Jeff Probst on Casting, Tribe Divisions, & Unseen Premiere Twist ‘On Fire’ Podcast (Episode 1)

There was a twist that didn’t air in the premiere.



Survivor host Jeff Probst, former Survivor: Edge of Extinction castaway Rick Devens, and producer Jeff Wolfe get together to discuss the premiere of Survivor 45 on the On Fire podcast. Probst also explains that the podcast will focus on the players’ perspective this season to give the fans more context regarding the Survivor experience. 

Devens will contribute by sharing his perspective on this season’s players’ moves as a former player, and Probst, for his part, will give the producers’ perspective behind the creative decisions of the episodes.


  • Wolfe asks Devens if Emily’s comments about Bruce were too risky out of the gate. Devens says they were, but they also show what kind of player Emily is and that she is there with a plan to win.
  • Devens talks about his experience before departing to Fiji and how chaotic it is when the absolute chaos begins as the players hit the matt at the marooning. 
  • Devens agrees with Bruce’s decision to take a step back, as he already has a target on his back due to him being a returnee player.
  • Wolfe and Devens bring up Brandon’s panic attack and how important it is to acknowledge that it can happen to anyone, while on Survivor it is something to consider moving forward in the game. In his opinion, Devens says Brandon’s next move should be to put the target on someone else. 
  • Devens advocates for players to be proactive and volunteer to play these challenges, as the odds are they’ll garner an advantage or, at the very least, their tribes’ gratitude for bringing back supplies.
  • Wolfe asks Devens if there’s ever an easy vote in Survivor. For instance, this episode highlighted how much Brandon struggled and could be considered an easy choice. Devens says everyone on the tribe is at risk for different reasons, and everything evolves so fast in Survivor that a last-minute conversation or switch could flip the vote. 
  • Devens explains his thoughts about Hannah’s decision to quit. Devens says it’s complicated to comprehend the players’ thoughts unless you’ve been in their shoes. It’s understandable how Hannah felt. However, Devens says he knows people who were voted out early that they would’ve clawed their way through the game before giving up. 
  • Devens also says that it’s disappointing to see a player preferring to leave rather than stay to play, but her decision was also a lifeline to the remaining tribe members, so it goes both ways. 


  • Before starting, Probst warns against people paying for coaching lessons to get on the show, for instance, a former player now having their own business about this (aka Adam Klein).
  • Probst says if someone needs coaching to apply for the show, they won’t get in, as they’re looking for authentic people. 
  • CBS Casting Director Jesse Tannenbaum has also previously said on his Instagram that applicants don’t need to pay anyone to get on the show as it is a waste of money. Many people thought this was a dig at Klein.
  • Klein revealed three of his clients (Brandon, Kaleb, and Brando) were cast in Survivor 45, but clarified on his Twitter account he doesn’t send his clients directly to casting, and he isn’t affiliated with the show nor CBS.
  • Probst adds that if someone got on the show after taking coaching lessons, it is most likely despite these lessons. He exemplifies his comment with Brandon, who was on the Survivor producers’ radar for a while.


  • Survivor 90-minute episodes: Probst says the season was designed around the premise of having longer episodes, including having longer “finding idols” designs. 
  • Hannah’s decision to quit: Probst reveals he was surprised and uneasy, but he knew tribal council needed to continue. Probst didn’t know if it was a ploy or if she was only having a bad day, but as he realised Hannah wanted to leave, and the others were okay with her decision as it meant everyone else was safe, there wasn’t a vote. Probst says it would’ve happened had the players wanted to proceed with the voting process despite Hannah quitting. 
  • Devens asks Probst why he used to be hard on quitters and what has changed since then. Probst says since the new era of the game, there has also been a change in the game’s intention. For Probst, he now sees Survivor as a human experience first, and it can be brutally humbling as well, so he’s more empathetic to the players’ decisions. 
  • Probst recalls Osten quitting back on Survivor Pearl Islands, and he was outraged as he knew the audience would be as well. Probst says it was also because there wasn’t any social media back then, and he was the audience’s link to the players, but there isn’t a link needed now. Lastly, Probst clarified he was highly disappointed about Hannah’s decision. 
  • How do they decide which players go into which tribe? Producers place the players’ cards on a table and analyse aspects such as physical force, mental, IQ, emotional intelligence, age, gender, etc., to even up the tribes as much as possible. Sometimes, they make mistakes, but to Probst, they mostly get it right. 
  • Probst reveals a scene they cut: the winning tribe got to send a player to the losing tribe’s camp as they decided what to do at tribal council to gather information. Kendra was sent to Lulu’s camp as a spy, and she later got to vote for a player of her choice (Brandon). As there wasn’t a vote, producers decided to cut these scenes, but fans should remember Kendra has information on Lulu, which could be helpful in a twist or at the merge. 

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.

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