k.a. Winners at War, premieres Wednesday, February 12 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Jimmy Fallon may be watching too, even if he can't count on any more of his ideas making it into the show.