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Jeff Probst Teases Season 50 of ‘Survivor’: What to Expect (Exclusive)

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Survivor is heading toward the finale of season 46, but host Jeff Probst is already looking toward the future! ET spoke with Probst from the CBS Fall Schedule Celebration on Thursday, where the longtime show host teased how dramatic the show’s upcoming finale will be and shared his hopes for the milestone 50th season. 

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Season 46 of the competitive reality series kicked off with two historic two-hour episodes for the premiere on Feb. 28, followed by 90-minute episodes throughout the season. Probst calls the intense season a “really unpredictable” one, and teases that its upcoming finale will be “very fun” for avid fans.

“[There’s been] a lot of great gameplay, and it just continues to ratch it up. I think fans are going to be very satisfied,” he tells ET. The season has been a testament to what Probst says draws people to the series. 

“That’s the question, isn’t it? Why is Survivor still thriving and compelling? I think it’s because it’s a great format, we continue to innovate and reinvent it a little bit, but also it’s pretty compelling,” he says. “You’re having people sitting at home get up off the couch and take on this gigantic adventure and play this addictive game [where] you can go out there and try to sabotage and lie and control and persuade, and all of it is part of the game. I think it’s just a very fun experience whether you’re playing or watching.”

That undeniable attraction is also why Probst is already planning for the show’s 50th season. During a Survivor FYC event last month at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, the showrunner announced that the milestone season will feature all returning players. He even took to Instagram after the announcement to confirm the news to his followers. 

Reflecting on his decision to reveal season 50’s big surprise, Probst explains to ET that it had been the fans who made the decision, not him. He shared that after he had asked “a somewhat innocent question” about what Survivor fans thought should happen in the landmark season, the response was too overwhelming to deny.

“The response was so overwhelming [that] I stepped a little up and said, ‘OK, let’s just do it.’ I have not heard from CBS if they’re OK with that, but that’s what we’re doing,” he confesses. 

Now, the biggest question is, what returning players does Probst want to see?

“It’s a good question, who are the players? All of us that have a decision in this just started with a blank sheet of paper the very next day and we’re all just writing down names,” he shares of the selection process. “We’ve had almost 700 people play, so it’s going to be a very big list. I have no idea how we’ll end up breaking it down but we’re in the early, early, early stages.” 

Probst says there isn’t an ideal cast list because there are so many factors that go into choosing who should return. “We’ve done a lot of returning players seasons, we even did a season of all winners. There are some fan favorites but there’s also the argument that some people have played too much and other people have not played enough,” he reasons.

Cast of ‘Survivor’ season 46 – CBS

“Then you look at some of the Hall of Famers and you’re like, ‘How could you ever have them too many times? We want them all back!’ So I’m not kidding when I say [the process] is nothing other than everybody’s writing a list of all their favorite players and then I think we’ll look at it and start to figure out [how to break it down],” he shares. 

Luckily, fans haven’t been shy when it comes to offering suggestions on all the ways to ensure that season 50 is a hit. Probst says he’s been taking note of all the ideas fans have been pitching and even admits, “There are some really good ones in there.”

“I am seeing the enthusiasm is there and there’s the freedom to do something fun and different,” he says of fans’ suggestions. “It doesn’t have to be winners at war, it can be a celebration and that’s kind of where I’m leaning into. ‘How do we celebrate 50 seasons of this really fun show?'”

With such an amazing legacy and even more to come with seasons 47, 48, 49 and 50 coming up, it’s no surprise that Probst isn’t looking to trade spots with any other hosts.

Jeff Probst from ‘Survivor’ and Phil Keoghan from ‘The Amazing Race’ attend the CBS New Fall Schedule Celebration event on May 2 – Francis Specker/CBS via Getty Images

When questioned if he’d ever trade places with Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan, Probst asked, “You want me to take the best job I’ve ever had and give it to Phil Keoghan?”

Even with the temptation that is going all around the world, Probst isn’t interested. “Phil is so good at his job… I don’t know, I don’t like that idea. I like Survivor. I feel at home on Survivor. Phil feels very much at home on Amazing Race and Manu [Bennett]’s gonna be great on The Summit, so can we all just stay in our little worlds?” 

Fair enough!

Season 46 of Survivor is currently airing Wednesdays on CBS.

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