With the addition of the Edge of Extinction twist to Survivor, at the end of each Tribal Council this season we see the voted-off contestant walking down the path and then having to make the choice on whether to continue playing or give up. And then the episode ends. What this means, however, is that we are not seeing the famous final words of wisdom Jeff Probst used to always make to the tribe after the voted-out person had departed and before sending those still in the game on their way.
Sometimes, it was an observation. Other times, an ominous warning. Often, there was advice. Occasionally even, a compliment. Whatever the message was, it always served as a fitting punctuation mark to the episode. Since these final words of wisdom have been missing all season, it got us wondering: Did Jeff Probst actually say the words of wisdom at the end of each Tribal Council? And, if so, how does it feel for him to have them cut out of the episodes? EW launched a full-scale investigation to get the bottom of this hot-button controversy.
“Yes, I said them,” Probst exclusively tells EW. “No, I don’t miss them.”
Jeff Probst does not miss the final words of wisdom? SACRILEGE! What’s next, getting rid of the Rites of Passage?!? Oh, wait…
Seriously, though, why does the host not miss showing his send-off to the tribe? WHY, JEFF?!? “Because even though they are a part of our show, our show is ever-changing,” says Probst. “And we have to be willing to let go of certain things to open the door for others.”
Not only does Probst not miss the final words of wisdom, but he reveals that he actually tried to get them out of a popular international edition of the show. “When I was talking with Jonathan LaPaglia about hosting Australian Survivor, he asked me about the final words,” says Probst when pressed further on the topic. “He wondered if we did them live or came in later and shot a bunch at the end of the season. I said we do everything live, which is why I encourage you to not do them! He laughed, but I was half-serious. I suggested that it’s just one more element you have to come up with at the end of a long night that comes on the heels of a long day. But to his credit, he didn’t listen to me.”
Could the words of wisdom be a permanent thing of the past? Doubtful. While they have been edited out to end the episodes with voted-out contestants taking the torch to go Extinction Island, it would feel odd for seasons without the twist to not have a proper Probst send-off. But rest assured in the knowledge that the Edge of Extinction contestants were indeed privy to the host’s sage sound bites at the end of each and every Tribal Council, even if viewers were not. Thus concludes the latest case of EW Investigates.