Jeff Probst on a NaOnka return, Survivor Nicaragua (“not one of our greatest seasons”)

Jeff Probst basically tried to tell tribe members how to vote on Survivor Nicaragua this week, which is all the evidence even a casual viewer needs as proof that this season isn’t going to rank among the best ever. But Jeff is always honest, and though he hedges a bit, he basically admits this season sucks–which we could have guessed since he didn’t spend pre-season interviews talking about how great this season would be.

“You can’t judge a season until it’s over because if it ends well, then that will make a big difference. I’m pretty honest, it’s not one of our greatest seasons and I don’t know how much of that is based on the fact we just came off ‘Heroes vs. Villains.’ The drop might have inevitable because we just left 20 of the greatest people to ever play,” Jeff told the New York Post.

That, and they actually were playing. While Jeff answers questions about who could win with that annoying maybe-this, maybe-that kind of answer that’s super-frustrating–because he already knows who wins!–he also expresses his frustration with the way the game is usually played at the end. “When you’re looking at the people in a final, you want them to stand up and say, ‘listen dumb asses, you’re sitting over there because of me — that’s why you write my name down. Not because you like me, or because I need the money. You vote for me because I earned it.’ But no one ever says that, they always say, ‘thank you for doing this with me, I’m sorry if I hurt any of you.'”

That’s always fascinating to me, as those who are honest at Tribal and don’t tell the jury what the jury wants to hear usually don’t get votes. Speaking of people who wouldn’t get votes, Jeff also promises NaOnka will never return, although she would have been the next Russell Hantz had she not quit. “From our point of view, I don’t know how we could ever bring back a quitter,” he said. “She’s that good of a character, we could have used her several times.”

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.

Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.