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Jeff Probst

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Jeff Probst
Probst in 2016
Jeffrey Lee Probst

(1961-11-04) November 4, 1961 (age 62)
  • Television presenter
  • television producer
  • author
Years active1996–present
  • Shelley Wright
    (m. 1996; div. 2001)
  • Lisa Ann Russell
    (m. 2011)

Jeffrey Lee Probst (/prbst/; born November 4, 1961)[1] is an American television presenter and producer and young adult fiction writer. He is best known as the Emmy Award-winning host of the U.S. version of the reality television show Survivor since 2000. He was also the host of The Jeff Probst Show, a syndicated daytime talk show produced by CBS Television Distribution from September 2012 to May 2013.

Early life[edit]

Probst was born at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas, the oldest of three sons to Jerry and Barbara Probst.[2][3] His family moved to Bellevue, Washington when Probst was 15 years old.[1][2] After graduating from Newport High School in 1979, Probst attended Seattle Pacific University but left before graduating to pursue a career in television.[4] Soon after leaving college, he began working at Boeing Motion Picture/Television studio as a producer and later narrator of marketing and training videos.[5]


Probst in 2008

In addition to Survivor, Probst once hosted FX's original half-hour show dedicated to answering viewer letters, Backchat, along with Sound FX, a music series featuring Orlando Jones (1996). Probst also hosted the VH1 series Rock & Roll Jeopardy! from 1998 to 2001 and was a correspondent for the syndicated program Access Hollywood. He also wrote and directed the Lionsgate released film, Finder's Fee. People magazine named Probst one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2001. He often contributes to Jeopardy! by giving Survivor related clues from the show's venues, has twice appeared on Celebrity Jeopardy!, first in 2001 and again in 2003, and made several cameo appearances during the April 1, 2010, episode.[citation needed] He was a frequent guest star on the sketch show MADtv, guest-starring once a season since the show's 9th season. He hosted "Celebrity Superfan Roundtable" for Howard Stern.

Probst is the host of Survivor, a globally-syndicated American reality show which he has hosted since its inception in 2000. He has stated that he had worked hard to get a meeting with series creator Mark Burnett as he believed the show was "something special." Probst caught Burnett's eye in 1999 when he interviewed Sandra Bullock while working for Access Hollywood. Burnett was impressed by Probst's ability to garner honest answers from media trained celebrities and felt that his relative anonymity would allow the show to be built "from the ground up."[5] Probst has won four Primetime Emmy Awards as the host of Survivor. He delivers the series's signature catch-phrase to losing contestants, "The tribe has spoken. It's time for you to go," which was included in TV Land's "The 100 Greatest TV Quotes and Catch Phrases" special in 2006.[6]

On October 20, 2008, TV Guide reported that Probst was developing a new reality TV series for CBS called Live For The Moment[7] that was to feature people with terminal illnesses being taken on "the last adventure of their life" before they die.[8] Only the pilot was aired, on January 28, 2010.[9]

On April 1, 2009, Probst appeared on the CBS reality television special I Get That a Lot, in which he worked a cash register.[citation needed]

In October 2011, he appeared as himself on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, in the episode "The Stinson Missile Crisis".

In January 2012, Probst was announced as director of his second feature film, coming-of-age story Kiss Me, starring John Corbett and Sarah Bolger, with production scheduled to begin in Los Angeles the following month.[10]

From September 10, 2012, Probst hosted The Jeff Probst Show, a syndicated daytime talk show produced by CBS Television Distribution from September 2012 to May 2013. CBS did not pick up the show for a second season, citing low ratings.[11] Between October 2012 and January 2014, Probst hosted the recurring Adult Swim special, "The Greatest Event in Television History," which consisted of remakes of 1980s TV show title sequences.

In February 2013, Probst teamed up with Christopher Tebbetts to release the first of Scholastic's adventure series Stranded, aimed at middle school students, grades 4–6. It follows the story of Vanessa, Buzz, Carter, and Jane as they are left on a deserted island and forced to fend for themselves. It started out as a regular vacation but when a storm sets in, the kids are shipwrecked in the middle of the South Pacific without any parents. They must find a way to work together if they are ever to get off the island. Stranded is the first of the three-book series.

In November 2013 and January 2014, Probst appeared as himself on the sitcom Two and a Half Men in two season 11 episodes, "Some Kind of Lesbian Zombie"[12] and "Baseball. Boobs. Boobs. Baseball.".[13]

In December 2016, Probst appeared as himself on the sitcom Life in Pieces, in the episode "Swim Survivor Zen Talk".[14]

Probst with his wife Lisa Ann Russell

Personal life[edit]

Probst was married to his first wife, psychotherapist Shelley Wright, from 1996 to 2001.[15] In 2004, after filming on Survivor: Vanuatu wrapped, he began dating one of the contestants, Julie Berry.[15] They broke up in early 2008.[16]

Probst married his second wife, Lisa Ann Russell, on December 5, 2011.[17] Through this marriage, Probst is a stepfather to Russell's two children, son Michael (b. 2004) and daughter Ava (b. 2006), from her former marriage to actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar.[18][19] Probst has stated that he and his wife amicably share custody with Gosselaar and his second wife, and that the children consider all four to be parents.[20]

Probst keeps the snuffer that he uses to snuff the torches when a contestant is voted out of the game as a souvenir after every season of Survivor.[21] He has written a book called Stranded, based on the show Survivor. As an ordained minister, he has presided over the weddings of several of his friends.[22]


On September 21, 2008, Probst won the first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. He won the same award in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The Los Angeles Times attributed Probst's track record in the category to his penchant for interacting with contestants on a compassionate personal level unseen in any of his competitors, transcending his role of host to that of counselor.[23]


Year Title Role Notes
1999–2001 Rock & Roll Jeopardy! Host 100 episodes
2000–present Survivor Executive director, producer and host 46 seasons, 567 episodes
2001–2003 Celebrity Jeopardy! Contestant 2 episodes
2002–2004 Fillmore! Raycliff 8 episodes
2003–2007 Mad TV Guest star 5 episodes
2011 How I Met Your Mother Himself 1 episode
2012–2013 The Jeff Probst Show Host 170 episodes
2013–2014 Two and a Half Men Himself 2 episodes
2013 Survivor: Blood vs Water Preview Host and executive producer
2014 The (206) Actor Season 2, Episode 12
2016 Life in Pieces Himself Season 2, Episode 7 (Swim Survivor Zen Talk)
2017 Family Guy Voice Season 16, Episode 7 (Petey IV)
2022 Saturday Night Live Himself Season 48, Episode 4 (Jack Harlow)
Year Title Role Notes
2001 Finder's Fee Director, writer
2014 Kiss Me Director, producer


  1. ^ a b "Jeff Probst Interview". Archive of American Television. Retrieved March 23, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Silcox, Beth (February 12, 2023). "Jeff Probst: A Survivor's Perspective on Life's Adventure". SUCCESS. Retrieved March 17, 2024.
  3. ^ Ranker, Luke. "Distinguished Kansan: 'Survivor' host attributes success to Kansas upbringing". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved March 17, 2024.
  4. ^ "Autumn 2000 Online Response: Castaway". spu.edu. Retrieved March 17, 2024.
  5. ^ a b Carley, Brennan (September 18, 2021). "Jeff Probst Is the Ultimate 'Survivor'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 17, 2024.
  6. ^ The Star Ledger. December 11, 2006.
  7. ^ Adalian, Josef (December 18, 2009). "Probst Spills the Beans on New Project". The Wrap. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  8. ^ Jeff Probst Hopes to "Inspire" with New Reality Series" TV Guide. October 20, 2008. Retrieved on January 29, 2022.
  9. ^ "Live for the Moment". TV.com. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Sneider, Jeff (January 11, 2012). "Jeff Probst Sets Directorial Follow-up". Variety. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  11. ^ "Jeff Probst talk show is canceled". CNN. February 14, 2013.
  12. ^ """Two and a Half Men" Some Kind of Lesbian Zombie (2013)". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  13. ^ """Two and a Half Men" Baseball. Boobs. Boobs. Baseball. (2014)". IMDb. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  14. ^ ""Life in Pieces" Swim Survivor Zen Talk (2016)". IMDb. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Wang, Cynthia (December 15, 2004). "Jeff Probst Admits to Survivor Romance". People. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  16. ^ Keck, Will (April 27, 2008). "Celeb Watch: 'Survivor' host Jeff Probst will survive – and thrive". USA Today. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  17. ^ Wang, Cynthia (December 8, 2011). "Jeff Probst Weds Lisa Ann Russell". People. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  18. ^ "Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Wife Have a Girl". People. May 7, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  19. ^ "Survivor Host Jeff Probst Marries Lisa Ann Russell!". Us Weekly. December 8, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  20. ^ Bricker, Tierney (December 12, 2012). "Survivor's Jeff Probst Talks Sharing Custody With Mark-Paul Gosselaar on Larry King Now". E Online. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  21. ^ Keck, Will (April 27, 2008). "Celeb Watch: 'Survivor' host Jeff Probst will survive – and thrive; see video". USA Today. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  22. ^ Rizzo, Monica; Wang, Cynthia (September 23, 2016). "Jenna Fischer's Minister at Her Wedding: Jeff Probst". People.com.
  23. ^ "Emmy secret revealed: Why 'Survivor' host Jeff Probst is unbeatable". Los Angeles Times. September 14, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2024.

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