For our money, Survivor's Jeff Probst is one of the least annoying reality hosts around. Of course, considering some of the dunces currently gracing the tube Joe Millionaire's Alex "Serves No Purpose" McLeod and Bachelorette's Chris "Nails on a Chalkboard" Harrison come to mind that's not saying much. But dammit if we're not growing fond of the well-tanned fella, who returns tonight to preside over the sixth edition of CBS's still-potent reality franchise, this one set in the Amazon (8 pm/ET). In honor of the occasion, we present Probst with the ultimate challenge: answering our Seven Silly Questions.
TV Guide Online: How long do you think Michael Jackson would last on Survivor?
Jeff Probst: He's a good snuggler and he likes animals, so, he might actually last longer than you think. There's also the freak factor. You'd want to keep him around because nobody's going to vote for him to win. And as long as it's not Survivor: Children, I think he's good to go.
Probst: Well, when the [raw] footage comes back, you have to review it all just so you know what's going on. TVGO: Right. Have you ever been hit on by a contestant?
Probst: (pausing) Yeah... You want names? TVGO: Of course.
Probst: I can't do names. I would never do that to somebody. TVGO: How'd it happen?
Probst: When it's over, there is a release of all of this energy, and most of it seems to be sexual. And so occasionally, I've had Survivors at one of the after parties say, 'Hey, what's going on... ?' But I've always had a great girlfriend, so I'm happy where I'm at. I will say there's been an inordinate amount of hooking up among former Survivors. TVGO: Now can you give me names?
Probst: (laughing) I'm sure I'll hear about this later, but dammit, people need to know: The Australian Outback cast probably holds the record for the most hook-ups. TVGO: Speaking of hooking up, what former player would you most (and least) likely form an alliance with?
Probst: The least would be Jerri Manthey. I just don't trust her. And she's good at manipulating men, and who knows, in a weak moment I might fall victim to that crazy, scorpion-like attitude. As far as who I would most likely form an alliance with, probably Colby Donaldson, because we're pretty good friends. TVGO: Have you seen Jerri on The Surreal Life?
Probst: We have a weekly poker game at my house and it's almost all Survivor guys, including Colby and three of the producers from the Australian Outback, and we played on that Wednesday the show premiered. We turned it on to watch Jerri's entrance and we all got a big kick out of her showing up... with a whole limo full of attitude. We kind of looked at each other and thought, 'What the hell are we doing watching this?' and we went back to cards, and we haven't seen it since. TVGO: Give me one reason why I shouldn't fast-forward through all of the challenges on Survivor: The Amazon?
Probst: (laughing) This is different, because it's men against women... and I think the challenges will be more fun than ever. Can the women do it? Are the guys really going to lose to these girls? TVGO: Um, still fast-forwarding.
Probst: At one challenge, nudity is involved... TVGO: Pausing now.
Probst: ... and some of the Survivors turn nudity into an advantage.
TVGO: Being a reality show veteran, I need your expert opinion on something: Do you really think it was Brian Dunkleman's decision to quit American Idol, or was he fired and that was just his spin?
Probst: Here's the truth. I happen to know [Idol host] Ryan Seacrest, and I felt for Brian because he was simply outmatched. Ryan hosts a live radio show every day [in L.A.], and I got home from [shooting Survivor:] Thailand and saw the very end of American Idol. I was amazed at how Ryan completely stole that show from Dunkleman. I was thinking, 'If you want a textbook case on how to steal a show from your co-host, just watch the last six or seven episodes of American Idol.' Poor Brian, he didn't have a chance in hell. Not to mention, you don't need two guys.
TVGO: Interesting... but you still haven't answered the question.
Probst: (long pause) If you watched American Idol, I think the answer is painfully obvious.
For a preview of tonight's 90-minute Survivor: The Amazon premiere, click here.