Will the host stay on after 'Survivor 50'? It depends on one big thing.
Time marches on. And so does Survivor. Now airing its 45th season, the CBS staple that kicked off the reality TV craze back in the summer of 2000 seems impervious to shifting viewing trends, cord-cutting, or the crush of imitators that have flooded airwaves and streaming services in the 20 years since. And there throughout it all has been Jeff Probst.
But for how much longer? The 62-year-old host flirted at times back in the first 20 seasons of the show with leaving to pursue other interests, but as his responsibilities (being elevated to showrunner) and bank account (Probst was massively underpaid in those early seasons) increased over the years, the face of the franchise became completely locked in on his duties.
Still, with all those years under his belt, and with the landmark season 50 inching ever closer, EW asked Probst during Survivor 43 in 2022 how long he wanted to continue on the show.
"It's impossible to describe what Survivor represents to me,” Probst said then. “Impossible. It goes beyond creative expression or professional recognition. It's much deeper. It's right in line with the ideas I try to impress on our players. It's about pushing myself further than I think I can go, about trying to stay in the moment and adapt to my surroundings, about being a good 'tribe member,' about being open to new ideas and new people. The same opportunities Survivor offers the players, it offers me. I love Survivor and I still need Survivor."
While that answer certainly conveyed enthusiasm for future torch-snuffing, it also was a bit vague in terms of a definitive answer. However, on the most recent episode of his On Fire podcast, the Survivor host and showrunner once again discussed his future on the franchise. Responding to a listener question as to whether season 50 will be his last, Probst indicated that he would like to continue with the show indefinitely… under one condition.
“I still love Survivor very much,” Probst says on the podcast. “I think that's pretty clear. Survivor 50 is definitely our next big target in terms of a milestone, but you’ve got to remember: We've got to get there. So you have to do 45 and 46, then you have to do 47 and 48, then you have to do 49, then you get to 50. So it is one at a time.”
While that sounds like another artful dodge by a person who knows a little something about very direct questions and answers courtesy of his work at a million Tribal Councils, he then did indeed provide a clearer indication as to his plans. “I have no intention of wanting to stop so long as the show continues to be fun and the people applying continue to be interesting,” says Probst.
However, there is one other big consideration for the showrunner that will ultimately decide how long he stays with Survivor. “The biggest thing for me is keeping our team together. That's sort of the whole enchilada, because I get way more credit than I deserve. This show is made by a giant group, and we're all in it together, and I would not want to do the show with another team. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to start over with new people. So I'm in it as long as everybody else on the team is in it.”
So it seems as long as key producers — which includes folks like Matt Van Wagenen, Jesse and Zac Jensen, Kahaia Pearson, David Dryden, Riley Munday, Jimmy Quigley, and John Kirhoffer — remain part of the team after season 50, so will Probst, in what could only be described as… the ultimate alliance.
For much more inside intel from Probst on the latest episode, check out On Fire: The Official Survivor Podcast.
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