Here’s How Jeff Probst Feels About This Week’s ‘Survivor’ Tribal Council

Robert VoetsCBS

The second episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction aired this week. As die-hard fans of the CBS reality series know, it isn’t that uncommon for votes to be split when they head to tribal council to vote someone off this early into the season. The castaways – like the viewers – are just getting to know everyone, and it takes a bit of time for lines to be drawn in the sand.

Warning: The remainder of this article contains spoilers from this week’s episode.

As those who watched this week’s episode of Survivor know, there were a few clear targets when the Manu tribe lost the immunity challenge and headed to tribal council. The first – and most painfully obvious – target was Keith Sowell. The very young castaway had a target on his back from day one because he couldn’t swim.

Wendy Diaz had a target on her back — carrying over from last week — thanks to her loyalty to Reem Daly, who Manu voted out in the Season 39 premiere. Several members of the tribe, however, agreed that the combination of Wendy’s loyalty and her ability to participate in competitions made her an asset they needed if they want to start winning challenges.

The third target that emerged in this week’s episode was Kelley Wentworth. Being a returning castaway that has participated in previous seasons of the game, Wentworth entered the game with many a wary eye on her.

When it comes to returning castaways being mixed in with people who have never played before, there are two directions the newbies can take – they can either see the experienced castaway as an asset because of their knowledge and experience, or they can see the experienced castaway as a threat. If they adopt the latter philosophy, they may attempt to vote the experienced player out in order to even the playing field.

The Manu Tribe competes on SURVIVOR: Edge of Extinction
The Manu TribeFeatured image credit: Robert VoetsCBS Entertainment

While we are only two episodes into Season 38, there have been many conversations wherein the newbies have pointed out the fact that the returning castaways already had their turn — and that it was time for the newbies to have a chance to win. Despite there being two returning castaways in the tribe, David Wright has managed to fly under the radar, unlike his fellow returnee castaway, Kelley.

Entertainment Weekly sat down with Jeff Probst after the episode aired, to discuss his thoughts on the way tribal council went down. Namely, they asked if he thought Chris made the right decision in voting out Keith – who was clearly a liability in challenges – when he had agreed to be completely loyal to anyone who would have him.

Jeff Probst returns to host Season 38 of Survivor
Jeff ProbstFeatured image credit: Timothy KuratekCBS Entertainment

According to Probst, Chris made the right decision in voting Keith out.

“This is one of the mistakes that I think people make in the early day. They build an alliance with someone who has little value to anyone else in the tribe. Yes, you may gain an ally, but if your ally is a liability to the tribe, you’ve just taken on that liability,” Jeff explained to Entertainment Weekly.


Probst went on to explain the only situation where keeping a castaway like Keith makes sense is if you can find a way to use him to your advantage – such as a scapegoat – later in the game. The Survivor host, however, made sure it was crystal clear that keeping a player like Keith in the game was always going to be a “calculated risk.”

For the most part, fans of the CBS reality series who took to Twitter agreed that Keith was the right choice.

New episodes of Survivor air on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST, only on CBS.