‘I WOULDN'T LAST A WEEK ON SUR­VIVOR’

Herald Sun - Switched On - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW FEN­TON EN­TER­TAIN­MENT WRITER

Fif­teen years and 30 sea­sons af­ter it helped spark the world­wide re­al­ity TV ob­ses­sion, Sur­vivor is still go­ing strong.

While it may never again see view­ing fig­ures like the 52 mil­lion who tuned in to watch soon-to-be-tax-cheat Richard Hatch win the sea­son one fi­nale, it re­mains a favourite among re­al­ity TV afi­ciona­dos.

Host and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Jeff Probst has been there from the be­gin­ning, dis­patch­ing hopes and dreams with his catch­phrase: “The tribe has spo­ken. It’s time for you to go.”

New se­ries Sur­vivor: Worlds Apart delves deep into class war­fare, pit­ting tribes of blue col­lar work­ers against white col­lar — and “no col­lar” work­ers (co­conut ven­dors, YouTube sen­sa­tions and the like).

The four-time Emmy win­ner says the show lives or dies on the strength of its cast­ing.

“I’m al­ways amazed at how much time we spend on cast­ing,” he says. “We have a full team and they’re work­ing al­most year round on Sur­vivor.”

They’re al­ready cast­ing for sea­sons 31 and 32 and, as usual, there’s a short­age of suit­able women. “We can find lippy, loud­mouth, weird guys all day ev­ery day, but find­ing a woman who wants to do it … and has the per­son­al­ity is tough,” he says.

Heart­break­ing sto­ries don’t play well on Sur­vivor. Probst re­calls the cast­ing team were “bored” when one woman came in with tragic story about the emo­tional im­pact of los­ing her hus­band. The next hope­ful came in with a funny story about eat­ing potato chips. “We’re on the floor laugh­ing,” he says. “Which guy got on the show? The potato chip guy.”

Probst, who will give bru­tally hon­est feed­back on au­di­tion vids if you tweet him a link, knows he wouldn’t last a week on the show.

“My clos­est friends said: ‘Probst, you’d be out so fast’ and I was shocked,” he says. “The thing I thought was my as­set — words, ver­bal — are not nearly as charm­ing as I think they are.

“And they said: ‘Oh no, you would piss some­body off pretty quick and they’d vote you out.’

“I now know that to be true.”

“I’m al­ways amazed at how much time we spend

on cast­ing”

JEFF PROBST ON GET­TING IT RIGHT

SUR­VIVOR: WORLDS APART, GO! THURS­DAY, 9.30PM

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