Survivor host Jeff Probst has revealed if producers are considering sequestering jury members individually in the future to avoid groupthink and landslide votes when choosing a season’s winner.
“Part of the jury’s job is to form an individual opinion about who they think played the best game,” Jeff toldEntertainment Weekly in a recent interview.
“But like any jury, the deliberation between jury members is part of the process in forming your own opinion.”
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On every season of Survivor, the castaways who get voted out of the game come together in the end to vote for the winner — the person they believe outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the other players and is worthy of the $1 million grand prize.
While the early days of Survivor often featured split decisions at the Final Tribal Council sessions, the new era of Survivor — beginning with Season 41 — have featured landslide 7-1-0 votes at the Final 3 Tribal Council.
Erika Casupanan, Maryanne Oketch, and Mike Gabler’s comfortable wins in the last three seasons have had fans wondering if jury members were swayed and heavily influenced by their peers at Ponderosa, where voted-out castaways share knowledge and discuss their opinions.
But splitting up the jury at or around Ponderosa would naturally increase costs for production and complicate logistics.
“It’s a great observation and you’re right, sequestering the jury is simply not logistically realistic,” Jeff said. “But you bring up an interesting question, and that is: Does it really matter?”
Jeff explained that even if a jury isn’t able to talk to one another prior to the Final Tribal Council, they’d have that chance to speak their minds and influence each other during jury questioning with the Final 3 castaways.
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Jeff essentially believes the jury would find its way around a gag order.
“That’s a long-winded way of saying I think the same thing would end up happening during the Final Tribal Council anyway,” Jeff reasoned.
“And I know from talking to jury members, a surprising number of them come into Final Tribal with an open mind. So maybe the last three winners have just been a very clear consensus by the jury.”
Jeff insisted “the real burden” falls on the Final 3 to be convincing, eloquent, and tactful.
“And as we’ve seen in years past, some players are just better than others at making their case about why they deserve the title of Sole Survivor and the million dollars that goes with it!” Jeff noted.
Survivor will be returning with supersized episodes on CBS this fall.
CBS recently announced Survivor’s 45th season will air as 90-minute episodes beginning at 8PM ET/PT on Wednesday nights in Fall 2023. Each broadcast will be followed by new The Amazing Race episodes.
The cast and premiere of Survivor’s next season will be announced at a later date.
Survivor’s currently-airing 44th season is down to its Final 5 castaways ahead of its finale on Wednesday, March 24.
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The remaining castaways on Survivor 44 are Carolyn Wiger, Carson Garrett, Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, Lauren Harpe, and Yamil “Yam Yam” Arocho.
About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.