One of the things that’s easy to forget or take for granted is how much detail and attention goes into everything you see on Survivor.
But it takes a lot of work and effort from a lot of people to pay attention to things that might never be seen on TV, or will only be seen for a brief moment.
In two new behind-the-scenes videos narrated by Jeff Probst, we see the construction of Survivor Redemption Island‘s Tribal Council and its first challenge.
The first behind-the-scenes video shows everything from the Tribal Council blueprints pre-construction to producers scouting the routes that contestants (and the Dream Team) will take walking in and out.
On my first set visit in Gabon, Tribal Council surprised me the most, because it’s literally a set, from the lights that simulate fire light to the actual fire, fueled by tanks of natural gas, and one that’s built to conceal all the cameras necessary to film the action.
The 18 construction workers who build it are just part of the 100 people who do everything from the set design to rehearsing and lighting the places where the contestants will actually sit.
The second video basically reveals what’s presumably the first immunity challenge, and shows the Dream Team rehearsing it.
Probst also practices how he’ll describe the challenge. It starts with a brief interview with my friend Mark Burnett and challenge genius John Kirhoffer (read more on how challenges are constructed and Kirhoffer’s role).
Producers tell the cast what to wear—and even buy their clothes! John Cochran's sweater vest? He never owned one; it was purchased for him by the production.
What kind of toilet facilities do Survivor cast members have? Do they get toilet paper? Is their water in the well drinkable, or do they have to boil it?
Russ Landau wrote the Survivor theme, "Ancient Voices," and changed it every season—and he told me why he stopped working on the show.
Jeff Probst quit as Survivor's host in 2009, but he obviously changed his mind—in part because he came back with new job responsibilities.
Lynne Spillman is responsible for finding some of TV's most iconic characters, starting with Rich, Rudy, Kelly, and Sue. But Jeff Probst recently fired her.
In the Survivor rules, contestants learn about everything from how much they'll be paid to what behavior is prohibited. See the exact document that contestants are given before the game begins.
Look at the actual Survivor contract: the waivers, agreements that cast members sign—and also the documents their family members have to sign, too.
Probst's iconic shirts used to be dyed, off-the-rack clothes, but not any more.
Among the many behind-the-scenes details Jeff Probst discussed in this podcast interview is why the show moved to Fiji instead of shifting to a new location every season.
When host Jeff Probst provides color commentary for challenges, he sometimes ends up saying things that sound like jokes—and they are.
The contestants vote however they want, but the producers arrange those votes in the most dramatic order possible.
The host of Survivor had previously been in “over 250 corporate videos” and was the “principle actor in over 150 commercials." Jimmy Fallon shared Probst's demo reel on his show, and the clips are amazing.