We're a week into the grand experiment known as The Jeff Probst Show, the new daytime chat program starring the guy who is better known for forcing a bunch of castaways on a lush tropical island to compete in challenges and then interrogating them over a bonfire. So far, it's been a strange ride, as the Survivorman has traded tribal warfare for gushy sit-downs with cancer victims, corporate drones-turned Starbucks employees and two of the richest people in America. If you can't get a handle on what this show is trying to be, you're not alone. Here are the ten burning questions we've got about The Jeff Probst Show after its first week on the air.
10. How Much Time Does Jeff Spend on Skype Anyway?
We were told in the debut episode that Jeff met his very first guest Kelly Pozzoli -- the aforementioned person currently living with cervical cancer -- in a Skype session and, unbeknownst to her, decided right then and there that she should lead off the premiere. Later in that same episode, Jeff got on Skype again to talk to an elderly couple who had met and married each other within two weeks. Either Skype is a co-sponsor of the show or Jeff just likes to spend his free time dialing up random people for video chats. In which case, he should really be using Chatroulette instead. And speaking of Kelly...
9. Is Kelly Really Going to Be Sticking Around?
At the close of Pozzoi's segment, Jeff mentioned that she was going to be around the show "a lot." The fact that we then saw her in the front row of the audience, sharing her thoughts on the various guests that followed her made us wonder whether she'd be playing the Andy to Jeff's Conan. But then she was MIA during the rest of the week's episodes and, honestly, we kinda missed her... less because she had anything particularly interesting to say and more due to the amusing way Jeff kept trying to involve her in the conversation. Since he missed out on the Live! co-anchor gig, we guess he just really felt the need to share the stage with another Kelly.
8. Guys on the Couch: Great Segment or the Greatest Segment?
Anyone who has watched Survivor knows that Jeff considers himself an expert on the female mind. So in that spirit, he makes time every afternoon for a hilarious segment called "Guys on the Couch" where he invites a pair of random male audience members up onto the stage with him and all three answer questions from some of the women in the room. Among the topics they've discussed include when dating single mothers should 'fess up about their little bundles of joy back home and after how many dates does a guy expect to be intimate with a girl. All of their advice is spectacularly banal and unhelpful, but Jeff imparts it with a zeal that almost fools people into thinking he knows what he's talking about. Almost.
7. Will the Jury Ever Conclude That They've Made a Bad Show?
Each episode of The Jeff Probst Show ends with Jeff sitting down with his producers in some backstage room and going over the show they've just taped, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. And guess what? One of the show's strengths is that it apparently has no weaknesses. So far, the jury has ruled in favor of every one of their choices. This is why most criminal courts insist that juries consist of unbiased peers.
6. Will Jeff Play Matchmaker With All of His Staff?
Maybe it's just because Jeff's own wife Lisa works on the show -- a fact he regularly boasts about -- but the guy sure seems eager to bring romance into the lives of his other employees, whether they want it or not. In Tuesday's episode, he arranged a date between a single woman in the audience and his stage manager, Pete, even dragging the poor guy on camera, thus putting him in the position where he couldn't say no. "This is so awkward, I love it," Jeff crowed. Pete probably felt differently.
5. Where's the Rest of Jeff's Family?
His wife Lisa is a regular presence on the show and he dragged his mom Barbara out for that episode about old people having sex. (We're guessing his dad wanted no part of that particular conversation.) Still no sign of those two kids he's currently playing stepdad to, though. We're betting they'll pop up around sweeps.
4. What Other Personal Rules Will Jeff Break?
In a recent "Jury" segment, executive producers Amy Coleman revealed that two of the things Jeff swore he'd never do the show was cook or work out... and he broke the latter rule when he dropped and did a few burpees with guest Wendy Ida. If he crossed that line so easily, we can only imagine what other rules he'll abandon in the coming weeks. Whatever it is, we hope it doesn't end with him getting arrested. (Actually never mind... that would be awesome.)
3. Can Jeff Hear Himself Speak?
In its short existence, The Jeff Probst Show has already become one of the new fall season's most reliable sources of (unintentional) comedy thanks to Jeff's flair for off-the-cuff comments that, out of context, could double as punchlines in a stand-up comic's set. Here are just a few of our favorites thus far: "Is it just me, or are you guys feeling it?", "Leave it to my wife to button that up" and, best of all, "From an Orthodox Jew to a slut as a P.I. that is really switching it up!"
2. Is Survivor the Show's Secret Word?
So far the long-running CBS reality series seems to be The Jeff Probst Show's version of Voldemort: The-Show-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. There's no trace of Survivor memorabilia on the set, no ex-Survivors have appeared as guests (though we're sure that's coming and we hope that Jeff's heterosexual life partner, Colby Donaldson, is the first one to stop by) and Survivor is even left out of Jeff's voiceover bio that opens each episode. You'd think hosting the series that single-handedly kicked off the competitive reality craze would be something worth boasting about, but apparently not...
1. How Long Do You Wanna Bet This Show Lasts?
Given that The Jeff Probst Show premiered to less-than-stellar ratings and has continued to sink over the course of its first week, we're giving it until the launch of Survivor's 26th season in early 2013. But hey, Anderson Cooper is still around a year later and nobody's really watching that show either. So buckle your seatbelts -- we may have a full season of "Guys on the Couch" rap sessions to look forward to.
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