Jeff Probst Says ‘Survivor’ Producers Didn’t Know About Major Link Between Two Players

Jeff Probst hosts Tribal Council on Survivor
Robert Voets / CBS

The October 23 episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols revealed that two competitors in the Lairo tribe had a major connection outside of the game. It was revealed that Kellee Kim goes to business school with Dean Kowalski’s girlfriend. This was not a twist that Survivor producers had planned, and longtime show host Jeff Probst is clearing it up for fans of the show who feel it’s an unfair advantage.

“We had no idea about their connection. When we are in the casting phase of the show, we do extensive background checks, psychological profiles, thorough medical tests, and lots and lots of time just spent talking with each player about their life. I’m very impressed with the information we uncover. But occasionally an overlapping social connection happens and it’s on the players to figure out how to navigate it within the game,” he explained to Entertainment Weekly.

Probst went on to say that Kellee and Dean are exploiting their relationship, which the host believes can work against them. He used the example of Dean’s flirt partner Chelsea Walker, who was sent home earlier in the season because of the pair’s budding relationship.

This odd connection between Kellee and Dean is reminiscent of this past season of Big Brother. There were two major connections between two pairs of houseguests and fans were outraged from the get-go regarding this twist that wasn’t a twist.

Christie Murphy and Tommy Bracco had known each other for years since the former dated the later’s aunt for quite some time. The pair did not know they would both be walking into the Big Brother house and many still believe production was in on it, even though they never took credit for it.

Kathryn Dunn and Holly Allen knew one another as well, since both women have competed in the same pageant circle for years.

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Island of the Idols already has a big enough twist as it is, without including two competitors who know each other. Survivor legends Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine have been playing a role in the game where each episode they coach a competitor by teaching them a skill to help them win the game. If they master the skill and pass a test, they will be granted an idol from the former Survivor winners. Rob and Sandra were not met by any players this past episode, but they did sit in on tribal council in secret as usual.

Survivor: Island of the Idols airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.