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'Survivor's Jeff Probst On Russell Finding Hidden Idol Without A Clue

CBS has labelled Russell the 'biggest villain' in 'Survivor' history and now they may have to call him one of the smartest to play the game.

On last night's episode, the self-proclaimed puppet master deduced that there must a hidden immunity idol on each tribe's camp, as on last season, and decided he was going to look for it.

Russell told some of his tribemates of his plan and got some rather strange looks since no clue had been handed out yet that such an idol even existed this season.

But that didn't matter. Russell set out on a hunt for the idol and eventually, with a large group of tribemates standing around him, put his hand into a tree trunk hole and shockingly emerged with the idol -- without the benefit of a single clue.

"Oh man you guys hated that, right?," Jeff Probst tells 'Entertainment Weekly'. "But come on. The dude found the idol with no clue. Let me repeat that he found the idol with NO clue. He told them he was looking for it. He dug in front of them. Nobody even questioned it. Booh-yah."

"Jaison certainly did not like the fact that Russell was in possession of the idol, but Jaison HE found it. He got off his ass and found it. Like him or not, the dude hustles. As Jaison walked away from Russell, who had the idol, he said 'we'll discuss it later'. There will be no discussing it later. Russell has it, you're not getting it. This is not a conference room where you two will negotiate a fair and just settlement. He owns it and now he owns you."

Later in the episode, Yasmin received the first clue as to the whereabouts of the idol. The clue even referenced 'barking up the wrong tree', but she figured there were just 'too many trees' and didn't even bother looking for the idol. And that's why Russell, as much as he's disliked by some viewers, deserves all the credit he can get.

Jeff also talks about the unique origin of the game we saw during last night's reward and immunity challenge: "It came to be a Survivor challenge in a rather interesting way. Two seasons ago, the guys who move all the heavy stuff created a game they called Schmergenbrawl."

"They played it on their off days. It was very basic. There was a collection of different balls and two trashcans about 15 feet apart. Each time you tossed a ball into the can you scored a point."

"It became a phenomenon on location culminating with a full-day 15-team tournament that included bleachers, an announcer, lots of beer, and a total downpour. It was so popular we started looking at it as a possible challenge. After a few modifications from our challenge department, it became one of the most physical challenges on Survivor."

"Ben was mad at me for kicking him out because he felt other people were doing things 'just as bad as me'. But he just happened to do it right in front of me after I warned him. It was a punk move."

"The contestants were playing very aggressively and when I gave them the warning I was really clear. No more cheap shots. Tripping someone by putting your leg a foot in the air is a cheap shot."

Mike Borassi, a 62-year-old private chef, had to be evacuated due to a medical condition after the physical challenge so Foa Foa lost an additonal member.

"I hated to see him go. The guy gave it his all. He was out there throwing down with all the other guys, some of them 30 years younger. He's a good guy and it's a bummer he had to be evacuated, but he was in trouble. Our medics don't want to take anybody out of the game, but if a contestant's vital signs are not good, they’re gone."

"We gave Mike about an hour to get stable and he wasn't getting any better. Tough way to go, but he went out fighting. Foa Foa is in trouble. This is probably the fastest that any tribe has been down 3 members in the history of the game. Galu is living the high life. Things are so good that the only thing they have to complain about is Shambo. When Shambo is your biggest pain in the ass, life ain't too bad."

September 25, 2009 |

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