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March 21, 2007: The Cinderella Man

Sometimes nothing is sweeter than hearing Jeff Probst utter three delicious words. Drop your buffs. There is promise in that command and for a season like this one where — oh god, don't make me rehash it! Let's just say that realigning Moto and Ravu was the most entertaining Survivor has been since Sundra and Becky faced off over a fire-making challenge in the Cook Islands. What would we do this season if Ravu and Moto had not mixed it up with a schoolyard pick? Now the poor-camp dwellers are Edgardo, Alex, Dreamz, Mookie, Rocky and Anthony. On the rich side of the island are Earl, Yau Man, Michelle, Cassandra, Boo and Stacy. Odd-woman out, Lisi, after a stint on Exile Island, later joined the poor camp. Ravu lucked out by having Edgardo, Alex and Dreamz join their team. All three come across as decent, open-minded guys. The kind of men who would call Rocky on his disparaging description of Anthony as effeminate and boost morale by catching fish when all previous efforts to do ... read more

March 8, 2007: Live! From My Living Room

OK, I'm going to blog live tonight. Bear with me, please, I'm tired and I need to go to bed.So here we go: Earl and Yau-man, the only two Ravu members to have gone to Exile Island, decide to work together to find the idol. Earl, who is really quite good-looking, manages to get the whole tribe to go hunting for food, leaving Yau-man to dig at the cave. Why no one questions Yau-man's staying at the camp is beyond me, but whatever, they're hungry. Given this opportunity, it would behoove Yau-man to actually search for the idol rather than complain to the cameraman that he can't dig with only a machete. I'm just saying.This week the teams get to choose their reward before the reward challenge. Moto chooses toiletries because, you know, they don't need any food. Jeff explains that it's a one-on-one fighting challenge and as if on cue, Rocky picks one with Dre. They tussle and Rocky loses — as if we didn't see that coming. Oh dear, Moto leads three to one. Four to one. Boo trounces ... read more

March 1, 2007: "I'm Not Being Negative, I'm Stating the Obvious"

Let me tell you why I like Survivor. This show is always willing to mix it up. Call it a course correction, if you will. For example, say you have the brilliant idea to have one tribe live in luxury while the other lives, well, not in luxury, in the hopes that this will make for one kick-ass season. And let's say that as time goes by the rich tribe actually does kick the poor tribe's ass. Repeatedly. You worry that maybe, just maybe, the season could be a bit of a snoozer. What do you do? You course-correct. You whip out a little green bottle with a mysterious note, and you hope for the best. To recap, downtown Ravu has lost every challenge against uptown Moto. Every challenge. This starving tribe couldn't even win last week's food challenge for crying out loud — and let me tell you, Rocky certainly did. For a guy who can't abide whining, he's got that skill down pat. It's bad enough that Rocky morphed into Archie Bunker and started tossing the B-word around (that's "broad" fo... read more

February 22, 2007: Slip-sliding Away

OK, so we had a little action this week. And by little I mean watching Michelle make fire with her glasses. At least we had two challenges instead of the combo immuno-reward thing the show had been sporting for the past weeks. Regardless, Ravu lost both, but still it was entertaining. Perhaps because there were no puzzles to solve. The reward challenge involved grown men and women throwing themselves, face-forward, down a slick mat and then tossing a ball into a basket. Simple? Sure. Enjoyable? You bet. It's not often that you see a person actually try to swim on land and kudos to Sylvia for that brave effort. Yau-Man versus Dre at the net (thank god we're not calling him Dreamz anymore) was unexpectedly nail-biting. The Rita/Cassandra face-off was exciting, but can we please get these ladies some support? You know what I mean. Would it kill Victoria's Secret to sponsor the show and give some of these women Survivor's first underwire buffs?On to the torturous immunity challenge. Yes... read more

February 15, 2007: Pineapple Power

Forgive me for saying this, but Survivor: Fiji is shaping up to be a little schizophrenic. On the one hand, you have this newfangled show where the living is easy for one tribe. I mean come on, when have you ever heard "I'm full" on this show before any team has won a feast? Then you have the real Survivor. Tried and true, it's the one we know and love and that keeps us watching every season. It's the one where you see a group of hungry, dehydrated people desperately rubbing sticks together to make fire. Nowadays, it's as if I’m watching one show with two different intensity levels. On one level, I felt badly for Boo — even though he is one of the 'haves' — when his hammock broke after his slew of mishaps, but not nearly as intensely as I felt for that thirsty 'have-not' tribe. So I'm a little frazzled. What am I supposed to feel and for whom? It's so easy to root for the downtrodden that I find myself trying not to like Ravu. Who wants to fall for the blatant manipul... read more

February 8, 2007: One Big Happy Family

All right, I’m worried. 1) We're coming off of a great season of Survivor: Cook Islands, so Fiji has a lot to live up to, and 2) Burnett is using that whole rich man, poor man accommodations twist that's going on over at The Apprentice. I didn't like it there. I'm concerned about its use here. I mean, It's hard for me to believe that I'm already watching a new season of Survivor. Just six months ago we watched as four strategically separated tribes made their way to individual islands in what was thought to be the most controversial season of the show ever. Now here we are again, watching another diverse group of people begin a month-long journey toward a million dollars. But already there is a difference. Survivor: Fiji, perhaps very deliberately, begins as one nameless tribe of 19. Gone is the hype of Cook Islands that got our attention but fizzled rather quickly. On Fiji, everyone spends their first day in the game building a luxury shelter and sorting themselves out. A l... read more

Survivor: Fiji: Two Idols, Two Twists and Lotsa Snakes!

Jeff Probst previews Survivor: Fiji.

One of the much-hyped twists on CBS' Survivor: Fiji, which kicks off tonight at 8 pm/ET, is having one group of contestants lounge in the lap of luxury while another is left with the bare minimum of supplies and no food. Cool concept, but it sounds oddly familiar, because, say, The Apprentice: Los Angeles is employing a similar idea this season. And both shows share Mark Burnett as an executive producer. Just a coinkidink? Survivor host Jeff Probst insists that that is absolutely the case. "Mark runs his shows very independently," he tells TVGuide.com. "I can tell you that this was an idea that was born organically from us, because I was sitting there as we discussed it and decided to do it read more

Yul's Tidings: The Survivor Cook Islands Champ Speaks Out!

Yul Kwon, Survivor: Cook Islands

On Sunday night's nail-biting Survivor: Cook Islands finale, Yul Kwon narrowly beat out tough competitor Ozzy by one vote to emerge as champion. The Stanford and Yale grad, who was often called "the puppet master" or "Godfather" by fellow players, was happy that his strategic game paid off and that he was able to pocket the million-dollar check. TVGuide.com spoke to Yul in the wee hours of the morning after his big win to find out how he's planning on spending his winnings, and why he looked so shell-shocked after being announced the sole survivor. TVGuide.com: Good morning, how are you doing? Yul Kwon: Good. I'm still sleep-deprived, but I'm living the dream. TVGuide.com: You looked stunned throughout th read more

December 17, 2006: The Aitu Four

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was a season that certainly had it’s ups and downs, but if Survivor:Cook Islands were a movie, it would be up for an Oscar.Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration, I present the best of Cook Islands.The Best Challenges:Sure, we had a few recycled challenges, but someone on that staff got a shot of creativity that brought us some truly innovative, interesting and challenging competitions.These last two immunity challenges had me literally on the edge of my seat. Squarely in Aitu’s corner, it was near torture seeing Adam as a real threat to an all-Aitu final four.Ozzy’s come-from-behind win in the spider web/puzzle challenge was reality television at its best. It wasn’t his physical prowess that amazed me the most this time — I didn’t even know he had a brain until he wowed me by solving that compass-rose puzzle.Then there was the final immunity challenge. I loved that vanishing platform. How ... read more

December 14, 2006: The True Puppet Master

For some reason I really thought Parvati would end up in the finals. Not due to any true game play on her part, but merely out of some cosmic irony. Rarely have I seen a castaway who has done as little as she. I was wrong. Even with the seismic tremors at Aitu — Becky and Sundra maneuvering to oust Ozzy — the easily influenced Yul pulled his strings and chose Adam as the Raro member most worthy of staying.As much as Yul denies it, he is the top dog on the island, and he wears the Puppet Master title well. The thing is, even though he is the whole Survivor package — smart, strong, has ripped abs — he thinks too much and that overactive brain may just knock him out of the game. In case you hadn't noticed because you were distracted by Yul's mud-caked torso, there will be five people in the finals! Five relatively strong competitors. Seriously, who thought Sundra would last this long? After the first merge, Flicka was in a better position than the alliance-free ... read more

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