You may have seen in the news recently that Jeff Probst is apparently in trouble with his wife over Survivor. Allegedly he has been told to quit the show to focus more on his family life with his wife and step-children. One should consider the source of this news. Radar Online is not exactly the most credible place on the web and is more of a Zellers version to TMZ’s Walmart. Then again, who would just go on the internet to tell lies?
Regardless of how fake or real this piece of news may be, it acts as an excuse to have a fun little exercise in thought. Who would replace Jeff Probst as host of Survivor, provided they don’t just outright stop doing the show without him? Plenty of choices are abound. Some think they should look outside the franchise for a fresh face. Others point to certain people already in production. Those are both legitimate choices of many different people but not very fun for us.
Let’s stick to Survivor alumni who might step in and fill the role in Jeff’s absence. Now we have all heard the obvious ones. Colby Donaldson could do a fine job having been the host of Top Shot and Jeff would recommend him highly considering that Jeff is in love with Colby. Jonathan Penner gets tossed around a lot since he’s a three-timer with a lot of on-screen experience as an actor. He also has a relationship with Probst, though it may be slightly more adversarial than Colby’s. John Cochran and Boston Rob are two other legends that Probst loves to bring up as much as possible and have charisma that translates for many on screen. Parvati Shallow is an undeniable Survivor legend who already hosts Survivor related segments and shows and would be a fun twist on the whole thing.
There, those are the five most obvious answers someone will throw out whenever they talk about replacing Jeff. We got them out of the way in one paragraph so we can move on from them. It’s likely that those are actually the top Survivor alumni candidates but no one wants to read an article about the same five names over and over. Let’s move on and give you my list of slightly… quirkier picks.
Jeff would roll over in his grave if they brought in the OG quitter to take over his spot. It would be fantastic to see Osten have to go out and location and deal with the elements that defeated him over and over. The same way Jeff clearly loves his gig as host, Osten would probably openly hate it. Sign me up right now.
“39 days, 20 people, 1 Survivor and some ass”.
She’s intelligent, eloquent and attractive. The one problem is that it would get repetitive to see every season with the cast deciding to award Kim the million dollars over them.
Heidi Hamels (aka Heidi Strobel)
The minute they offered her Jeff’s position, Heidi knew she was going to be the host of Survivor.
He’s got the physical ability required to do Jeff’s job. He wouldn’t be afraid to do the ballsy stunts Jeff likes to do when shooting the intro package for a season given his history with ballsy moves. J.T. is personable and intelligent while also obviously understanding how Survivor functions. The only problem is that we would need captions for his tribal councils and they would last doubly long because the players wouldn’t be able to understand what he’s saying.
She has a little bit of Jeff in her.
If you want to keep the tradition of having someone asking the tough questions at tribal, Randy is your man. He would go in on everybody for being useless at everything. As an added bonus, it would be fun to see his PTSD every time a fake idol is played.
Just don’t do a Survivor: Kids Edition.
She’s got the survival background down pat. The only downside would be seeing the host of Survivor cry every time somebody is voted out or treated unfairly by their tribe.
Tribal council could be turned into story time with Coach. He would love to do the play-by-play for the challenges and would get extremely dramatic with it. Instead of voting people out as the players want, they now have to start voting people off based on strength. Except when it doesn’t fit with their plans in the game.
Imagine the questions she would ask at tribal council. “So tell me Bobby, why are you so retarded and gay?” The show would also get a free sponsor from Gigi’s restaurant. There’s nothing like a filet mignon from there, at least that’s what I hear.
I am just picturing the reaction if a random non-entity like Daniel was picked to take over Jeff’s spot. Hardcore fans would be completely confused while the people who only watch seasons live would likely not even know he played Survivor. Watching recruits trying to talk about Daniel’s game would be fun too. “Oh yeah I really admired the way Dan played the game”.
He did dress like Probst that one time. He would also be comically mean to the players he didn’t like and would call challenges like he was cutting a wrestling promo.
Attention! Serious candidates below.
For people who clicked on this article expecting a serious answer, I can give you two as a way to appease you.
After Survivor, Andrea has gone on to work for People’s television and digital factions. She has interviewed countless celebrities and former Survivor players and her bubbly personality really translates on the screen.
It doesn’t hurt that Andrea is stunningly beautiful and has a great smile. That said, Andrea is also very intelligent and has a natural ability for Survivor. To host the show, you have to understand how it actually works and Andrea would have no problems with that.
We’ve also seen her get angry over her three seasons which is a good thing. Being too nice as a host will get you walked all over. It took Jeff a few seasons to really understand that he needed to be firmer with the players and that’s when his legacy really took off. Andrea’s mean side would need to come out at tribal council when she is looking for good information from contestants who are trying to say as little as possible.
Since she is still so young, Andrea could start hosting the show and hold onto the gig for decades. Considering Survivor is so inexpensive and profitable for CBS, anybody who wants to see Survivor on the air for as long as possible should hope for an Andrea to come along. She would represent the stability in the franchise that Jeff has represented since the beginning.
First of all, nobody does a Jeff Probst impression better than Rob Cesternino. It’s not one he pulls out as often as his Penner or his Paulie Calafiore from Big Brother but in my opinion it’s his best.
Besides that, nobody has done more work in developing how fans ingest Survivor as a television show. There are billions of Survivor podcasts nowadays but Rob has a Podcast is really what helped fans find a medium where they can really talk about the show. Rob has transformed something that many spent an hour a week thinking about and turned that into multiple hours after one has listened to each of his weekly podcasts. Rob clearly loves Survivor and talking about it.
As a podcast host with legitimate guests, Rob has also had the chance to develop his interviewing skills. He is extremely good at asking questions that aren’t softballs while maintaining respect for his guest. Few people ever feel attacked by Rob during an interview but he still manages to pull out interesting nuggets from each person that comes by. That is something that would be a requisite as host of tribal council and I don’t think any Survivor alumni can come as close to Rob in terms of equaling Jeff in tribal.
Rob has in-depth knowledge of the show and its history. He’s done the Evolution of Strategy for which he had to go back and re-watch every season of Survivor. By this point, he probably remembers more of Guatemala than Probst does himself. Not only would Rob be good on camera, his reverence for the show would probably come off as very genuine.
An added bonus in choosing Rob: he has an extensive background in video editing. Maybe he isn’t doing things as big as Survivor but Rob would be able to throw in a helping hand to fill the hole Jeff would leave on the production side of things too. No one else can claim that.