Survivor host Jeff Probst teases major change to show’s format ahead of season premiere

Longtime Survivor host Jeff Probst has addressed the tonal shift in the recent seasons of the popular game show.

Before the hit CBS series was forced to take a pause in 2020 due to the pandemic, it was common for certain contestants to be shown acting rude on camera – commonly known as a “villain edit” by fans.

However, since its return in December 2021 with season 40, several viewers have noticed that the show has appeared to lack obvious villains.

Speaking to two-time Survivor contestant Rob Cesternino on a recent episode of Rob Has a Podcast about the show’s evolution, Probst revealed that this was a deliberate decision.

Recalling 2020 as a year of “culture change” with the Black Lives Matter Movement and the global lockdown, Probst said that he wanted the series to return with reimagined positivity.

“By merely changing the type of twists we put into the game, we can create negativity. It’s a manipulation. What’s the conceit of the show?” he said.

Jeff Probst on ‘Survivor 46’ (CBS)
Jeff Probst on ‘Survivor 46’ (CBS)

“And, you’re right, I’m not interested in that anymore. And I think it’s a direct reflection, not only of where the show was, but of how it needed to evolve.

“In the hands of somebody else, I can tell you, for sure, there would be more villains, more negativity, more yelling at each other,” Probst continued. “It’s not going to happen when I’m part of the show. I’m just not interested in it.”

He did, however, confirm that the forthcoming 46th season is “one of the most vicious seasons ever”, teasing that the 18 castaways of Survivor 46 are not afraid of confrontation.

“I am bringing back my edge,” Probst also added. “I’m aware that I got a little soft. And so I am going to put a knife in the bag of rice every so often so I can still find that part of me.”

The upcoming season will return to the island of Fiji, where contestants will be divided into three tribes of six.

“[They] will endure a faster, more intense season from the moment they step foot on the beach”, a press release states.

Survivor 46 will debut with two, two-hour episodes airing on Wednesday 28 February and Wednesday 6 March, beginning at 8pm ET/PT on CBS. 90-minute episodes will air weekly after that.