That time I met Jeff Probst

If you’ve been following me on social media, you know that yesterday I went to a media screening event in NYC for the season premiere of SURVIVOR: Kaoh Rong.

You guys. IT. WAS. SO. MUCH. FUN.

Not only did we get to see most of the season premiere (they cut it off right before they showed who got voted out, to a chorus of groans from the audience), but we also were treated to a Q&A and meet and greet with host and executive producer, Jeff Probst, and two former contestants, Parvati Shallow and Steven Fishbach. (That more than made up for the way they left us hanging at the end of the episode.)

jeff talking

I’ve been a Survivor fan since the beginning. I think I’ve only missed two out of their 32 seasons, so when I got the invitation to this event, I was determined to make it happen.

Yesterday morning, my friend Sarah and I hopped a train in Hamilton, NJ, bound for Penn Station. After dropping our bags at our hotel, we cabbed it over to CBS Radio studio for the event.

cupcakes

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew Jeff and Parvati and Steven “Fishbach” would be there, but I had no idea if we would have any time to talk to them one-on-one, or how many other people would be there vying for their attention.

As it turned out, it was a fairly small and intimate gathering, and after the official Q&A, Jeff, Parvati, and Steve hung out and mingled and chatted with us for almost an hour. They were so down to earth and nice and seemed genuinely interested in talking with us.

Of course I had to have my fan girl moment and hopped up on stage to get a picture with Jeff.

jl jeff

It was so much fun hearing them reminisce about past seasons, and I was surprised by how much they shared about their personal opinions — especially Jeff.

He admitted that his favorite season was the last one because every single person played hard. He talked about the evolution of the game over the years and even went into how they select contestants for the show.

One thing I found interesting and insightful is that he doesn’t think some of the winners of past seasons would be compelling today. I have to agree. The game has changed over the years, and the contestants have become smarter and more strategic about how they play.

buffs

I asked how it affects the contestants to hear Jeff’s commentary during the challenges, and Parvati and Fishbach shared some fun anecdotes about that.

Someone also asked about where Jeff and the camera crew and producers stay while they’re filming — hint, it’s not posh. They build little modular houses for them with air conditioning, but sometimes they don’t even have bathrooms.

“Not one single second of SURVIVOR is staged,” explained Jeff, when someone asked if the worms they eat are real.

At another point, he said, “We make the show for the fans.” His passion for the game is palpable. I think he could have talked about it for hours.

interview 2

Jeff also gave us a tease about what’s to come this season. Episode 4, he says, is “one of the most compelling episodes we’ve ever done — in terms of truly being scary and wondering what’s going to happen. We break the walls down and let you see behind the scenes about what happens if chaos strikes.” He assured us that we will see how good they are in crisis situations, so I can’t wait to see what THAT’S all about.

You can view the entire Q&A here, and I’ll also embed it below. It’s about 35 minutes, and I come on at 16:35 and stutter out a question that creates a lot of interesting conversation. (I’m awful on the spot. Even though I knew what I wanted to ask, I still got all tongue-tied. This is why I’m blogger, not a YouTuber!)

After the event, Sarah and I walked around SoHo for a while before grabbing a burger and a glass of wine at a B&B Wine Pub (HIGHLY recommend.)

I stuck out like a sore thumb in my bright pink coat. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in New York City wears black or grey outerwear. I had to get a picture because I love the way the color pops against the dreary background of the city.

JL in NYC

We stayed at a hotel overnight and got up bright and early this morning to grab a train back home. I can’t wait to tell my kids about the event and watch the season premiere with them tonight. Over the years, Survivor has become a show we enjoy watching as a family, and I’m anxious to see who got voted out. It comes down to a tie, so the season is already getting off to an exciting start.

The new season of SURVIVOR: Kaoh Rong premieres TONIGHT (2/17) at 8PM ET/PT with a special 90-minute episode on the CBS Television Network. Set your DVR right now! The theme is “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty,” and it is supposedly one of the most physically grueling seasons in the history of the show.

Who’s watching with me??

Many thanks to Beth Feldman of BeyondPR Group for hosting this exciting event! We had a blast.