Another survivor named, another $1 million awarded.
It's the tradition as one of television's top unscripted shows ends each season, but things have been different on "Survivor: Nicaragua," generating mixed feelings for series host and producer Jeff Probst. The three-time Emmy winner presides over the two-hour finale and the subsequent reunion special Sunday, Dec. 19, on CBS.
The initial approach of the 21st "Survivor" round was "old versus young" contestants, and Probst admits he thought the premise was "so-so. I wasn't a big fan of it going in, but it's hard to second-guess ('Survivor' executive producer) Mark Burnett when he is right 99 percent of the time. He really felt it was the right move, mainly because when we were casting, we had such a great group of older people."
Former Dallas Cowboys coach and sometime sportscaster Jimmy Johnson was among the players until he was voted off in the third week. "I was surprised by the lack of impact he had on the game," Probst notes. "He certainly drew a lot of interest from the audience, myself included. I was infatuated with Jimmy Johnson, and I loved having him on the show.
"You had one of the greatest leaders in sports, and you certainly can compare 'Survivor' to sports on some level. And who was the person (the other players) wanted to get rid of first? Him."
For all the mental and physical challenges "Survivor: Nicaragua" has entailed, Probst finds himself nostalgic about the players whenever he prepares for a post-season-finale reunion (staged months after the taping of most of the given season's regular episodes).
"Generally speaking, I'm reminded how much I like these guys,'" Probst explains. "I spend a great deal of the season giving them a hard time, whether it's about writing a blog or the way we interact in a Tribal Council, where most things center around conflict. It's usually a really pleasant reunion for me. I respect everybody who's done 'Survivor,' and I don't know if they ever believe me, because I've never done it. And I'm not sure how I would do."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun