Jeff Probst on Survivor’s Physical Toll & Testing Challenges From ‘On Fire’ Podcast (Episode 5)

Probst and co discuss Episode 5.

Photo: CBS


Survivor host Jeff Probst, Survivor: Edge of Extinction’s Rick Devens, and producer Jeff Wolfe meet for the latest On Fire podcast to discuss the fifth episode of Survivor 45. They talk about the physical, emotional, and psychological toll the game can take on the players, even just a few days in. The trio also discusses how advantages are double-edged swords, fake idols, and the upcoming mergatory. To wrap up, Probst answers some fan questions.


  • Wolfe says Dee jumped out as a player for him in this episode, as she’s usually a very charismatic person but is gaming nonstop.
  • They discuss Austin’s choice to choose between an advantage or food. Probst says the lack of food in the new era is designed to make people question this issue and how, even a few days into the game, the lack of nutrition is ever-present in the players’ decision-making process. 
  • Devens retells from his experience that no one is genuinely prepared for how Survivor takes a toll on your mind and body until you’re physically there. Details such as changes in hair texture, fingernails and toenails breaking, emotions being at a surface level, and much more are mere signs of the lack of nutrients affecting the players. 
  • Wolfe asks Devens about how he created his fake idol. Devens recounts he used the materials they got to make the tribe flag, and once he got a real one, he improved the fake one. Probst adds they can use every single thing provided to players to tweak to their convenience when creating fake advantages. 
  • Wolfe asks Devens and Probst what they do when they see players strategising for an event that won’t take place. Devens says players can’t guarantee anything in the game and must be prepared for any casualty/change. Probst doubles down by saying adaptability is vital. 


  • Probst celebrates Jake’s openness about his health journey, and he thinks Jake should do speaking events as he’s a great storyteller. 
  • Devens asks Probst if it’s necessary to have a “sob story” to be on Survivor. Probst says if players don’t have “a story,” production won’t show it, but not having one doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get on the show. 
  • Where did the same-day tribal journey come from? Probst says it came from having the opportunity of longer episodes, and creativity was the key ingredient. 
  • Probst denies knowing anyone from the cast was a Pokémon fan and how this part of the episode is reminiscing of older seasons where fans can get to know the players on a deeper, yet fun, level. 
  • Probst says to critics that Survivor’s new game design was necessary for the show to have survived, as he’s sure that without it, Survivor wouldn’t still exist. 


  • What are the rules in tribe raids? Probst says flints can’t be stolen, but players from the same tribe can hide them. 
  • Does Probst test challenges? Probst says he used to when the Dream Team didn’t exist, but now only they do it, including in front of the players for them to see how challenges need to be done. He adds he might still do it in certain instances.
  • How much information does Probst have before tribal councils? Probst reveals he knows the most important parts, but he doesn’t have the nuances, so he mostly wings it. The players’ answers are Probst’s guide to continue prodding for information. Devens recommends players use tribal council in their favour to garner valuable information for their games. 


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.

5 responses to “Jeff Probst on Survivor’s Physical Toll & Testing Challenges From ‘On Fire’ Podcast (Episode 5)”

  1. I enjoy the longer episodes. Jeff is just talking nonsense again. Does he think we’re stupid? The 26 day structure is strictly a budget decision.

  2. Basic rice needs to return. Surviving is the rest is more than hard enough. Return to that small amount of food every day. You are dealing with humans, not POWs!

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