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More advantages for Survivor’s alpha males, plus other changes and Probst’s observations

Jeff Probst on the premiere of Survivor Ghost Island. (Photo by Robert Voets/CBS)

When CBS officially announced Survivor Ghost Island’s cast a few weeks ago, they also lifted the embargo on stories about the show reported on location, and that includes interviews with host and executive producer Jeff Probst.

The Survivor press triumvirate, XFinity’s Gordon Holmes, THR’s Josh Wigler, and EW’s Dalton Ross, each published an interview with Probst.

Several things stood out to me in their pieces, from major changes in the game—Jeff Probst is once again changing the game to benefit his beloved alpha males—to telling observations. I’ve gathered those here, followed by links to the story they come from for further reading.

Changes for Survivor Ghost Island

  1. Last season’s final four twist was designed just to keep alpha males in (it worked), but Probst is still upset that “it’s been easy to get rid of a provider like an Ozzy or a Malcolm or a Culpepper.” So he’s changed the game again in order to benefit those providers—and it’s worth noting that his examples are all men. Tribes will receive half the ration of rice they received before, so just one quarter of a cup per person, per day. (Xfinity)
  2. The tribes will learn of this change via this note on the rice container. (Instagram)
  3. The final four twist from last season remains, but the Ghost Island cast was told about it in advance by production, unlike the Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers cast. That keeps viewers and the cast at the same level of knowledge about changes to the game. (EW)
  4. There’s a new accountability chart and pen at each camp so the tribe can keep track of who does which chores. That’s also another way for Probst to make sure the tribes are reminded of the things he values. (Instagram)
  5. The season starts with Probst again forcing tribes to choose a leader, who will potentially be an immediate target and story point based on their role during a complicated opening challenge. Here’s Wigler’s description of that challenge:

    “The leader then picks one athlete and one person they deem the smartest on their tribe to represent the tribe in a challenge, involving an obstacle course and a table puzzle. The winning tribe receives a massive shelter building kit. The losing tribe loses their fishing gear, a crucial setback given the food situation this season. … However, there’s a twist: An hourglass is running throughout the puzzle portion of the challenge. The leader has access to a lever, which is connected to the table puzzle. The leader can choose to pull the lever, destroy the puzzle and forfeit the challenge in order to keep their fishing gear, but can only make this decision while the hourglass is still active. If they forfeit, the winning tribe will still get the shelter building kit, as well as an added bonus: flint for fire, and a healthy supply of eggs.” (Hollywood Reporter)

  6. The first person to go to Ghost Island, Wigler reports, “will be sent there after the first immunity challenge, as selected by the winning tribe, and therefore safe from the first Tribal Council.” (Hollywood Reporter)
  7. There are 82 advantage artifacts on Ghost Island; Probst wouldn’t tell Holmes what they were—and then CBS gave EW the full list. Not all of the 82 will be in play, however. (EW)
  8. Ghost Island will hold another kind of twist. There is “something lurking at the summit of Ghost Island, though it has yet to manifest at this nascent stage of the season,” Josh Wigler reported. Production designer Dax Pointon told him, “There’s mystery and gameplays and twists that you have no idea about yet — and the contestants don’t know, either.” (Hollywood Reporter)

Jeff Probst’s observations