Jeff Probst Admitted Survivor’s Worst Ever Twist Went Too Far

 Jeff Probst In Survivor.
Credit: CBS

With a podcast that covers each episode and a willingness to do interviews with various media outlets, Jeff Probst is typically a lot more available than most other reality competition hosts. For better or worse, the longtime face of Survivor is typically willing to address just about anything related to the beloved game, but that doesn’t mean he always shares the same perspective as fans. That was especially clear after Season 41 and Season 42’s infamous Hourglass Twist, but years later, he’s apparently had a change of heart and is now taking accountability for the infuriating mishap.

The twist in question is well known to most Survivor fans, but to make sure we’re on the same page, let me recap quickly. During Season 41 and again during Season 42, the castaways were split into two teams and given a chance to win their way into the merge. Those from the winning team would make the final tribe, and those from the losing team would be eligible for elimination with the loser not making the jury. Each time, two players were held out of the competition and one was sent to a separate island and later given the choice to either reverse the results of the mergetory challenge and be safe with the losers or keep the results of the challenge and be up for elimination with the losers. Obviously they both decided to give themselves immunity and change the results.

The Season 41 castaways were especially vicious about the twist and called Jeff out on how stupid and illogical it was, even calling him a liar for saying the team that won would be safe. Fans too were near unanimous in their condemnation of the twist, saying it was unfair and basically forced the marooned player to change the results. Probst himself, however, was initially defensive of the twist. He claimed in an interview that fans were split and some “really liked it,” though he did say it wouldn't be used again. A few years later, he walked that back a bit on his podcast and admitted the twist was ill-conceived, and this past week, he gave an interview where he fully admitted he “went too far” with the hourglass. Here’s a portion of the quote he gave to Variety

The idea was ‘dangerous fun’ … And I went too far. I loved the title. I had it on my whiteboard for 10 years and I knew it’d never work. But I just got a little drunk on the idea of dangerous fun, and boy did I hear about it!

Since its premiere all the way back in 2000, Survivor has almost relentlessly innovated and changed. Some fundamental components like hidden immunity idols weren’t added until later seasons, and of course, each new trip to Fiji typically features at least one or two wrinkles we’ve never seen before. Fans, of course, always have loud opinions about every single one of these changes, no matter how minor. Most of the time, there’s a mix of perspectives on the alteration, but now and again, almost the entire fanbase coalesces around one viewpoint, which is what happened with the stupid hourglass.

Still, you have to give Jeff credit for putting himself and the show out there and consistently trying new things. As much as I love everything about Survivor 1, the show wouldn’t still be on the air almost twenty-five years later if it kept its exact format. Yes, sometimes that means producers meddle too much. Yes, sometimes that means we end up with nonsense like the Hourglass Twist. Yes, that means we’re currently stuck on the infinitely worse 26 days format, but it also means we have ways to differentiate each season, a steady stream of new choices for players to make and are never entirely sure what we’re about to see next.