The Zhan Hu tribe, <EM>Survivor: China</EM> The Zhan Hu tribe, Survivor: China

The heat and humidity are "indescribable." The snakes are deadly. And China is one of Survivor's most difficult locations ever. Despite all that, host Jeff Probstspeaking by phone from the rugged camp near the vast man-made ZhelinLake in eastern Chinaadmits he'd like to stay longer. "Usually I want to go home," he says. "But if somebody said, ‘You have to stay another two weeks,' I'd say, ‘All right.'"

The CBS show, which has been granted unprecedented access to some of China's greatest sites, including the ShaolinTemple and the Great Wall, goes Chinese all the way. Probst says the first episode (premiering Sept. 20 at 8 pm/ET) involves a Buddhist ceremony, which a few tribe members find emotionally overwhelming. A 100-foot-tall replica of a historic temple has been built as the tribal-council set. Plus, players receive The Art of War (shop, Sun Tzu's sixth-century BC treatise on military strategy. They're going to need it. "Survivor is a war," Probst says. "The book deals with leadership and how you defeat the other tribe. It's interesting how much it plays into the game all the way through."

What follows is Probst's take on the Zhan Hu tribe. (Click here for his first look at the Fei Long tribe.)


29, Marina Del Rey, California; music-video dancer turned jeweler
Jeff’s take: "Historically, Peih-Gee's qualities don't bode well. She's quick with an opinion and she's got a lot of them. But Peih-Gee is a player — she's smart and knows how to work with people even though she may have no idea what they're saying behind her back. She understands you can be bossy and make it work."

37, Simi Valley, California; model/actor turned bartender
Jeff’s take: "Dave is crazy. To his credit, he's a workaholic but sometimes to a fault. He fully embraces The Art of War from a strategic point of view — like, how to work with his tribe. Dave jumps out in the first few days and he's a delight to watch in his zaniness. You'll remember Dave for sure."

26, Nashville, Tennessee; musician, model
Jeff’s take: "Erik is a throwback to old-school politeness. When we cast him, [Survivor: Africa winner] Ethan went through our heads. He's humble, quiet and a nice guy. There was something refreshing about him being exactly what he said he would be."

28, East Northport, New York; WWE SmackDown Diva, beauty queen, reality-show host
Jeff’s take: "Ashley is definitely fit. She told me in casting, ‘On a daily basis I get thrown from 15 feet in the air and land on my back. I think I can push some coconuts around. Put me on the show.' She's strong and she's mouthy and she spends a lot of time running around in very little clothing."

20, Chicago; film student, parkour expert
Jeff’s take: "He's a good kid who brings something new. Parkour is a mix of gymnastics and martial arts. When we saw his tape, we thought he could just fly over some of our obstacle walls. We've never had somebody that had his kind of physical gift — he'll do a backflip when he's bored. And he's a sharp kid, too. He gets it."

26, Atlanta; fourth-grade teacher
Jeff’s take: "Sherea is a fish out of water here, but she's a fighter. She is another person who will tell you what she's thinking. Sherea and a few others made me see the beauty and power of announcing who you are and being that person, because that makes you identifiable."

22, Columbia, South Carolina; college student
Jeff’s take: "Jaimie is a sorority girl and she's proud of it. The flip side is that's she's very bright. She speaks her mind and she actually makes some sense. She's very flirty, and she's good at it. I knew early on she was kind of the tribe mediator. She can hold her own — she's definitely not wimpy."

48, Marion, Virginia; former bouncer/fish breeder/logger turned chicken-farmer
Jeff’s take: "They don't make a lot of guys like Chicken anymore. He's an old-school, hardworking guy who knows what it is to build a shelter, get firewood, build a fire, try to catch fish — and then have lunch. If you put him around people who aren't his age and don't have his work ethic, he doesn't understand. He's going to have to adapt and it's not an easy task."

Click here for a first look at Survivor: China's Fei Long tribe.

The TV Guide Network presents a Survivor: China preview special Sept. 11 at 8 pm/ET.

Get the scoop on the new season of NCIS in the Aug. 20 issue of TV Guide. Try four risk-free issues now!

Send your comments on this feature to