Lisa Whelchel co-hosting Jeff Probst’s daytime talk show

Although Survivor Philippines is over, Lisa Whelchel and Jeff Probst will still be on screen together, as she is joining him as co-host of his syndicated, struggling daytime talk show. Her first episodes will air in January, and are apparently functioning as a test to see if she’ll stay on permanently.

The Christian Post reports that “Whelchel will return to the small screen and co-host ‘The Jeff Probst Show.’ She developed a friendship with the man who also hosts “Survivor” and is excited to be on-air again.”

Lisa told the paper, “When I applied for ‘Survivor,’ they asked, ‘Why do you want to do it?’ I love ‘Survivor’ and I love Jeff Probst. I got to be on ‘Survivor,’ and now I get to guest host with him. I have thought about doing a talk show. My heart is in comedy, so I’d rather do a sitcom. At the same time, I have thought about doing a talk show, and I can’t imagine it being more fun than doing it with somebody like Jeff.”

Lisa told EW that she’s co-hosting “for the next couple of weeks. … We’re going to try out a little cohosting and see how that works so I’m gong to try a handful of shows with him this week that will air in January. We really did have some good back and forth at Tribal Council. It felt right, and it was fun and easy and hopefully we can bring that to his talk show too.”

Last week, Probst appeared on Larry King’s Hulu show and discussed his daytime talk show, admitting that cancellation is “definitely a possibility” because “at the rate we’re going, we’ve gotta get a bigger rating.” He also said, “I don’t know if I’ll give it up or if it’ll be given up for me.”

This is a smart move. I’m not sure she’ll change his “men are from Mars” shtick, but since women are the primary demographic for daytime talk shows, I think it could use a little bit less of a dude perspective.

Also, obviously, this move capitalizes on Lisa’s popularity–including among people like me who were surprised that Blair Warner, advocate of hot saucing children, proved to be more complex and interesting, and, better, capable of personal growth. We’ll see if she can help Probst’s talk show grow, too.

Here’s her appearance on the show from late October:

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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, 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.