Survivor’s official podcast, previously known as On Fire with Jeff Probst, is returning for Survivor 45, but with some major changes.
What was On Fire with Jeff Probst is now On Fire: The Official Survivor Podcast, and it has new cover art to match.
The exciting part of this news—besides the removal of that hideous illustration of Jeff Probst from our podcast players—is that Survivor alum Rick Devens is joining as co-host.
You may remember Devens, as Probst calls his bro, as the person who should have won Survivor: Edge of Extinction, if it were not for, you know, the Edge of Extinction.
I think Devens is a great choice: Besides being a dynamic player, beloved by everyone from casuals to Sia, he was previously a broadcaster.
Jeff Probst told EW that when casting the podcast, “there was one player who was always everybody’s first choice, and that was Rick” because “He’s a fan-favorite, he’s a smart player, a good strategist, he’s hosted a podcast, and he was a journalist in his previous life. So he’s a good talker.”
Devens is joining the podcast’s producer, Jay Wolff, who you may remember from driving me absolutely insane with his insipid questions, and sometimes Probst.
No women, no people of color, no LGBTQ+ people, no single people. Clearly, CBS’s casting initiative does not apply to its podcast.
“People may question the sincerity, but I don’t pay attention to who’s left in the game in terms of age, gender, ethnicity,” Jeff Probst said on the podcast last season. Oh, I believe you, Jeff.
In a trailer for the new podcast season, Jeff Probst says “you’re getting the fan, the player, and the producer’s point of view. There is no other podcast doing this.” (If only there was no other podcast with three white guys talking to each other!)
Here’s me overreacting to a word again, but Probst’s language is telling: he says “the fan, the player, and the producer’s point of view.” Not a fan, a player, and a producer.
It’s suggesting that this somehow represents all perspectives on Survivor. I suppose it’s accurate to say “the producer’s point of view,” because Probst is in charge of the entire production, and it’s his way or no way. But to have all fans represented by Jay Wolff? Yeesh.
That’s not a one-off, either. Entertainment Weekly made the announcement about the podcast (of course it did), and Jeff Probst said this:
“Last season was sort of a masterclass in how we make the show. Now, we’re going to get into what can be the long run of the show, which is the fan point of view with Jay, the player point of view with Rick, and the producer point of view with me. Every week you’ll get a taste of all three of those perspectives.”
There is, of course, nothing wrong with white straight men (well, except for those who very broken). There are many lovely straight white men in the Survivor community, many of whom already podcast!
But for a network to limit its official podcast to an already very well-represented group is disappointing.
Devens, Wolff, and Probst will have their discussions in a new format.
EW’s Dalton Ross says this: “Devens and podcast producer Jay Wolff will discuss their take on each Survivor 45 episode — with Wolff offering the perspective a of a fan, and Devens providing his thoughts as a former player. Probst will then join the duo to offer input from the host and producer’s standpoint.”
That sounds like Probst won’t be present for the full discussion, but pop in to answer questions. If the second podcast season is anything like the first, his answers will sound like this, as so perfectly encapsulated by Reddit user UltraVodka777:
“I hear your criticisms, I get it, I understand. However, here’s why your opinion is incorrect and I’m always objectively right”
The first season of On Fire was rather frustrating because of that, but did also provide a lot of behind-the-scenes tidbits. (Read my recaps.) I just wish CBS could find a way to make its official Survivor content more reflective of the Survivor community and cast.