‘Survivor’ host Jeff Probst explains why castaways are allowed to cheat in challenges

Reality

Survivor host Jeff Probst has revealed why castaways are allowed to cheat in Immunity Challenges, which viewers saw on the latest Season 44 episode when two tribes attempted to copy the winning block puzzle.

On Survivor’s March 15 episode, the Ratu Tribe won the Immunity Challenge by stacking four giant blocks — featuring a different color on each side — one on top of the other so that no color repeated itself on either side.

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Once Ratu got the job done, the Soka and Tika tribes attempted to copy the end result, and in the end, Tika accomplished the task faster and avoided a trip to Tribal Council.

On the latest episode of “On Fire With Jeff Probst,” the podcast’s producer Jay Wolff asked Jeff, “During this Immunity Challenge, there was a little bit of cheating, and a lot of people have asked: Why don’t you put up puzzle dividers between the tribes?”

Jeff responded, “Well, we do. We sometimes put up blinders. Sometimes we’ll give you a cloth to cover your answer from the other tribe. And sometimes we don’t.”

“Lots of time it’s logistical — it’s just too big [to cover] and you can’t pull it off,” the show’s longtime host continued.

“But sometimes it’s also creative. And as you saw last season early on, two tribes ganged up on one tribe and they were helping them. They were literally yelling, ‘Put that piece here, put that piece there!'”

Jeff therefore explained the biggest reason why producers don’t enforce a no-cheating rule is so the castaways have a limitless approach to how they play the game, allowing them to manage or navigate situations exactly as they want to.

“The big guiding philosophy is we try to have as few rules as possible on Survivor,” Jeff explained.

“We try to let them create their own society. And I know that sounds heady, but that is how we look at it. So, in this world, if you’re going to cheat, you might get away with it, there might be payback, somebody might notice and want to align with you because you cheated.”

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Jeff pointed out that on Survivor, it’s the players’ “world,” adding, “What do you want to do with it?”

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While the opportunity to cheat will probably remain on Survivor, Jeff revealed producers may look into modifying its rules on whether a player can sit out of back-to-back challenges — a Reward followed by an Immunity Challenge — in a single episode.

“In the old days of Survivor, we used to have two challenges in most episodes, back before we had twists and advantages,” Jeff shared of the former 39-day game.

“The rule was: You can’t sit out in back-to-back challenges. And what that meant was if you sit out of the Reward Challenge, you must participate in the Immunity Challenge. And that was designed to force the tribe figure out: Where do you want your weak player? In the Reward, where you might get food, or in the Immunity, where you might get protection?”

In this newer era of Survivor, the game is more compact and grueling within its fast-paced, 26-day structure.

“We sometimes only have one challenge,” Jeff elaborated of the show’s new format, “so that rule doesn’t really have the same bite, and therefore [Claire Rafson] was able to sit out of several challenges.”

“And I do think it’s something that we do need to put on our whiteboard… and we need to examine if maybe we just change that,” Jeff said. “Because it does need to be updated. [Producers are] modifying, adapting, updating all the time!”

Survivor’s latest episode ended with the Soka Tribe voting out Claire in a unanimous 4-0 vote after she played her “Shot in the Dark” and was deemed “Not Safe” at Tribal Council on Night 7 of the game.

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Jeff recently teased that Season 44 of Survivor is going to be “electric.”

“The cast of Survivor 44 just felt electric from the start. There was a sense of humor and unpredictability from the minute they climbed out of their boats and onto the sand,” Jeff told TV Insider ahead of the series’ March 1 premiere on CBS.

Jeff shared how the cast is comprised of “sophisticated Survivor players,” even though they’ve never actually played the game before.

“You will see [that] throughout the season. I hope and believe Survivor fans will have a fun time with this group!” Jeff said.

The host elaborated in a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, “This group will be reminded very quickly that Survivor can get you in a number of ways, and that making it to the Final 3 requires a lot more than just a good social game.”

Jeff insisted the Season 44 cast “definitely came to play” the game in Fiji.

“Here’s the truth about Survivor — great players make for great seasons. It’s really that simple. I think we got it right this time!” Jeff gushed to EW.

Jeff also told The Associated Press that this season is “intoxicating,” and he predicted ahead of the premiere that fans would “be hooked” after watching the first two episodes.

RELATED LINK: ‘SURVIVOR’ COUPLES NOW: WHO’S STILL TOGETHER?! WHICH SHOWMANCES SPLIT UP? (PHOTOS) 

Survivor viewers are even witnessing the first showmance in seven seasons blossom!

About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.

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