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Jeff Probst says show will 'absolutely not' change “Survivor” flint rule

"Expect more of that," the host says. "This is what 'Survivor' is about."

The Yanu tribe of Survivor 46 set a franchise record this week on the show, and not the kind or record anyone wants to set. Due to their epic losing streak of placing last in each of the first four immunity challenges, Yanu never received their flint to help them make fire. That means they went 11 days without having fire or being able to cook any food — a fire-free record in the new era of the game that began with Survivor 41.

Luckily for Yanu, they finally came in second place in the fifth immunity contest this week, giving them immunity as well as a first introduction to the flint that would allow them to make fire. (Also luckily for Yanu, it appears next week will be the merge episode, meaning they will not have to fend for themselves and continue to fight for fire against the stronger Nami and Siga teams any longer.)

<p>Robert Voets/CBS</p> Kenzie Petty, Q Burdette, and Tiffany Nicole Ervin on 'Survivor 46'

Robert Voets/CBS

Kenzie Petty, Q Burdette, and Tiffany Nicole Ervin on 'Survivor 46'

But with one team essentially acting as the new era version of Survivor: Fiji’s Have Nots tribe and getting progressively weaker and weaker due to lack of nourishment, does Yanu’s flint-free futility streak make Jeff Probst rethink the penalty of the host taking it away (or not giving it to begin with) anytime a tribe comes in last place in a challenge?

That was the question posed to Probst on the latest edition of his On Fire With Jeff Probst podcast. So, Jeff, are you rethinking the flint penalty? “Absolutely not," the host says on the podcast. In fact, if anything, he's doubling down. “Let me get a bullhorn. The new era is here. Everyone earn everything. Penalties for losing. Yeah, expect more of that. This is what Survivor is about. If you want a ‘fun’ experience, go find another show. This is Survivor.”

According to Probst, while some contestants, like Hannah Rose and Sean Edwards, may tap out due to the harsh conditions, the desire to test one's limits is what draws so many players to the experience. “This is why people want it, because there is a penalty for losing, because you have to survive without a flint or whatever the condition is.”

<p>Robert Voets/CBS</p> Jeff Probst on 'Survivor 46'

Robert Voets/CBS

Jeff Probst on 'Survivor 46'

Probst — who has definitely upped his sass factor this season— also adds that he loves dishing out the penalties. “I loved keeping their flint — not because I love inflicting pain, but because it's a consequence, and Survivor has a lot of consequences. The biggest one is you get voted out and your game is over. So you lose an immunity, you lose a player, you lose your flint, you lose your morale, suddenly you're hungry or you lose your patience, and it just makes a moment when you do win, like this one, so satisfying.”

Plus, the loss of flint now becomes somebody else’s problem. “Now Siga has to go deal with this situation,” says Probst. “And their game is going to change as a result.”

One thing the host and showrunner has changed his mind on is bringing a bit of Survivor trivia back onto the show, as it did this week when Hunter McKnight had to risk his vote and put 20 Survivor season logos in chronological order. (He failed, earning scoffs from true Survivor superfans everywhere.) It was the type of game Probst was initially trying to move away from.

<p>Robert Voets/CBS</p> Hunter McKnight on 'Survivor 46'

Robert Voets/CBS

Hunter McKnight on 'Survivor 46'

“Personally, I've avoided doing trivia types of things related to Survivor,” he says. “And the reason is I always felt like it was too exclusionary. You have to be a massive Survivor fan. You have to be a fanatic to be able to put the logos in order, so you're not going to be as interested if you aren't. And I thought: Yeah, that's going to leave too many people out. And then I realized: In the same way that slide puzzles leave people out who can't do slide puzzles or logic problems, things like that. And I realized this was my own bias. So once that became clear to me that Survivor trivia is no different than other things that will appeal to some and won't appeal to others, then it became great to put it in the show.”

Not for Hunter, unfortunately.

To hear more from the host and showrunner about the latest episode, check out On Fire with Jeff Probst.

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