Jeff Probst admits American Idol’s threat to Survivor, says Redemption Island in “top 5″

Survivor host Jeff Probst defended the 22nd season’s returning player twist and insisted this will be one of the show’s “top 5″ seasons ever, after acknowledging the threat it faces from American Idol. Jeff also responded to criticism of his earlier comment that anyone who doesn’t like Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano’s return is Jeff addressed fans on Twitter and wrote, “Lots of love/hate about Rob/Russell.I get it,but have faith. Have I mislead you before?:) Great cast, great twist, great season. Top 5.”

In interviews when the cast was announced, Probst said, “If you’ve had too much of Russell, I dare say you’re not really a Survivor fan.” He echoed that on Twitter, telling someone, “If you’re truly a fan, then I’m gonna tell you this… watch. Have some faith that I’m steering you right and watch.”

But when someone called Jeff out on those comments, Jeff responded twice, telling that person to “unlock that sense of humor” and saying he was “just playing around” and “giving you a hard time.”

Why is Jeff so aggressively promoting the show? He admitted yesterday that Fox’s American Idol is a threat to CBS’ Survivor, as they’ll air opposite each other starting Feb. 16: “We are up against American Idol. We need major fan support. I promise you if you invest in this season you will love it.”

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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, 37, 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.