Survivor 41 fans can thank former contestant and Hollywood writer/director Mike White for keeping this new season fun.
Jeff Probst told Entertainment Weekly that he had a fully visualized twist idea ready to go for the latests season of Survivor, but decided to run it by someone who is arguably more creative than the Survivor producers. So he called Mike White, who is currently receiving heaps of praise for his latest hit series on HBO “The White Lotus.”
“I was in my garage with several white boards, working on creative for Survivor 41,” Probst told Entertainment Weekly. “I called Mike for his insight into a story-related element. He listened politely as I laid out the idea. It was an elaborate and very complicated Survivor capitalist society that would be driven by players earning money (Fire Tokens) and spending them on shelter, rewards, and advantages. When I finished the pitch, I asked him what he thought. He paused for a moment and said, ‘Well… it sounds … interesting … But is it fun?'”
Probst says he immediately changed his mind.
“I couldn’t erase the white boards fast enough,” he said. “I had spent well over a year working on this idea, and yet it still felt so good to throw it out because it was so clear that it sucked! I called [executive producer] Matt Van Wagenen and said, ‘Forget everything we’ve been working on! Throw it out! From now on, fun is the only thing that matters!'”
We’ve seen the fire tokens play out already, so I’m not sure if that whole concept has been scrapped, but it sounds like the focus of this season will be a lot more fun that those senseless tokens.
Probst continued: “Mike really gave me a gift because he not only pulled me out of an idea that would have really bogged down the game, but he connected me to a much bigger idea: After everything we have all gone through with COVID, we just need to have some fun. That became the driving creative focus on Survivor 41. Every time I would talk with Matt, one of us would ask the other, ‘Is it fun?'”
So what kind of Survivor fun are we in for? Probst gave EW a tease.
“What we soon realized was the best kind of Survivor fun is the dangerouskind,” Probst said. “So we really leaned into danger when crafting this season. We approached Survivor 41 as though the game was like the monster in a horror movie. Either you devour the monster, or the monster will devour you. And by giving the game the personality of a monster, it really sparked a lot of ideas. Suddenly anything was possible. There was no twist too big, too scary, too controversial. It didn’t matter. The game is the monster, and let me be clear, the monster is hungry.”
Survivor 41 premieres Sept. 22 at 8 PM EST. Be sure to join us here for the premier and fur our Survivor 2021 coverage all season long.