Jeff Probst Open To Celebrity Survivor

Survivor host Jeff Probst reveals that he is still open to the possibility of a Celebrity edition of the show in the future.

Many great, and not so great, reality shows have attempted the “celebrity” edition at some point in their run – to varying degrees of success. Mark Burnett’s pseudo-business reality show The Apprentice boosted its declining popularity when it became The Celebrity Apprentice in 2008; while spawning a future presidential candidate in the process. A show like Dancing With The Stars – which places low-level celebs in sequined outfits and throws them on the dance-floor – has produced over twenty seasons and continues to go strong. Others, like ABC’s The Mole, were ruined once celebrities got involved, and were unable to avoid the axe.

A Celebrity Survivor has been rumored for a number of years but has yet to come to fruition. In recent seasons we have seen recognizable sports figures like Jimmy Johnson, Cliff Robinson, and Scot Pollard, attempt to take on the harsh elements of Survivor. In the twenty-fifth season, former Facts of Life star, Lisa Whelchel, was a member of the cast and made it all the way to the final three. However, a full-blown celebrity edition is something that remains in the imagination.

In a recent interview with’s Dalton Ross, Survivor host Jeff Probst said the idea of a possible celebrity version of the long-running series was “not dead.” Even though Executive Producer Mark Burnett has put the kibosh on plans for a celeb edition, Probst remains hopeful that the idea could work given the right circumstances. “I think the only way Celebrity Survivor works is if for some reason there was an event…. – a benefit or something where enough celebrities said, ‘All right, I’ll give you six days.’ And we’ll do six episodes. We’ll vote someone out every night. I think we could do that.”

Survivor certainly has its fair share of high-profile celebrity fans. Most recently we saw wig-wearing pop star Sia crash the stage at the  Survivor: Kaôh Rōng reunion, where she awarded third place finisher Tai Trang with $100,000. How I Met Your Mother actor Neil Patrick-Harris has gone on the record about his love for Survivor, and according to Probst, back in 2013, was very open to appearing on the show. Australian comedian and Pitch Perfect star, Rebel Wilson, has also recently revealed her desire to take part in the island adventure.

While it might be tricky to put together a top tier celebrity cast, Probst is confident they could get “some cool people” as long as they had a good reason to leave their life behind for a week. “Guys like Jimmy Fallon – he is a fan. But Jimmy Fallon hosts a gigantic show. There’s no way he’s leaving for six days if he has six days off. But maybe one day. And we’ve worked on a format that we could do that would be super fast,” Probst told EW.

But is a Celebrity Survivor something fans of the show want? Would a celebrity version be too watered down? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and tell us what celebrities you’d like to see on the show if it does ever happen.


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.

13 responses to “Jeff Probst Open To Celebrity Survivor”

  1. Honestly, I’ve loved having 1-2 “stars” grace a cast in the mix. A sports star + a tv or movie star that maybe is a little unknown or not “on the scene” like Lisa W/Jeff Kent combo in Philippines. Obviously a big star like Jimmy Johnson couldn’t totally shake that star power when he’s outnumbered by regular citizens, though that wasn’t really his demise in the game.

    It would be super fun to watch NPH create an alliance and people flock around him or blindside him, but he may do much better in an all-celeb edition. And I think one week is a perfect time frame for a 16-person celeb cast – allow one day/night for everybody to bond and camp life, voting out 2 a day the rest of the week in combo reward/immunity challenges – would be a fantastic winter/summer option while we’re all missing Survivor to have a special event like this!

    Definitely not a full season, I think most people don’t want Survivor to go the way of Apprentice.

  2. I’ve always wanted them to do Fans VS Favorites VS Celebrities. Then they only need to cast 6 favorites, and if they were all bad it wouldn’t matter that much since there are still 12 more castaways. Also, the fans and favorites would hopefully be better since cbs only need to cast 6 of each. I think the reason why Caramoan isn’t liked by a lot of fans is because some fans and some favorites were not actual fans/favorites.

  3. I think the only way a celebrity version would work is that it would have to be watered down. They would be in a lush tropical location, but would be given basic necessities. The time of the show would have to match what Jeff Probst is suggesting . . . 6 days.

    However, my issue with that is it wouldn’t be survivor. As a fan of the show, I would care to watch it. I want to see the celebrities go all out for the full season run. There are plenty of B or C-List celebrities who may be willing to give it a try, and could spare the full 6 weeks out on location.

  4. I can put up with gimmicks just fine, and I even enjoy them sometimes, but this gimmick would be worse than anything else Survivor could do. I don’t care for celebrities, so I would have no interest. I hate that people threaten not to watch a season because they don’t like a cast, or a theme, or because “they need to include overweight people, not these fake models”, or “they shouldn’t include rich people because poor people need the money because communism” etc… But a celebrity edition is a season that I would actually not watch. Maybe if you had a single tribe of celebrities, but no way would I put myself through the torture of a full celebrity cast. It would mar Survivor forever! (at least in my eyes).

    I will say that a potentially interesting theme would be Heroes vs. Villains II, except with an all new cast. That would be a unique dynamic! It would be intriguing to see how casting would separate the heroes from the villains.

    • Twists like the final 3, idols and the jury nullification are awful. Having a celeb edition isn’t that bad, and maybe we’ll have a season dedicated to the show instead of strategy and idols.

  5. Jeff is open to us? Well, that makes one of us, Jeff. A six day season would not be appropriate, and the idea that the contestants would be allowed to talk to their manager – on the mainland, outside the game – for an hour each day truly mortifies me. It cheapens everything that has brought fans to the show over the years. Survivor is a Top 20 show on television, and if celebrities would like the exposure of being on it they can play under the same rules as anyone else. If they don’t want to, the show will be fine regardless.

    • Agreed. We’ve seen celebrities that can play the game. Yes, some of them are past their prime as celebrities (Lisa was essentially retired from acting and most of the athletes are retired or lesser known.) That’s why they might have the time.

      If we had to have a celebrity edition, I’d definitely rather have a lower rung or retired “celebrity” who was a fan for a full run (or as long as they last in the game itself) rather than someone there for just a week.

  6. I’d be okay with an all celebrity version. But it would have to be regular Survivor not this 6-day version. I want to see celebrities go through the whole gamut of Survivor not celebrities on vacation.

  7. Sounds like a terrible idea. Six days is incredibly lame. That’s not survivor, that’s camping. Half the fun of survivor is seeing how much the players are affected by exposure. They get beat down. Just making it to the end of 39 days is an accomplishment. Would they even take six days serious?

  8. I don’t mind how they do it now with 1 or 2 celebrities on a cast. It would be fun to do a celebrity Survivor but I would want it to be like any other season. This past season of Amazing Race featured relatively famous people and it did well because the reason they are famous (they have great personalities) is also the same reason the will make great TV. I honestly don’t think it would even be that hard to cast a season like this. There are plenty of retired A list celebrities and they could be coupled with a few lesser known celebrities and, if needed, the season could be some sort of Fans vs. Celebrities so they only need to cast 10 of them.

  9. The six day thing.. no bueno. Only way to include celebrities more than they have is in a three tribe format. You could have some catchy theme to do with money or status or way of life. Have 6 people that are similar to the ways Survivor has had “celebrities” on before… aka Lisa Welchel, Jeff Kent, Scot Pollard, etc.

    It does make me nervous, though. The Mole was one of the best reality shows ever on the air, and the celebrity versions destroyed it 🙁

  10. Oh PLEASE NO!!!! Celebs will kill Survivor. I love seeing new people and learning about them. I want to watch people that want to play Survivor and not worrying about their reputation or celebrity popularity. I stopped watching Apprentice as soon as the celebs showed up. Its just not as real.

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