“I want to declare right here on your show that from this point forward if you are a Survivor player and you quit, your torch will not be snuffed,” Probst, 62, said during a Wednesday, November 15, episode of Live With Kelly and Mark. “That’s over. To get your torch snuffed, you got to play the game.”
Probst’s emotional response comes after Survivor 45 had two players — Hannah Rose and Sean Edwards — quit before making it to the halfway point of the game, despite the current schedule having a shorter time frame. In the old era, castaways would compete for 39 days. However, with the introduction of COVID-19 protocols in 2020, the new seasons follow a 26-day format.
When questioned why some people decide to give up their chance for the million-dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor, Probst theorized the environment of the Fijian jungle plays a big part.
“The one thing you can’t test for in all the psych testing is all the real elements — the rain, the bamboo, the snakes and all that,” he explained.
Since the reality show’s premiere in 2000, only a handful of contestants have voluntarily exited the game.
Survivor got its first quitter in the seventh season of the series, Survivor: Pearl Islands. Osten Taylor asked his tribe to vote him out due to the physical toll the game had taken on his body. Probst called Taylor out during the tribal council and said his request sounded more like a quit rather than a sacrifice for his team.
“Take it for whatever you want. If you wanna say quitting, if you wanna say stopping. “Yeah, I’m quitting,” Taylor said at the time. “My health to me is more important to me than a million dollars, I guess.”
Probst was angered by Taylor’s decision at the time and while snuffing his torch, the host quipped: “Osten, per your wishes, go home,” instead of his tagline, “The tribe has spoken.”
Years later, Probst admitted that the first-ever quit agitated him and reflected on how he addressed it.
“I was so upset about it,” Probst confessed in a January 2013 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “I was like, ‘I’m not saying “the Tribe has spoken.’ You gotta earn that line!’ and [creator Mark Burnett] said, ‘Fine, don’t say it.’ So I said, ‘Per your wishes, go home!’ And I remember going home and thinking, ‘That was so clever, Probst.’”