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Survivor Host Jeff Probst Reveals Which Of The New Twists Are Sticking Around Next TV Season

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(Image credit: CBS)

With the back-to-back filmed seasons of 41 and 42, Survivor has introduced a bevy of brand-new concepts to the game. There’s the Shot in the Dark twist, which allows players to gamble for immunity during tribal council. There’s the prisoner’s dilemma – another kind of gamble for an extra vote advantage. Beware bundles, three-way tribal idols, amulets, the Do-or-Die twist, and on and on. Now, executive producer and host Jeff Probst is revealing which of those survived the trial-and-error phase and will feature in the next TV season.

As it stands, we’re only hours away from the finale episode for Season 42, and fans are likely already a bit disappointed about the outcome – what with their/our perceived frontrunner meeting the wrong end of a blindside recently. But there are always future seasons to bet on the wrong horse! Survivor 43 contestants might in fact have an easier time than their forebears, considering that they’re now fully aware of how advantage-crazy the show has become. And according to Jeff Probst, most of what they’ve seen is sticking around in the future. He said to Entertainment Weekly:

Here's a big hint to future players: When we say this is a new era of the game, we mean it. We are establishing new markers. So things like small tribes, earn the merge, no food, risk/reward dilemmas, Shot In The Dark, are here to stay. Other specific twists will come and go depending on the season.

If I’m reading between the lines here, though, it sounds like the new and notoriously disliked hourglass twist might get phased out. As viewers will remember, the twist was able to “turn back time” and take away a team’s safety at tribal and give it to the losing team. It’s a bold maneuver that helped Erika Casupanan win in Season 41 but also caused an un-aired argument between Probst and contestants over fairness.

Yet life isn’t always fair in the game, right? Jeff Probst – who reportedly helps show participants in his own way behind the scenes – told the outlet that the impetus of these new additions was to play around with expectations that players have after watching the show for nearly two decades. He reminisced how, going from Seasons 1 to 2, contestants knew they didn’t need to eat rats to survive because they knew there would eventually be food rewards. But he says in this “new era,” there will always be “a new series of problems to solve,” adding:

The next group of players now has a bit of insight into this new version of Survivor. They're already thinking about when and how to best use a Shot In The Dark, or what they might do if they are presented with a risk/reward scenario? Or how do you keep an advantage a secret with a game design that is so public? We don't want everything to be a surprise. Instead, we're building a new foundation of game elements and leaving it to the players to figure out how best to play.

If there’s any kind of pattern taking form so far, it seems that these new twists do allow some people to endure longer than what is considered normal, due to opponents fearing an upset or a blindside. I mean, Xander Hastings got into the Final 3 in 41 with his very known three-tribe immunity idol, only to not win like fans expected. Mike Turner has the same idol going into the finale of Survivor 42 tonight with the Final 5. (Lindsay Dolashewich and Maryanne Oketch had their own kinds of idol protection going in as well.) However, conversely, others haven’t fared so well with these advantages being so obvious to the group at large, such as with Shan Smith and Drea Wheeler.

We’ll have to see how it all shakes out a little more conclusively tonight in the Survivor 42 finale. But I have some ideas at least about which of the remaining contenders is most likely to win the $1 million and title of Sole Survivor. Tune into the 3-hour special on CBS at 8 p.m. EST live or with a Paramount+ subscription.

Lauren Vanderveen
Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.