Jeff Probst blames himself for the Tyler Perry Survivor super idol

Survivor host Jeff Probst has been using his new podcast, On Fire With Jeff Probst, to make big announcements, like inviting a medically evacuated contestant back to play again. He's also shared juicy behind-the-scenes intel, like revealing unfound advantages from a few different seasons. But he also has no problem taking shots… at himself!

Not only does the podcast feature a segment titled "This Is Why You Suck" (which features Probst responding to people telling him how terrible he is), but the Survivor host and showrunner also doesn't mind sharing stories of things that did not work out on the show and why he was to blame.

This brings us to superstar Tyler Perry. A certified Survivor superfan, Perry convinced Probst to put a new super immunity idol into play for season 28, Survivor: Cagayan. Dubbed by fans as the "Tyler Perry idol," this immunity idol was different from others in that it could be used after the votes were read, meaning a player did not have to guess whether they were on the chopping block and risk burning their idol if they were safe and didn't actually need it. It was the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card.

Jeff Probst on Survivor; Tyler Perry visits SiriusXM Studios on September 22, 2022, in New York City
Jeff Probst on Survivor; Tyler Perry visits SiriusXM Studios on September 22, 2022, in New York City

Robert Voets/CBS; Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images 'Survivor' host Jeff Probst and Tyler Perry

Just one problem: Perry's new super immunity idol was not, in fact, new. Back in season 12 (Survivor: Panama) and season 13 (Survivor: Cook Islands), hidden immunity idols could be played after the vote. In fact, they were so powerful that Yul Kwon rode one all the way to victory in Cook Islands — which is why starting on the following season (Survivor: Fiji), idols always had to be played before the votes were read.

So why did Probst put his famous friend's idea back into the game? The host told the story on his podcast and lays the blame solely at his own feet.

"Tyler Perry is an idea machine," says Probst. "He will send texts that are so long, and they are full of ideas… The super idol, I got intoxicated with the fact that Tyler Perry thought we should bring it back because he's a really smart guy. What I didn't realize is: You already learned this lesson, dude! We just talked about it. It doesn't work, It's too much power. So even though it was a fun moment and [Tony Vlachos] used it and went on to win the game, I would look back and go, that's another one that I got wrong. I am the one who said we should put it into the game, and I'm not the one who said, 'Wait a minute, we already did this two decades ago. It doesn't work.'"

Of course, Perry is not the only celebrity sending Probst ideas for the show. Mike White helped get rid of the Redemption Island twist and later was responsible for killing off Fire Tokens. And the host shares a story on the latest pod about Jimmy Fallon also getting an idea onto the show. "It was Fallon's idea for Rob and Sandra on Island of the Idols to be able to watch Tribal Council from a secret booth," says Probst. "That entire Tribal was designed around that one single idea."

For more Survivor scoop and behind-the-scenes info, check out On Fire With Jeff Probst.

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