Jeff Probst Teases Big ‘Survivor’ Change

Jeff Probst is embracing the new era of Survivor. Ahead of the Season 46 premiere of the Emmy-winning CBS show, the executive producer and host opened up on Rob Has a Podcast about the shift in the tone of Survivor since Season 40's Winners at War era, teasing that he's "bringing back [his] edge" moving forward.

In the "new era" of Survivor, the show has focused more on the individual journies of the contestants as opposed to the more drama and villain-centric seasons of the past, a change Probst thinks has been for the better. "By merely changing the type of twists we put into the game, we can create negativity," he told Survivor alum and podcast host Rob Cesternino. "It's a manipulation, and it's, what's the conceit of the show? I'm not interested in [the negativity] anymore, and I think it's a direct reflection not only of where the show was but of how it needed to evolve."

Probst continued that it was Mark Burnett, Survivor's original executive producer, who brought more of the villainry and drama out, noting, "I mean, the first person to win was one of the biggest villains still of all time, Richard Hatch." However, Probst himself isn't focused on the same aspects of the game. "In the hands of somebody else, I can tell you, for sure, there would be more 'villains,' more negativity, more yelling at each other," he stated. "It's just not going to happen when I'm part of the show. I'm just not interested in it. There's too many other things we could do and still have fun."

Probst did address criticism that he's grown to be too "soft" in recent seasons, specifically when handling contestants who have quit the show. "I hear all the time from people, 'I'm too soft,' and I am bringing back my edge," Probst hinted. "I'm aware I got a little soft. And so, I am going to put a knife in the bag of rice every so often. I can still find that part of me."

"Generally speaking, I like where the show is," he added. "And I hear from enough families that say, 'We love Survivor. We want our kids to see it. We want them imagining they can be on the show and all that stuff.'"

Survivor Season 46 premieres Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.