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Jeff Probst Calls BIPOC Mandate “One Of The Most Positive & Significant Changes” To ‘Survivor’ – Contenders TV

Jeff Probst Calls BIPOC Mandate “One Of The Most Positive & Significant Changes” To ‘Survivor’ – Contenders TV

Survivor host Jeff Probst is happy that CBS ordered the show to be more inclusive.

In 2020, CBS President and CEO George Cheeks mandated the 50% of Survivor be BIPOC. The show is one month away from filming Season 47, but Probst already has seen the impact.

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“That will go down as one of the most positive and significant changes ever in Survivor,” Probst said during the Contenders TV panel Saturday. “More people are applying now than ever, and it’s going up every season in every single category — African-American, East Asian, Middle Eastern, South Pacific Islander, Latino/Hispanic, Asian. it’s the perfect illustration of what we say all the time, which is representation matters.”

Speaking with the new contestants, Probst observed that representation begat more representation. The numbers of applicants speak to growth.

“Now we have people applying to be on the show saying, ‘I never saw anybody who looked like me. Now I do and now I realized I can do it too,’” Probst said.

Not all of those new contestants end up victorious — there can only be one winner every season, of course. Season 46 contestant Bhanu Gopal wanted to be on Survivor because he grew up in a shelter in India.

“But he didn’t know how to play, and they all saw it,” Probst said. “He was so bad he started costing other people because now he has information and doesn’t know I’m not supposed to share it. When he left, it was painful for him.”

RELATED: Contenders TV – Deadline’s Full Coverage

Probst said the producers of Survivor used the format to convey the sadness of Bhanu’s loss.

“We produced and edited it as though it was a spiritual death, as he was going through the five stages of grief,” Probst said. “We covered it with a big drone shot so you could just see him alone as he looks up to God and says, ‘Why did you put me here if you wanted me to fail?’ That’s true vulnerability. He has a relationship with his god. He’s still asking these questions. That’s why I still love Survivor.”

No matter how the dynamics of the cast changes, Probst said Survivor — which launched in 2000 — always will be compelling because of the concept at its heart.

“You take a group of strangers and force them to rely on each other while voting each other out,” Probst said. “Survivor is us. It’s a reflection of us. Yeah, it’s a game, but it’s also us. A group of people form a society and try to figure it out. Sometimes that storm is real.

“Then I think our casting is phenomenal and our storytelling is really good.”

Check out the panel video above.

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