Jeff Probst Says He Was Surprised By Mike Gabler’s Win

The host opens up about that shocking ending.

Photo: CBS

Survivor 44 premieres tonight, Wednesday, March 1, but the show’s host and showrunner, Jeff Probst, is shedding some light on last season, specifically its shocking ending.

Many viewers were left with their jaws on the floor at the end of Survivor 43 when heart valve specialist Mike Gabler walked away with the $1 million prize in a near-unanimous vote. Some felt that the show didn’t effectively explain Gabler’s win, with many expecting runner-up Cassidy Clark to be the favorite heading into the final tribal council.

Well, it seems like Probst himself felt the same.

“I will say that even I was surprised at how the final tribal council played out,” the Emmy-winning host told TV Insider. “As final tribal was progressing, I could feel the tide turning away from Cassidy and toward Gabler merely by watching how the jury was responding to their answers. I learned from that situation that the game can literally be won or lost at the final tribal council.”

As for the editing and making things understandable for the viewers, Probst stated, “It’s a very fair criticism and one we took to heart. Our job is to make sure the audience has all the information they need to solve the final mystery ‘Who will the jury vote for to win the game?’ We clearly didn’t do that.”

Survivor 43 jury members Jesse Lopez and Karla Cruz Godoy previously opened up about their thought process heading into the final tribal and why they ultimately chose to vote for Gabler. Both castaways shared that Gabler’s final tribal answers gave them a better understanding of his game.

“For me, at least, Gabler, the way he explained his game, the way he explained things, did fit well into that puzzle that I had mapped out in my head of the game,” Lopez said on the RHAP podcast. “Gabler really owned his game; he really owned how he played his strategy.”

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.

3 responses to “Jeff Probst Says He Was Surprised By Mike Gabler’s Win”

  1. Anyone that didn’t realize Gabler was winning the second Cody went home has paid attention to the last dozen or so seasons. Jesse pulled the blindsided one tribal too early.

  2. I hope Jeff listens to what the fans say about casting more attractive player, a change of scenery for upcoming seasons and the return of the individual jury questions at final tribal.

  3. I would even argue as far back as Bull In The China shop where he did the “this minute is for” challenge. Or the fact that Elie had more confessionals in six episodes than Cassidy did by the finale which was his “dragon slayer” moment. In hindsight, his win was the most obvious one in nearly 10 seasons, minus Tony in 40

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