Jeff Probst: Fire tokens to ‘usher in a new era of Survivor’

Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Though the Edge of Extinction twist is, thankfully, done away with, Jeff Probst says that fire tokens are here to stay beyond Survivor: Winners at War.

The timeline for Survivor is much different for production than it is for fans. While we’re gladly watching along with an exciting, but advantage-heavy, beginning of Winners at War, Jeff Probst likely knows who will be most of the 18-20 castaways set to compete in Survivor season 41 and will fly out to Fiji in about a month’s time to host 39 days’ worth of competition.

He won’t be at home to see what happens when the audience at home reactions positively or negatively to the trends of the show’s direction, especially when everyone and their mother has some sort of fire token, idol, advantage, power, or second chance to get back into the game. He’ll come back to the United States in time for the reunion and go back out within a week to film season 42.

That’s what makes me genuinely curious about Jeff Probst’s idea of how fire tokens will become integral to the future of Survivor. In an extended interview with Survivor: Island of the Idols castaway and IMDb editor and host Chelsea Walker, the longtime host and showrunner revealed that fire tokens would be there in part to “usher in a new era of Survivor.

Probst went on to describe how societies have always introduced the idea of bartering for goods and services with some sort of currency and that it’s what you do with your money that determines your Survivor game. “Money will become a much bigger component of the game,” Probst declared before answering Chelsea that fire tokens are here to stay while Edge of Extinction is gone for the time being.

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The thing about fire tokens as they stand in Survivor: Winners at War is that it makes no sense for any player to give up their one or two tokens for a tarp or advantage in a tribal situation if it’s possible for someone on the Edge of Extinction capable of selling them an idol or advantage they can personally use for themselves.

That begs the question; what do fire tokens look like outside of that component of gameplay? How much time of the edit will fire token discussion take, especially when idols and advantages are available outside of buying them from fire tokens? How much of Survivor is going to be predicated in finding trinkets and baubles, paid for in the blood of social gameplay?

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We still don’t know how well fire tokens work in Winners at War because we’ve only seen two episodes, and with the conceptualization of the next two seasons of the show basically wrapped up before Jeff Probst has a chance to see the feedback from the fans, it may become the most important aspect of the next year and a half of the show’s lifetime on television.