Jeff Probst “likes to figure out on his own what’s going on,” Mark Burnett says

As usual, the New York Times bats cleanup on a trend: this time, commenting on Jeff Probst’s evolution into the best reality host on television. While Anderson Cooper held that post during Survivor‘s early years, when Jeff was just finding his way, he’s now the clear leader.

Back then, the Times’ Claire Dederer points out, Jeff “was eager and freckly. He buddied up to the contestants. He smiled constantly. His voice was softer than it is now. Tribal council seemed actively to pain him. He wore shorts.” But eventually, Jeff “became what he is now: a methodical, meticulous interviewer, more police investigator than talk-show host.” And, most significantly, as a fan of the show, “he’s simultaneously haughty and fascinated.”

While the paper doesn’t ask Jeff about his job, it does talk to producer Mark Burnett, who says that Jeff’s Tribal Council interrogations usually aren’t based upon advance knowledge of what’s happened back in camp. “Jeff gets some information about what’s going on, but he doesn’t need to know much. He likes to figure out on his own what’s going on. Some tribal councils might last one-and-a-half to two hours while Jeff gets the talk to where he wants it to be. Jeff is very interested in people and things, and that comes across,” he said.

A Survivor Figures Out What to Do With Himself [New York Times]

Survivor San Juan Del Sur's dark cloud is lifted

John Rocker

In its third episode, Survivor San Juan Del Sur improved significantly as John Rocker faced off against an Amazing Race villain. But the Exile Island reward challenge remains a drag on the series.


Why Dick Donato left Big Brother 13

Dick Donato

The Big Brother villain known as "Evel Dick" has finally revealed why he left the show during its 13th season: he learned he was HIV positive.

Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.