Jeff Probst on Casting Older Players From ‘On Fire’ Podcast (Episode 9)

Probst and co discuss Episode 9.

Photo: CBS


Survivor host Jeff Probst, Survivor: Edge of Extinction‘s Rick Devens, and producer Jeff Wolfe meet to discuss the ninth episode of Survivor 45 on the On Fire podcast. They talk about the multi-layered challenge/twist carried out in this episode and their particular thoughts on the final weeks of the game. Also, Probst responds to some fan questions.


  • Wolfe praises Austin’s gameplay, while Devens does the same for Emily. 
  • Probst admits he isn’t a fan of the “previous on” segments on other shows but knows how much fans appreciate them, so production decided to bring them back once Survivor had 90-minute episodes.
  • Devens says he felt Bruce was genuine when the latter admitted he needed to improve his self-awareness, even outside the game. 
  • They all admit Drew got the upper hand by deciding how the players would divide themselves by the twist, and he got everyone to play under his rules. Wolfe notices Drew’s leadership worked due to his social game; if a player like Bruce had done it, others would’ve probably pushed back. 
  • Probst says if you permit yourself to lose, it allows you to play to win, which is why the Reba Four alliance has succeeded in the game. 
  • Probst says production doesn’t fill holes when it comes to casting, as Bruce and Julie for this season are there for who they are and not because of their age. Production is always looking for captivating stories to tell, and though a larger group of younger people is applying to the show, anyone can get cast in the end.
  • Speaking further on age on Survivor, Probst said, “We’re not going to put you on just because you’re older. That would be a wasted spot. And in the same way that sometimes an 18-year old is lacking a little life experience to make them ready for the show, I meet a lot of people in their fifties who are so locked into who they are that it’s also equally not interesting on the other side of the spectrum. There’s no layers to them.”
  • Probst mentions he sucks at puzzles, but he was able to do the math portion of this episode’s challenge reasonably quickly. 
  • Probst reveals he’d like QR codes placed on screens so fans can try puzzles in their homes to see how they fare. 
  • Devens says he wasn’t surprised not to see any idols played this episode, as Bruce isn’t playing his idol for anyone but himself, and the Reba alliance feels too secure in their place in the game to risk their advantages. Wolfe adds he feels the Reba Four implosion feels near.  
  • Probst says Kendra was a fun and memorable player and a great addition this season, which are factors production considers when they invite players to play again.  


  • How do production members remain unbiased regarding players, particularly those who film the confessionals? Would production slipping up impact the game? Probst says production is experienced and knows they can’t reveal anything to avoid helping or hindering players. 
  • Is there a backup host in case Probst gets sick or cannot host the show? Probst jokingly admits there is a plan in case this scenario happens but hopes it never gets used. 
  • Has a challenge ever been redone in the show’s history due to a malfunction? Probst says there hasn’t been a necessity for a challenge to restart from the beginning, but there have been some instances where Probst has interceded if something isn’t working. Players stop wherever they are, production fixes the issue, and the challenge continues. Devens recalls a scenario like this that happened in this season. 


Written by

Mariana Loizaga

Mariana is a lawyer and a writer from Mexico City, Mexico. She has a masters degree in International Relations from the University of Surrey. Her hobbies include reading, blogging, and of course watching Survivor. The first season of Survivor she ever saw was Survivor: Philippines and she became so fascinated with the game and its many layers that she went back through the archives and watched every single previous season.

2 responses to “Jeff Probst on Casting Older Players From ‘On Fire’ Podcast (Episode 9)”

  1. I hate the direction this show is going. The casts are severely worse than before. Yesterday I almost fell asleep watching. Normal people are boring. Not compelling as Jeff calls it. Austin compelling? Drew compelling? Bruce compelling? A snooze fest.

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