Probst on Redemption Island: “I like the losers bracket”; “I like it that Rupert and Colton can stay in the game longer”

One of the many, many, many twists on the upcoming season of Survivor Blood vs. Water is the return of Redemption Island, which I think it’s fair to say isn’t exactly loved by everyone. But Jeff Probst likes it, because he likes giving losers more chances to win.

Asked by EW’s Dalton Ross about its return, Probst said, “I like Redemption Island. As a kid that grew up playing baseball, I like the losers bracket. I like the fact that you can lose on Saturday but still be playing on Sunday and have a shot to get back into the championship. I just like that format. … But for people who say it tarnishes the game, I say, ‘Says you!'”

That mature response aside, Probst also said, “What I like about Redemption Island most is that it keeps good characters in the game longer,” he also said, citing Ozzy, of course. After saying “I like that story,” he said, “I like it that Rupert and Colton can stay in the game longer if they’re voted out.”

And there is the problem. Not only did Probst bring back the ugliness that was Colton, but he wants to keep him around as long as possible to generate as much “story” as possible, fundamentals of the game be damned.

Earlier in the interview, Probst also said, “First of all, to be clear, the fact that I like something doesn’t mean I think it’s the end all be all. It just means my personal opinion.”

But that’s not true: Probst is not just a host, but the showrunner, the person responsible for all that is Survivor. And he now thinks like a showrunner instead of a host, and for me that’s problematic because of what he values: drama and “story,” not game play that yields good drama.

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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.