Jeff Probst Talks Survivor 46 Episode 2 and Rediscovering His ‘Edge’

All the latest insights from the On Fire podcast.


The latest episode of the On Fire podcast saw Survivor host Jeff Probst, Survivor 45 winner Dee Valladares, and producer Jeff Wolfe get together to discuss episode two of Survivor 46. The trio talks about the players’ emotions regarding their new surroundings and how, as they get used to one another, they’re still playing Survivor alongside and against each other. The chaotic puzzle immunity challenge is also brought up, and Probst answers some fan questions.

A big part of the second episode was the players’ emotions and how much they’re highlighted due to the lack of food, sleep, paranoia, a harsh environment, and the continual stress of the game itself. Probst explains how the new era is designed for players to “earn everything” as the idea is to “find the perfect set of ingredients that deprives you of so much that it drains you. That’s when it starts to get interesting, but now you gotta dip into your reserves… how badly do you want this.”

For her part, Dee recalls how she felt in the early days of her game and how, amidst the starvation, she knew this wasn’t her reality, unlike thousands of people in the real world, which helped her in her lowest moments. Probst emphasizes Kenzie’s vulnerability, as she shows how much she cares about the game while still showing its physical and mental repercussions. A reference for future players, Probst adds, “People ask how you get on Survivor. That’s how. That’s it. You get vulnerable, and you let us see you.”

Wolfe mentions how the edit showed the players bonding in the game’s early days, and Probst says he’s grateful for the 90-minute episodes as they permit the audience to see these bonding instances. Probst also recalls that these sessions happened in the first twenty minutes of Survivor: Borneo’s first episode, as Richard Hatch and Sue Hawk talked game while they tried to connect. As Probst says, great Survivor players are adept at finding common ground with others, which later translates into trust.


Dee reveals that camp life is more important than strategy talks, as these are the times when people’s guards are down. Dee’s approach was to make people laugh at her self-deprecating jokes, talk about her family, and share vulnerable moments of her life. “Pay attention during these times,” Dee recommends, “because people will tell you who they are and what they value… this is how you get other people to become your allies early on.”

When asked if he enjoyed it when players bantered with him, Probst says he “LOVED IT” with capital letters, as it makes him feel part of the fun. Probst surprisingly admits the knife situation (in back-to-back seasons) was a response to people calling him “soft” and emphasised twice he “does have an edge.” He recognises that he was too soft on the Survivor 45 quitters and went too far with changing history. All in all, Probst says he listens to people and wants to fix the errors in his ways.

Regarding the immunity challenge, Probst says the idea goes back to Survivor 41, but pre-COVID. After the pandemic and during prep for Survivor 45, production decided to create the challenge on a smaller scale for said season, in which Drew won it as an individual immunity challenge. After tweaking and modifying the challenge several times, the challenge was finally ready on a bigger scale for Survivor 46.

As for tribal council and especially Bhanu’s performance, Dee says she felt for him as tribals were also the most challenging parts of the game for her, but it is vital to know when and how to communicate with others. A great point to have in mind for players is if they see what they’re doing is not working, they need to adapt. As to Jess, Probst says even though she didn’t find her place in the game, she was authentic, quirky, unique, and didn’t follow group mentality.

Lastly, Probst responds to some fan questions.

  1. Why does the audience never see schoolyard picks anymore, as rocks now decide team selections? Probst responds production likes the uncertainty when players pick different colour rocks or buffs, whereas schoolyard picks don’t lead to uncertainty.
  2. What do people do about their jobs when they get cast on Survivor? Probst says there is a commitment to playing Survivor, and it’s a case-to-case situation. Some might have to quit, while others use their off days for the show. They have to consider the loss of income and the scheduled dates of when a season is being filmed. In Dee’s case, she had to quit a remote sales job and leave behind her business partner.
  3. What can Survivor players share once they return from the game, but the season hasn’t aired yet? Probst says a contract specifies what they can or can’t do, for instance, no social media posts about being on the show. Production also tells the players to avoid revealing spoilers, even to family or friends, once the season ends, as it is their secret to keep, and it will be more enjoyable for their loved ones to see what happens once the season is aired.

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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