Jeff Probst Hints at Possible Survivor Season Without Reward & Immunity Challenges

Playing for… nothing?

Photo: CBS

Wanna know what you’re playing for? Nothing! At least, that could be the case in a future season of Survivor, as the show’s executive producer Jeff Probst hinted at in a recent interview.

The Emmy-winning host stopped by The Friendship Onion podcast last October to chat with Lord of the Rings stars Billy Boyd and Dom Monaghan, where he touched on various topics to do with the long-running CBS reality show. Early in the interview, Probst highlighted what makes the core Survivor format so successful and how it might evolve in the coming years.

“I think the format is philosophical,” Probst said. “You take a group of people, strangers, typically, unless you’re doing an All-Star season, and you force them to live together where they must rely on each other to survive while simultaneously voting each other out. And, in the end, a group of the people that you voted out will now decide who wins… who played the best game. And what’s the best game depends on the people deciding. For me, that’s it.”

While that part of the format has remained consistent over Survivor‘s forty-three seasons, other traditional elements of the show could be adapted or outright removed in coming seasons.

“You could add in there are reward challenges; there are immunity challenges,” Probst continued before adding, “Maybe. Maybe you don’t have to have them, right? We don’t know. We may get to a season where we don’t do that, and people will go, ‘Oh my God, you’ve blown it again!'”

Reward and immunity challenges have been part of Survivor since the very first season in 2000. For years, the episodes typically followed a structure of reward challenge/immunity challenge/tribal council. However, reward challenges have become less frequent in recent years — some have even been edited out of the broadcast episodes for time.

So getting rid of reward challenges in future seasons wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. But immunity challenges? That would certainly be a dramatic change that could drastically alter both the format of the show and the gameplay between contestants.

Do you think a season without immunity challenges could work? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

83 responses to “Jeff Probst Hints at Possible Survivor Season Without Reward & Immunity Challenges”

  1. No I would not enjoy seeing neither taken away it would be horrible and a terrible action, because I those things are beneficial because of their hard work and they deserve it…I like when they get rewarded and immunity is awesome…

  2. Yes it would work .
    Most times contestants who are really worthy of winning survivor get voted out , because they are a true survivor and it’s not really fair.
    Jealousy is a bad trait in the survivor game.
    It needs a change and maybe the people should vote in the end as to who they think should win.
    Not the bitter contestants who were ousted out.
    Just saying

  3. I already barely watch the new seasons cause sooo much talking.. no fire fishing or eating no camp life….. honestly I would not watch.

  4. No immunity challenge no reward challenges, ability to cope with every walks of life every denomination of people and ways of life he would find out the peoples way to form and adapt. I applied early on to be on survivor never made it. I’m 62 years old now, and still faithfully watching.

  5. My first reaction was a huge NO!!!, but the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. While the challenges are fun, they are also a huge time hog. Without them they would have more time for other aspects of the show. More camp life, more personal interactions, etc.

  6. I think there are way to many rewards. In the first couple of seasons there weren’t any untill the last couple of shows. The show should go back to that scenario and maybe the group would do more hunting.

  7. Yes. I like the idea of not only no immunity challenge but also no hidden immunity idols. No immunity – period.

  8. Please don’t take away the reward and immunity challenges. When you feel like you are at your lowest point, however that came to be, those aspects of the game give you hope that you still have an opportunity to get back in the game. It also gives you hope that you can re-establish yourself with the tribe and become valuable to some. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You all are doing an incredible job. Keep on Survivor, keep on!!!

  9. I, for one, love the challenges. For reward or immunity they help to break up the sometimes boring chit chat. It also brings out the competitive side of players. In the end a strong competitor could garnish more votes. An alternative for eliminating food challenges might be to hide food rewards. Like a note that says “you’ve found a cheeseburger and fries” to redeem whenever you want. But definitely keep immunity challenges.

  10. To me immunity challenges are very interesting and a key part of the show. It seems they are more difficult as the seasons continue. Puzzles have thrown a wrinkle in the challenges. At times strong contestants who Excell at the physical part fail miserably solving puzzles! Evens out sometimes. Keep the Challenges in! I have watched all 43 seasons. Jeff is terrific .

  11. Nope. The immunities and even rewards are the incentive. However, there’s no creativity in this. The stronger, more perceptive, or lucky you are…the better chance you have. This is not “Lucky Survivor”… or could it? Maybe your writers could come up with something that starts just as they land on their beach…

  12. They will lose a lot of survivor fans that watch it. I’ve been watching from the 1st season to present. I know I wouldn’t watch it without challenges

  13. Leave the reward challenge alone but maybe do something different with the immunity challenges and something different then the fire challenge at the end I’ve been watching since 2000

  14. I’m gonna be bias as crap and say I think I would do much better on a season wuth no challenges and I tend to tune out challenges so I’m down for this change.

  15. I’d love to see a season without any challenges. The producers could cast an even more diverse group in terms of age, athleticism, etc. and they’d have much closer to an equal chance. For that matter, so would super jacked guys. They could do it for an All Star season and include people like Cirie and Jesse who might win the game if not for the challenges. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it again.

  16. I don’t think that would work. Have the rewards and immunity. It gives people hope to keep going. It’s hard enough to keep going with the rewards and immunity, taking that away would be a mistake. Thank you

  17. Noooooo don’t take away immunity challenges. It would not be the same..I think the contestants need the rewards to keep morale up and also whoever wins said challenges already has a chance to change the game! If you take that away then it’s just who’s got the strongest alliance. It’s be boring imo

  18. I think it could work with no immunity challenges. I would still have rewards, though. Gotta give them something to play for.

  19. Definitely be interesting to watch the dynamics, but it’s fun to see the actual challenge ‘playground’ and allows viewers to enjoy something different every week.
    Last season it was amazing to see contestants help Nicole get out of the netting when challenge ended.
    Don’t really care about the reward stuff…
    Just makes it harder to stay focused.
    Would idols still be hidden for contestants to find?

  20. Taking immunity challenges out would open the game up to a more diverse group of people who have differing physical abilities. It now becomes strictly a social game.

  21. We have watched Survivor for years, and the best part is immunity challenges. That’s what we look forward to. I think, without them, we just won’t watch anymore.

    All it is …a popularity contest
    The SURVIVORS should be given a task that that ONLY they perform to win
    That is ONLY FARE to WIN

  23. Sounds lnteresting… however, without immunity challenges, how would you go about voting out players?

    I do think that “rewards” could be handle similar to the manner in which the “auctions” are handled.

  24. If they took all of the challenges out what would be left in the game or just watching them sit out there and store or start fighting amongst each other if there was no kind of challenges at all there wouldn’t be much of a show

  25. If they get rid of challenges on Survivor, I will stop watching. Those are the reasons I watch the show. Without them, you might as well be watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians’. I don’t need to watch a bunch of whiners for an hour. I can get that in a show I absolutely NEVER watch: Big Brother. The Amazing Race and Tough As Nails will fill the gap for me should the producers of Survivor decide to “jump the shark.”

  26. No. We need to see the immunity challenges. We can do without all the immunity idols, secret advantages, roll the dice, risk a vote, exile island, edge of extinction and Fiji.
    They haven’t left the islands of Fiji and its time to find a new location. Part of the entertainment of the show were all the great locations that added to the challenge of surviving the environment.

  27. I would be OK with losing rewards. Not immunity. Nothing better than watching a clutch immunity win. Everyone remember Shii Ann’s in All Stars? I think it’s a vital part of the format.

  28. Of course it could work. Almost anything you do on survivor could work. If done right. You could also get rid of so many idols and don’t bring people back. Even for a all star season. Your time came and went. I like seeing different people every season.

  29. Yes it would be one heck of a surprise. But what I’d like to see is an all celebrity season like Tom Hanks Jennifer Aniston Halle Berry Jennifer Lawrence Sandra Bullock Sean Claude Van d*** Sylvester Stallone Jason mamola And so on until we have a full group That would be one h*** of a season and boost the ratings up like you wouldn’t believe Please send me an email and what you think

  30. Hell no! Then there is no game. I’m already mad that the reward challenges are less and less! That would be the dumbest thing ever! Bye bye Survivor then.?

  31. It would be interesting, as it wouldn’t matter any more if you’re a competition threat or not, and it would all be social politics/strategy. Although I wonder what content there would be to fill up an hour long episode.

  32. There are plenty of things that Survivor can get rid of but the immunity challenge is not one of them. It’s one thing that keeps a strong alliance from dominating the game . Do away with some of the stupid twists, no steal a vote, no asking if you have an idol, no beware advantages. Go back to hidden Idols with no strings attached. But for the Love of Mike put a muzzle on Jeff Probst during Tribal Council to keep him from giving away strategy that some tribe members have fought so hard to keep from others. Zip It Jeff!

  33. As the old saying goes….If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We love Survivor the way it is. What would be the point of Survivor without reward or immunity challenges? Those poor people are starving the way it is. Leave the reward challenge…..possible take away immunity and let them all face the fear of being voted off…. no exceptions

  34. My favorite part of survivor is the reward challenges and the immunity challenges. I don’t know how interesting the show would be without them
    It’s more exciting to watch with the challenges

  35. I think the main part that makes the show is doing the challenges.could you still do that and not have immunity.or would they get the food and items to make things easier.if you can put an idea that doesnt need those then maybe.but the biggest part of the game is going through challenges.maybe hiding food rations or maps to hunt out what they could use might work.find the coins and the more you have then they could buy items or food.

  36. I think it should be at least tried and if you see it may not work out to well you could pop in a reward in a challenge or an idol or something for a time or two maybe.

  37. I lo e the show have watched it since day one. My favorite part is watching the challenges. If the take them out then it’s just not survivor. It may be then end of my survivor enjoyment.

  38. Interesting. Australian Survivor is much more about watching relationships develop and implode. So much more interesting. The episodes are longer I think and there’s challenges but that’s just part of the show. New Zealand Survivor are even more low key about their rewards at challenges. Like a KFC burger or some beans.

  39. No. I don’t think that would work. In addition to giving contestants the opportunity to remain in the game even when it looks like they’re likely to be voted out, immunity challenges add suspense that keep viewers guessing, to the end, who might actually go.

  40. It might be boring without immunity challenges, but I wish you would get rid of the puzzle’s. I think it would be fun to not have any hidden immunity idols or advantages. Don’t give them any food except the rice and see if they would keep the people that provided for them

  41. So what u are say is everyone would be able to b voted off every tribal wow! No safety net no rest from being at risk ! This would change everything it would b cutthroat not caring and giving it wouldn’t be a tribe it would become a gang run by the strongest and the weak not surviving!

  42. I think the immunity challenges would be ok if not done but reward challenges for chance to win food shouldn’t be completely taken away. Because like the show this could be a life time experience that would never be forgotten especially if it’s a reward to be with the locals from the island. Just don’t change the show to dramatically since it is the longest running show. I look forward to watching it.

  43. NO! We watch the show to see if we can guess who will be voted out each week and to root for our favorite or favorites to be safe. Without immunity, earned through some accomplishment, there’s no point in watching weekly episodes. Or in watching the show at all.

  44. I missed 15 years of survivor living in the UK. So glad it is still on, now that I’m back in USA. And it’s success is due to the format. Don’t fix something that’s not broken !

  45. Keep the immunity idols BUT, tell the players they are not permitted to tell anyone or they lose the idol. As far as immunity challenges go, maybe do less puzzles and add different things like bow and arrow shooting or racing through the trees with a huge bunch of balloons. Winner is based on times and balloons not popped. Puzzles are getting boring. Good luck. I’ve been a fan since season 1 and want to see more.

  46. Lets bring Survivor back to original concept. Just look at Australia season. No changes of clothes, No food rewards (except maybe more rice) No spa rewards. They really had to “survive” the wilderness.

  47. No!!! Take those away and it’s just Semi Naked and Not Really Afraid. I already miss the Loved Ones visit episodes… which has been gone for several seasons. Nope. It ain’t broke so, don’t fix it.

  48. IMO a reality competition show without comps would be too boring. Try to watch Big Brother Season 1… ugh, I couldn’t get through it, so boring, and they were lucky to get a season 2 after season 1 had such low ratings due to it being so boring. Also, MTV’s The Challenge tried this on the season called “The Island” and it too is one of the most boring season’s in their show’s history, probably the only boring season. With Big Brother they cut down on comps so that now we no longer get the competition for food weekly and many fans miss it, so no I don’t think fans would enjoy no comps on Survivor. The games are fun to watch and we enjoy seeing our host with the most, Jeff Probst. 🙂

  49. No. Keep the challenges. I like when a player of an alliance gets immunit. Then keeps it or gives it to someone. What if they were going to vote them out. It keeps it on there toes…

  50. I have watched this show from Season 1. Keep the immunity challenges but stop with so many food rewards. Contestants no longer seem to fish, hunt, gather food, or get shellfish much any more.. Maybe there would be more time to show more of the camp life (like the first few seasons) if there were fewer reward challenges. What are the contestants doing all day, anyway? Viewers used to know who worked hard, who did not etc.

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