50 Things You Didn't Know About Jeff Probst
Jeff Probst is one of the most beloved reality TV show hosts of all time and is best known as the host and executive producer of Survivor. He first began hosting the reality television show in 2000 and is still going strong today. In addition, he has hosted other game shows, music shows, and made appearances in several other television series. He is an extremely important part of Survivor's success.
Jeff Probst Was Born In 1961
Jeffrey Lee Probst was born in 1961 in Kansas to Jerry and Barbara Probst. He is the oldest of three boys, and they were raised in a typical American Midwestern family. His father worked at Boeing Motion Picture/Television Studio, and his mother was a homemaker.
He stated that since his younger years, he has aspired to become a storyteller. He attended and graduated from Newport High School and went to college at Seattle Pacific University.
He Dropped Out Of College
Jeff graduated from high school before he moved from his hometown to attend Seattle Pacific University. However, even though he was pursuing further education, he really just wanted to work on television.
As a result, Jeff dropped out of college, but thankfully, his father worked at a film production company. His father got him some easy jobs, including editing videos and writing scripts.
Jeff Has Had Cameos In Popular Television Shows
Jeff Probst uses the fact that he is a well-known figure on television by appearing as himself on some popular television shows. He guest-starred on Two and a Half Men in two episodes. The first episode was in 2013 and was titled "Some Kind of Lesbian Zombie."
He then appeared again in 2014 in an episode titled "Baseball. Boobs. Boobs. Baseball." In addition, Jeff made a guest appearance on the television series How I Met Your Mother.
He Dated A Contestant From The Show
While Jeff Probst was married to his first wife in the early 2000s, he started falling for a contestant on Survivor, Julie Berry. She was a contestant on season nine in Vanuatu. Once the season had wrapped up, Jeff emailed Julie to explain his feelings to her.
The two made their relationship official at the series finale, but the romance ended a few years later in 2008. It all worked out for the best because Jeff got married in 2011 to Lisa Ann Russell.
Jeff Officiates Weddings
Jeff Probst has many famous friends, and he has actually been ordained as a minister. He does many weddings for his friends, including the wedding of his close friends, Jenna Fischer and Lee Kirk.
It all started in 1999 when he became a minister with the Universal Life Church to officiate at the re-commitment ceremony for his parents' thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.
He Founded A Charity
In 2007, Jeff founded a charity called Serpentine Project, which helps young adults in California who are aging out of foster care and need help finding jobs and places to live. Jeff has a passion for his charity and has dedicated a huge amount of time to it.
The charity has since merged with an organization called Alliance for Children's Rights. The serpentine is a stone known as the dream stone, and once accepted into the program, every new Serpentine youth gets a handmade necklace with a serpentine stone. It's a reminder that they are never alone.
He Has 4 Primetime Emmy Awards
Jeff Probst is a great television host and has received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. He won the Emmy Award in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Many have said he won the awards due to his interaction with contestants. However, he hasn't been nominated for the award since but is still one of the few to win the award multiple times.
The "Ball" Commentary Is Actually On Purpose
Jeff Probst is not afraid to make jokes and snarky comments as the host of Survivor. The contestants also know first-hand that he says a lot during the challenges.
All the 'Ball' commentary is actually on purpose, as there are a lot of balls to go around for reward and immunity challenges. Jeff and the crew all laugh about the innuendos as he says the word "Balls" in as many strange ways as humanly possible.
His Favorite Winner Of Survivor Is John Cochran
Jeff Probst's favorite winner of Survivor is John Cochran. He's always been very open about his favorite players and has even made a list of his top ten. He has nothing but good things to say about season twenty-six winner, John Cochran.
He stated in an interview that he would pick Cochran as his favorite winner because he was an unexpected underdog. He was a fan of how Cochran turned all of his negative traits into assets to make it to the top.
His Trademark Slogan Was A Last-Minute Decision
Every host of a television show has a trademark line that they say every single episode and become known for. Jeff Probst has a few trademark slogans, but his most iconic line is "the tribe has spoken," which he says when he snuffs the torch of the voted-out player.
Just two days before the first season began filming, Jeff and Mark Burnett were trying to find the perfect line. They were bouncing around ideas, and when Burnett said the line, Probst knew it was the winner.
He Collects The Torch Snuffer From Every Season
At every tribal council on Survivor, one player gets voted out of the game by their fellow castmates. They have to bring their lit torch over to Jeff, who then snuffs their fire out and says, "the tribe has spoken."
Since the show premiered in 2000, he has kept the famous torch snuffer from every single season. It's his own personal souvenir to celebrate each successful season. He stated that he likes to remember all the castaways whose torches he's snuffed out.
His First Job Was Busing Tables
While Jeff was at school in Wichita, he got his very first job to earn a little money. He worked busing tables for just $2.20 an hour at a local restaurant called Elks Lodge.
However, he lied to the manager and said he was sixteen when he was only fifteen years old. He definitely has increased that pay since then, being worth about forty million dollars now. Starting out by cleaning tables between customers taught Jeff about hard work.
He Has Worked Alongside His Brother
Jeff Probst has two brothers and he worked alongside his brother Scott on the television series Survivor. Jeff has hosted the show since 2000 and Scott has worked in various roles on the crew for twenty-five episodes of the series between 2011 and 2012.
He mainly worked on the camera crew but also as a grip and video engineer. Between 2006 and 2009, Scott worked as an art assistant or assistant props guy for Survivor for five episodes. In addition, Scott was the producer for the 2005 video game "Medal of Honor: European Assault" and the 2003 game "Medal of Honor: Rising Sun."
He Has Suffered Several Injuries During Filming
While filming Survivor, Jeff Probst suffered many injuries. Of course, some locations are riskier than others while filming and in some areas, Jeff and the contestants have been exposed to some dangerous wildlife.
Jeff was stung in his genital area once while swimming in Borneo. On another occasion, he was stung by a scorpion in the Achilles' heel. Finally, in Australia, Jeff peed on a fence that he didn't realize was an electric fence and he received a shock.
Jeff Didn't Produce Survivor Until Season 13
Jeff Probst was strictly the host of Survivor for the first twelve seasons. However, in season thirteen, he added to his responsibilities by becoming the executive producer and later, the series showrunner. As a result, he was able to put his own personality into the series.
He said it felt right because a host is never actually just a host because they are always involved in some way in the end result of the series. He also stated that he loves what he does and plans to stay a part of Survivor for many more seasons.
Jeff Admires David Letterman
Jeff Probst has said numerous times that he admires David Letterman. He said in an interview with CBS that David was his favorite host on CBS and out of all the past and present hosts, David would be the one he would spend the day with.
He said that "surrounding yourself with greatness is good for your soul." He was also asked who he would invite to dinner and he chose Liam Neeson because that is who his wife would want.
He Is A Stepfather
Jeff has been married twice but is currently married to Lisa Ann Russell. She has two children from a previous marriage, a son named Michael and a daughter named Ava.
As a result, Jeff is a stepfather to two children but has no biological children of his own. He also said that he and his wife co-parent the children amicably with her ex-husband and his wife. In addition, the children consider all four of them as their parents.
Jeff's Net Worth Is $40 Million
Jeff Probst has an estimated personal net worth of forty million dollars. He has made his millions predominantly through hosting and producing the television series Survivor. He earns eight million dollars for each season of Survivor.
He has also earned some money from being on other television series and from being an author. He is worth more than many television and movie actors. However, he isn't just a host; he is also an executive producer.
He Always Has A $20 Bill When Traveling
Jeff Probst has some specific travel habits that he has gained over the years from all of his travels for work. While working on Survivor, he has traveled to many different locations. One of his best tips, and something that he always does, is to carry a twenty-dollar bill in his pocket.
He said that you just never know when you will need it, such as using it in a tricky situation, tipping someone, or getting from one place to the next in a hurry. In addition, he has used it at the front desk to get a quick upgrade.
He Is Only Away For Four Months Out Of The Year
Most people think that Jeff must be away from home most of the year filming Survivor. However, he is actually only away from home for about four months out of the year.
He arrives at the filming location about a week before shooting begins to prepare everything. Then filming takes place over a period of about thirty-nine days as filming takes place in concentrated periods.
Jeff Bought Gene Autry's Estate
Jeff Probst has made a large amount of money during his career so far, and in 2011, he bought Gene Autry's former estate. He bought the home for five million dollars. Autry was a singer and actor, and he built the home in Studio City, Los Angeles, in 1949.
The property is eight thousand square feet, a two-story Monterey-style house, and is set on 3.68 acres of land. The home includes a breakfast room, a family room, seven bathrooms, five bedrooms, a library, and a media room.
The Jeff Probst Show
With the huge success of Survivor, Jeff wanted to try having a show of his own as well. So, he launched The Jeff Probst Show, which was a daytime show that aired on CBS.
It only aired for one season, from 2012 until 2013. At different points, Lisa Welchel and Yvette Nicole Brown were co-hosts on the show. Sadly, it didn't make it to a second season because of low ratings.
He Has Written And Directed Movies
Jeff is best known for being a host and executive producer, but he has also directed two films. In 2001, he wrote and directed the drama thriller film Finder's Fee. It is about a man who finds a winning lottery ticket for six million dollars.
It stars Ryan Reynolds, James Earl Jones, Erik Palladino, and Dash Mihok. In 2014, he directed the drama film Kiss Me, which is about a teenager that is diagnosed with scoliosis. It stars Jenna Fischer, Sarah Bolger, and Missi Pyle.
He Was Named One Of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People
In 2001, Jeff Probst was named one of People Magazine's '50 Most Beautiful People.' He was forty years old at the time and was ranked twenty-seventh. He was ranked between Heather Locklear and Gary Dourdan.
Also on the list were Kobe Bryant, Ed Harris, Heath Ledger, and Laura Bush. Ranked at number one that year were Evan and Jaron Lowenstein.
His First job In Entertainment Was At Boeing
Jeff's first job in the entertainment industry was at Boeing Motion Picture/Television Studio. His father worked there and got him a job making marketing and training videos.
He started at the company as a production assistant and then worked his way up to writing scripts and recording narration. He got his foot in the entertainment industry and got started on his dream of being on TV.
He Enjoys All Kinds of Music
Jeff Probst has revealed in interviews that he enjoys all kinds of music. He was asked what his go-to karaoke song is, and he replied that he loves any songs by Van Halen.
He was also asked what was on his playlist, and he stated that he was listening to the soundtrack from Walter Mitty. It was obvious that he likes all kinds of music.
Jeff Has A Large Following On Social Media
Jeff uses several social media platforms to interact with his fans and also makes a point to find the time to answer any of their questions. He is extremely popular on social media.
He has almost 4,089,000 followers on Twitter and about 1,060,000 followers on Instagram. Jeff is a very well-liked person on television and on social media.
He Was A Correspondent For Access Hollywood
Before Jeff worked as the host of Survivor, he was a correspondent for Access Hollywood. He worked there from 1996 until 1998 and started the same year as Nancy O'Dell. "I had interviewed Sandra Bullock a few times. Every time someone interviews Sandra, she tries to give that interviewer something special, something she didn't give the other guy.
I always felt like, 'This is a decent person going out of her way.' At one interview, her blouse was unbuttoned, kind of low, so I said, 'Bullock's showing a lot of cleavage today.' She said, 'Why are you looking at my cleavage?' I said, 'Why are you showing it to me"' Then she goes, 'Well, unbutton yours.' So, I unbuttoned my shirt." ------ Jeff Probst.
He Hosted Various Music-Related Shows
Jeff has a deep interest in music and had several music-related gigs early in his career. He hosted Sound FX, a music series with Orlando Jones that aired way back in 1996.
In addition, he was the host of Rock & Roll Jeopardy! from 1998 until 2001 on VH1. On the show, Jeff would chat with the contestants before Double Jeopardy!
Survivor has been a mainstay of television for twenty years; however, before it debuted, nobody knew if it would be a success or not.
During an interview with the Archive of American Television, he revealed that he was not the only person who wanted the Survivor hosting job. He stated that The Amazing Race's host Phil Keoghan was a serious contender for the hosting gig. There were others in the running as well.
He Was The Host Of Backchat
In the mid-1990s, Jeff starred in a Fox show called Backchat. As the host of Backchat, he answered viewer letters; he would read the network's fans' letters and would do his best to respond.
"We would think of something funny to do, and then we'd write a letter. Like, 'How do they make bagels?' Then we would go do a bagel shoot. I was getting paid to learn. It was crazy, but I got a check every two weeks." ----- Jeff Probst.
His Demo Reel
Jeff revealed to the world on The Tonight Show that he had put together a demo reel that he had sent to Mark Burnett while trying to get the hosting gig on Survivor. He stated that the video was very embarrassing. Mark Burnett stated, "There were two reasons I picked you over the other guy.
One was all your experience at Fox. I knew that live TV would be important because Survivor is basically a live show shot in the jungle. And two, the interview with Sandra Bullock. I thought that anybody who could have that kind of an exchange with a celebrity is the guy I want."
His Lucky Break
Jeff Probst had just eight thousand dollars left in his bank account and had no jobs on the horizon. However, luck was on his side that day because he was listening to the radio and heard Mark Burnett talking about his idea for Survivor.
He was one of the first of his peers to find out about the show, meaning he was the first potential host to interview for the job.
Jeff Almost Stepped Away From Survivor
In 2009, Jeff Probst almost walked away from his hosting gig on Survivor. Ratings had started to decline around season fourteen, and Jeff took it hard, so he told the network that he wanted to quit because he was feeling burned out and was getting self-conscious about being known as the Survivor guy.
"My Achilles' heel for a lot of my life was that nobody saw me as a storyteller; that they saw me as a white guy with dark hair who was just a game show host. And that, in terms of my own self-image, was the thing that could gut me. It was like a kidney punch." ----- Jeff Probst.
Jeff Always Wanted To Be In The Entertainment Industry
Jeff Probst stated that he knew from a very young age that he wanted to be in the entertainment industry. He started working at Boeing Motion Picture/Television Studio; then, he hosted the show Backchat and Sound FX in 1996.
In addition, he hosted Rock & Roll Jeopardy! and Access Hollywood. He also has appeared in many television shows and films. Of course, his career really soared when he got the job as host of Survivor.
Stranded Book Series
Jeff Probst is also an author and published an adventure book series called Stranded. They were published by Scholastic and are aimed at students from grades four through six.
Jeff worked with Christopher Tebbetts on the adventure series. The three-book series follows the story of Vanessa, Carter, Buzz, and Jane when they are left on a deserted island and are forced to fend for themselves without any parents.
Live For The Moment
Jeff Probst also had the show Live for the Moment on CBS. It is about someone who has experienced a life-changing event that inspired them to change how they live their life.
They get sent on several adventures which offer major thrills and life lessons on how to live a bigger, better life. Each week, something different was featured, such as Roger Childs with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
His First Wife Shelley Wright
In 1996, Jeff married his first wife, Shelley Wright, a psychotherapist. The two were married from 1996 until 2001, but the relationship ended in a divorce. They met as a normal couple and had a normal love affair.
Their relationship was before Survivor, and they never had any children. However, after the divorce, custody of their dog went to both of them. The two have never shared details of why their marriage ended.
Jeff Married His Second Wife, Lisa Ann Russell
Jeff said he met his second and current wife, Lisa Ann Russell, at one of Mark Burnett's Christmas Parties. "I met my wife at Mark Burnett's party. Mark Burnett has an annual Christmas party, which is the craziest Christmas party I've ever been to because of the eclectic group of people there.
I married the right person. I've always thought I'd have this family and this great family unit because that's what I came from." ---- Jeff Probst. Jeff and Lisa, a former model and actress, were married in 2011 and are still happily married today.
He Grew Up As An Extroverted Kid
Jeff Probst said that he grew up as an extroverted kid, which he said he inherited from his mother. In school, he would make up stories to tell his classmates, making him confident about pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
In addition, he was addicted to television as a kid and grew up admiring Johnny Carson. As he got older, he became deeply interested in storytelling.
He Favors Male Players In The Game
Jeff has become friends with many former Survivor players after their seasons ended. Some contestants have claimed that Jeff favors male players in the game.
While others have said that he appears to favor competitors and those who push themselves to the limit, regardless of gender. J.T. doesn't agree that Jeff favors male players saying, "Many of the male players are among the cockiest Survivor players of all time."
He Should Have Stopped Saying "Guys"
During season one of Survivor, Jeff addressed the players and asked if anyone was offended by the term guys in his iconic phrase, "come on in, guys." At first, they all said no, but then later, Ricard stepped forward to say that it did bother him.
As a result, Jeff stopped using guys and would instead just say, "come on in." Many believe that he should have stopped saying it long before he did.
He Was Diagnosed With Transient Global Amnesia
While on Live with Kelly and Ryan, Jeff Probst revealed that he had some health issues. "I was booking travel for my wife and I to go to Vegas, and it gets to your wife's birth date, and I went: 'What is my wife's birthday?' I couldn't figure it out, so I texted my wife and said can you call me." His wife asked him what was happening, and he said that he didn't know and then asked where the kids were.
"I had no idea who I was, where I was. I even wrote a note on my laptop; I wrote a note that said: 'For our records, I have no idea why I'm wearing these clothes. I have no idea where our kids are. I have no idea what day it is. I have no idea why I'm writing this.'" He later stated that he didn't remember writing the note. He went to see a neurosurgeon, who told him that he had transient global amnesia, a sudden episode of temporary memory loss. He stated that he is one hundred percent fine now.
His Tribal Conversations Aren't As Natural As He Makes Them Seem
An interesting fact is that Jeff's tribal council conversations on Survivor are not as natural as they seem. Jeff actually spends up to two hours asking all the castaways questions.
He tries to get them to say things that will increase the drama and tension. Then the show's editors do a great job of cutting the segment down for each episode. Sometimes the show can get really tedious for its competitors.
His Wife Was Once Married To Zach Morris
Another interesting thing is that Jeff Probst's wife, Lisa Ann Russell, was once married to Mark-Paul Gosselaar from Saved By The Bell.
Her two children are from her marriage to Gosselaar, and Jeff and Lisa, co-parent with him and his new wife. Mark-Paul Gosselaar is best known for playing Zach Morris and is currently on the ABC sitcom Mixed-ish.
He Occasionally Bashes The Network That Made Him Famous
Survivor wouldn't exist if it weren't for CBS, but Jeff can sometimes be heard bashing the network, the network that helped make him famous. When some fans complained that a Survivor trailer revealed massive spoilers, Jeff joined in and encouraged viewers to hurl complaints at CBS.
He said on Twitter, "Despite being on the air 20 years, we still have not earned the right to approve our own promo spots. The purpose of a promo is to entice you to watch without giving away what it is we want you to watch. I encourage you to continue complaining in the hopes they will finally submit."
He Isn't Always Able To Keep His Personal Feelings To Himself
Jeff is supposed to have a neutral stance on the show since he is the host. He is not supposed to have favorites, but he sometimes lets his emotions get the best of him.
An example is when he stated that he loathes Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Micronesia's Jonny Fairplay. He loathed him so much that he even banned the former competitor from events that he goes to. He admitted this in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
He Doesn't Read The Votes At Random
At the end of a tribal council, Jeff pulls the votes from the urn and reads them one by one. It looks like he does it at random, but he doesn't. He actually sorts through the votes right after the contestants cast them.
He decides on an order that will create maximum tension and excitement and then reads them. That is why it often ends up a tie between two players, with one vote left.
Jeff Was A Guest Star On MADtv
Another popular series that Jeff Probst appeared on was MADtv. It is a sketch comedy series, so it was fitting for him to guest star in it. He actually appeared once in every season since the show's ninth season.
The series aired for a total of fifteen seasons, so you can see Jeff in six seasons. There was a one-hour special celebrating the show's twentieth anniversary that was followed by an eight-episode revival, on which Jeff also appeared.