Jeff Probst on contestants who leak, the origin of “the tribe has spoken,” and much more

In late 2012, Jeff Probst did an extensive interview for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Archive of American Television series. Though it’s somewhat old, it’s still worth watching. It covers everything from Probst’s early career to early Survivor to his Emmy hosting gig and win.

The whole conversation is almost three hours long and is in three parts: 1, 2, and 3.

There’s so much here, but as examples of the range of things he discusses, Probst admits to casting certain types of contestants, talks about where he got “the tribe has spoken from,” describes how the show changed post-9/11 (including scrapping of plans to shoot in Jordan), and details the show’s lighting (how the color palette shifts to blues after someone is voted out, and how crew added lights to the fireplace after season one so the cast would be more visible).

Probst also talks extensively about leaks, which he says only come from cast members: “contestants leak all the time.” He says that he tells the cast at the end of the season, “We’ve invested a lot–millions and millions of dollars in this season of Survivor. All these people here, and all these people you’ve seen all year, this is how we make our living. … When you have the information that somebody else doesn’t have, you have power, and that’s the beauty. But here’s the thing: you lose your power the second you tell them, they have the power and now they tell the neighbor. … If you can resist that early temptation to be in charge and gossip, you’ll be better off.”

Here are highlights from Probst’s conversation:

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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.