Jeff Probst tours Samoa’s Tribal Council set, which includes a human femur

One of the most impressive parts about what Survivor‘s crew constructs on location is the Tribal Council set, which has more detail than you’ll ever see on TV. This year’s set is no exception: it’s modeled on a Samoan fale, or meeting house, and includes a lot of craftsmanship by locals, from the posts carved by students to the floor mats woven by the wives of laborers who built the set.

This CBS.com video, directed by my set visit friend and colleague Patrick Kendall, is in the style of Dharma Initiative orientation video from Lost, and Jeff Probst does some great over-the-top acting, which he did with zero prep and completely on the fly immediately following a long day that included the first Tribal Council. Probst deserves that Emmy:

In this Tribal Council tour from TV Guide Channel’s Survivor Samoa preview, Probst focuses a more on the specific details (like its shape) and craftsmanship that went into its construction (like the hand-carved posts and stumps, and hand-woven mats on the floor). He also mentions some great details, like the 6,000 pieces of thatch on the roof and the fact that one of the 25 tons of rock has a human femur attached to it.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.