Survivor host, Jeff Probst, will no longer say his iconic line, “Come on in, guys!”

A season 40 image of the host of Survivor, Jeff Probst. This is Probst’s twenty-first year as the host for Survivor.


A season 40 image of the host of Survivor, Jeff Probst. This is Probst’s twenty-first year as the host for Survivor.

Madison Austin, Photojournalist

“Come on in, guys” four seemingly innocuous words that will be no more. Controversy has spurred in the last month, after the host of popular family TV show Survivor, Jeff Probst, vowed to no longer say his iconic line, “Come on in, guys.” Probst has uttered this popular phrase on hundreds of occasions in the last 40 seasons, and the removal of such a nostalgic relic has caused quite a bit of public uproar. Upset fans and critics alike have expressed their disappointment in such a drastic change to the show; however, others have praised Probst for his progressive decision.

Survivor is a family-friendly game show that premiered on CBS on May 31, 2000. It is a world-famous reality competition series where 16 to 18 American contestants compete neck-in-neck for the chance to win $1,000,000. Since its premiere, Survivor has received generally favorable critical reviews. The popular review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, awarded Survivor a 78%, and several critics praise Survivor for its consistent fast-paced and entertainment appeal. Dalton Ross, of Entertainment Weekly, claims that Survivor is one of his favorite shows of all time, recalling that it is “madness and chaos in the best way possible” (

In Survivor, the 16 to 18 contestants are separated into tribes based on various characteristics. In some seasons, the contestants are separated by personalities and looks, and in other seasons they are separated by their likability. Once separated, the several tribes are taken to remote island locations where they are forced to team up and find food, shelter, water, and meager living supplies for 39 days. Throughout the 39 days, participants engage in mentally and physically challenging competitive games that serve to eliminate certain players. The game continues until only one winner remains and is crowned the “sole survivor.”

At the beginning of every competition per episode, typically two games, Probst announces to the contestants, “Come on in, guys.” Through some rough estimates, it’s predicted that Probst has said his classic line over 1,192 times. It has become a ritual of sorts, both for the contestants participating in the games and the fans watching at home. After almost 20 years, “Come on in, guys” is an established trademark of the Survivor franchise.

That all changed on the premiere of Survivor, Season 41, however. In the pilot episode of the season, Probst sat the game’s participants down for a first-episode heart-to-heart. His first words to the cast were his most famous, “Come on in, guys,” and after saying those immortal words, he paused to discuss whether or not he should continue his traditional saying. He began by lamenting that he had, “been saying these words for the past twenty years, and they are part of the show.” Although Probst was met with much agreement from the contestants, he took a left turn in his speech, citing that he wanted to be “of the moment” and asked the contestants if it was still appropriate to use the word “guys,” or if it were time to retire such a word. Probst then said that he wanted to be more inclusive to all participants of the show, and he felt that using the word “guys” would potentially impede on that effort.

Confusion was evident as contestants wondered how to respond. Evvie Jagoda was the first to tackle the novel question and responded with the opposite reaction of Probst. Jagoda, who identifies herself as a member of the LGBT community, retorted that she takes no personal offense to the statement and believed that it is an integral component to Survivor. Nods of heads and quiet comments of agreements seemingly saved the fate of the phrase, as Jagoda gave her response. Probst then asked the contestants if any of them disagreed with Jagoda, and wished to retire the phrase. He was met with enthusiasm, as ostensibly all of the contestants not only had no objections but were considerably fond of the phrase.

Three days later, the game show continued as usual with no attempted alteration of the phrase. That all changed, however, when just moments before a game challenge, another contestant on the show, Ricardo Foye, voiced his opposition to the phrase. He asked to speak preceding a challenge and recalled that he felt initially compelled to communicate his objection to the phrase, but he was not confident enough to express his opinion until days after the original conversation.

He began by saying that he “[does] not agree with” using the word “guys” in the context of the show. Foye, another member of the LGBT community, staunchly opposed the usage of such a word, commenting that “Survivor has changed over the past 21 years,” and that he believed that the social climate of Survivor should no longer allow such a “derogatory” word. Probst vocalized his exaggerated support of the change, going as far as to say that he was glad that saying the phrase just minutes before the interaction was “the last time [he’ll] ever say it.” He promptly announced that, from that point on, he would simply say, “Come on in!” Rolling eyes and expressions of annoyance spread throughout the crowd, as a clear majority disagreed with the ideas of Foye and Probst.

An unsurprising number of fans disagreed with Probst’s decision as well. According to a poll on international polling site, Gold Derby, 89% of fans expressed disappointment regarding the switch in script, and former contestants of the show jumped in on the criticism ( Russell Hantz, a former contestant of the show, stated that the whole change in sayings felt like “a slap in the face” ( To him, it came down to a matter of breaking tradition and bringing in particular political ideas into a non-political show, as he recounted that fans of Survivor, “do not want to see political talk in the shows that we watch in our free time.”

Several former contestants agree with the sentiment of Hantz, expressing that the change impedes their ability to even watch the show. Several stated that they would not be watching the current season of Survivor, season 41, in an attempt to protest the modification. Similarly, many fans seem to be following this trend, as there were almost 500,000 fewer viewers in the episode following the episode where Probst made this announcement.

What prompted the switch in script? Probst and other CBS television hosts are facing substantial pressure from CBS executives to create an outline for their shows that meet the standards of the current political narrative. This type of liberal-minded influence has been seen many times in the realm of CBS before. Just last year, CBS made headlines as they publicly announced to cast a disproportionate amount of people of color onto their shows and work on their shows. In their November 2021 Announcement, CBS announced that they will be requiring 50% of cast and crew members on their show to be BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), despite the fact that these groups do not represent 50% of the United States’ population.

The main issue with these baseless reforms is that they aim to fix nonexistent issues. Survivor, to its core, is not a game of race or sex. It’s a game of pure competition, where 16-18 men and women compete in physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging games in an attempt to win one million dollars. Deriving any racial or gender-related connotations from such a show is a far-fetched stretch, at best. Survivor is not its popular self because of the types of people that make up the show, it is because of the action-packed events of the show. Survivor never has been, and hopefully never will be a show about gender or race, so there is absolutely no conceivable purpose for these catastrophic rearrangements.

Many fans have pointed out that there aren’t necessarily negative connotations to the word “guys.” Alexandra Herrada (11), a competitive athlete and enthusiastic Survivor fan, was one of the many disappointed viewers of this season of Survivor. She agreed with Probst in that there definitely should be actions taken toward inclusivity. In her eyes, however, the central flaw lies in the fact that “when Probst says guys, he’s not referring to the male gender. He’s just addressing the whole group, similar to the way people say ‘y’all’ or ‘folks.’” That sentiment precisely summarizes the issue with the Survivor modifications. This desperate desire to find possible controversial messages in otherwise innocuous phrases represents the dangers of the overt politicization of television shows.