by Dudi Caspi
Probst, 50, who won 4 consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program, is set to debut his very own syndicated daytime talk show “The Jeff Probst Show” on CBS starting September 10. But Survivor is still on his mind, as he exclusively reveals in an interview in Los Angeles that he really likes the Israeli version. “I just watched it six months ago (for the first time)”, says Probst, I know what it takes to make a show look a certain way and it looks really good”.
DC: Did the Israeli version live up to your standards?
JP: “Now that we’ve done it long enough, I can see that show and know what they’re going through from a production point of view to pull that off. I don’t know what the budget of the show was, but I loved the production value the Israeli guys got. It’s a big show to do.”
DC: What were your thoughts on your Israeli equivalent, host Guy Zu-Aretz?
JP: “I was charmed that he kind of resembled me. I like the look though I didn’t know what he was saying, but I approved.”
The Israeli version of “Survivor” debuted in late 2007 to huge ratings and became an instant phenomenon. Since then buzz and ratings have gradually dwindled down, but the show managed to rejuvenate itself with the current sixth season, an all celebrity edition. The show has consistantly pulled off amazing ratings for Israel’s channel 10 and has become the summer’s hottest show.
However it is now also in the center of an industry battle, as Reshet Broadcasting bought rights to produce future seasons of the show, unbeknownst to financially troubled Channel 10 executives. Meanwhile reports of more celebrity editions are rumored to be in the works, yet none are on the horizon for the US version. But viewers can expect some familiar faces on the 25th season, premiering Septemeber 19 on CBS, which will include 3 returning castaways who were medically evacuated from their previous seasons.”What’s tough for us in doing a celebrity version is schedules”, admits Probst, “We’ve hovered around it for a while but we can never get enough people that we want at the same time to be available”.
DC: So an idea was in the works at one point?
JP: “Yes, but the minute we started to get a little momentum, somebody just said “I’m sorry, I just got a movie”. So I think it’s unlikely to happen. But our celebrity version is when we bring back our own Survivor all-stars”.
DC: What can we expect from your upcoming daytime show?
JP: “I’m gearing up for the debut, we’re trying to do something different like everybody else is as well. Really my focus is to choose stories that interest me, or entertain me, wither make me laugh or move me, or annoy me – some sort of an emotion. And we’ve got some ideas on how to package it in a way that will hopefully grab an audience”.