Jeff Probst defends Survivor Game Changers’ outlandish idol count

Robert Voets/CBS
Robert Voets/CBS /

Despite one of the game’s most talented players getting eliminated without a single vote, Jeff Probst loved Survivor Game Changers’ idol chaos.

Survivor is like pizza. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. That, at least, encapsulates my appreciation for Survivor Game Changers; a season primed for so many big moves, daring challenge runs, twists and surprises that it’s hard to keep a level footing. That’s what Jeff Probst had in mind when he brought 18 of the biggest game-players (plus Hali and Sierra) together to Fiji in order to compete.

However, one thing Probst did not take into account was that people would hold onto their advantages until a ton could be played at once, resulting in Cirie Fields being eliminated at Final 6 without a single vote registered in her name. It was the first time that’s happened in Survivor, prompting fans to question whether or not there were too many idols in the game at once.

Unsurprisingly, Jeff Probst defended that choice in a recent Entertainment Weekly segment in preparation of Survivor Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, showing that the game isn’t going to walk things back just because one of the game’s best players and fan favorites got absolutely screwed by them.

While production does track how many idols or safeties are out there to ensure at least somebody can go home at each Tribal, they can’t account for when they are used. Jeff recalls being hopeful there would be a Tribal Council where things pop off, saying, “My one big hope was, there will be a night where there is absolute chaos.”

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He goes on to say, “I thought that was fantastic. That was the poster. If you’re building a poster for the movie Survivor: Game Changers, you want Reservoir Dogs. You want all guns pointed in the last episode. That was the Survivor gods looking down at us saying, ‘We’re going to reward you with another gift.’”

The fact that Cirie Fields, someone who has come tantalizingly close to winning the game three times, gets eliminated simply because she doesn’t have an idol is an absolute travesty, in my mind. Sure, she could have found an idol for herself earlier in the game, but that still leaves the possibility of someone else’s game getting blown up purely due to production making ~83% of the cast safe.

It goes so much against the nature of Survivor; outwit, outplay, outlast. Cirie played as perfect a game as she could (besides that vote steal flop), going so far as to have an outside chance at being the third player ever to play the Perfect Game, had she made it to the end. She got robbed of that chance with no votes against her, yet Jeff Probst and production sees it as a “reward?” As “another gift?”

Next: Survivor Game Changers: Ranking All 33 Previous Seasons

Hopefully, Survivor Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers doesn’t give any of their players yet another unwinnable situation. It’s brutal for that to happen on your fourth time out, but imagine if you go home and never get the chance to play again?