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How To Win Friends and Influence Jeff Probst To Cast You on ‘Survivor’

By Emma Chance | TV | September 19, 2023 |

By Emma Chance | TV | September 19, 2023 |


Survivor is entering its 45th season, and if season 44 taught us anything, it’s that the success of the show hinges on casting. In this new era that has been the challenge; there hasn’t been a Boston Rob, Cirie, or Ozzy to root for, or root against. Not until Carolyn of season 44, that is, whose popularity hopefully reminded Jeff Probst and his team of the task at hand.

But just what are they looking for, exactly? “First of all, there has to be drive,” says Probst. “That should seem obvious, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes people apply and even though they say and do all the right things, you can tell that the drive just isn’t there. And if we don’t sense a real need to be on this show, then we know it’s not the right time for you.”

So, basically, you have to want it. That was maybe a given back in the old days when there was still something to prove by being on the show. Now that there have been so many seasons, though, how much variation upon the themes of “geeky guy makes alliances with everybody,” “strong guy thinks he’s the leader but gets voted off first,” and “mom makes it to the end and then has to explain how she did it,” can there be?

Drive isn’t everything, though. “Do you know who you are?” asks Probst. A simple question. “If you haven’t spent time reflecting on who you are or if you don’t have a circle of friends who will tell you who you are, you need to know how you see yourself. And it really helps if you have an idea of how the world sees you because they’re not always the same.”

Sorry, but is Jeff Probst telling Survivor hopefuls to get their birth chart read? “Know who you are,” that’s your core identity or sun sign, having “friends who will tell you who you are” and having an “idea of how the world sees you,” well, that’s your rising sign, also known as the mask you present to the world. That leaves “how you see yourself,” which can only be your moon sign because it represents who you are when you’re alone.

So, to recap: we have to have an intimate understanding of our astrological charts and we have to want it. Like, really want it.

But wait, one more bit of advice from our fearless leader:

“Where some people can trip themselves up a little is trying to be something that they’re not. If you try to anticipate what you think we’re looking for, or if you see somebody on a season that was really popular and you try to emulate what they did, it’s not going to work.”

OK, you got that? That means don’t try to be the next Boston Rob, or Cirie, or Ozzy (please don’t do that, he was so annoying), or Carolyn. The former alcoholic-hippie-mom thing isn’t gonna be cute a second time. Jeff Probst wants you to be yourself.

Season 45 of Survivor premieres September 27th on CBS.