Next month, Survivor returns for a new season and changes things up.  Originally intended to be a second All Stars season, executive producer Mark Burnett decided to take a different route.  Instead, he took 10 Survivor superfans and pitted them up against 10 Survivor players of the past.  The fan favorites include: Jonny Fairplay, Yau-Man Chan, James Clement, and Ozzy Lusth.  The 20 players headed back to a familiar location, the island of Palau, where season 10 was filmed.  Today, Jeff Probst participated in a conference call with the media to talk about the exciting upcoming season of Survivor.

This season, Survivor fans get the opportunity to play the game against people with lots of past experience in the game.  Determining who should be on the show as a fan became a tough task for producers.  “We wanted to find the biggest fans that we had like Kathy, who applied 7 times,” Probst said.  “We almost put her on Vanuatu.  She’s crazy to the point of being so wacky, that it’s peculiar, but at her core, she is a huge Survivor fan.  She knows everybody that ever played and she wants to play.  That’s what we were looking for in everybody.”  Probst describes the first time the fans met the favorites like a rock concert, saying that they were screaming and cheering to see the returning players … until they realized that they weren’t there to make friends!

It wasn’t easy choosing on 10 fan favorites to come back and play the game for a second time.  Probst said that he hoped to see Shane Powers (Exile Island) and Yul Kwon (winner, Cook Islands) back on the show but there wasn’t a spot for them.  Tom Westman, winner of Palau, said he would never come back because it would ruin the good image he had maintained among the fans.

When it was time for Jeff to answer to BuddyTV, he addressed Coby Archa’s (Palau) claims that he was considered for this season along with Janu Tornell (Palau) and Terry Deitz (Exile Island).  “At a certain point, yes, he was being considered.  I can’t say how far into the mix he made it.  The truth is that you have 10 spots and you have some certains.  You’re going to have Yau-Man, James, Ozzy, and Fairplay.  Then, you start looking at people like Cirie.  You want somebody like Parvati, the quote-unquote hot girl.  You need the game changers in Eliza and Ami, people who will betray at the drop of a hat.  It wasn’t that these were the 10 most favorite, it’s that these were 10 favorites.”

At first, Probst was skeptical about bringing Jonny Fairplay back into the game.  He told BuddyTV his true feelings about one of the most infamous Survivor players.  “I watch his life from the outside on all the reality shows he’s done and getting tossed on his face and now, marrying someone and having a baby.  I really don’t know what to think of it all.  I think it’s quite a life he’s leading,” he said.  However, Probst knows as well as anyone else that he had to come back.  “How can you do a season without Fairplay?  We got exactly what we wanted and what we deserved bringing him back.”

The conference call comes on the heels of good Survivor news.  Today, CBS announced that Survivor has been picked up for 2 more seasons, which will give fans the 17th and 18th seasons of the wildly popular reality show.  Coming back for 2 more seasons was an easy choice for Probst, who said,   “I travel the world, I get to host and produce one of the most fascinating television shows, and I make more than any other college dropout should get paid.  For me, it was an easy decision!”

After so many seasons, Probst promises that we haven’t seen it all.  Survivor: Micronesia brings more blindsides than we’ve ever seen in the past.  The new season returns Thursday, February 7th.

– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Scarpa

Staff Writer, BuddyTV