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“Survivor 46” host Jeff Probst explains having no Tribal Council vote

The showrunner also stands solidly behind casting Bhanu on the program.

How can someone get voted out of Survivor without actually getting voted out? Well, that very scenario unfolded on this week’s episode of Survivor 46.

All the begging, pleading, and praying in the world could not save Bhanu Gopal from elimination after the Yanu tribe lost their fourth straight immunity challenge. Bhanu’s tribe mates made no secret of their intent to vote him out, and because Bhanu had no immunity idol nor any vote to cast (after losing it on a Journey) there was no way to save himself.

With such a forgone conclusion hanging over Tribal Council — and after confirming the voting plans of all present — Jeff Probst dispensed with the formalities and instead snuffed Bhanu’s torch without any names actually being written down on parchment.

<p>Robert Voets/CBS</p> Jeff Probst on 'Survivor 46'

Robert Voets/CBS

Jeff Probst on 'Survivor 46'

The host explained his decision on the latest episode of his On Fire With Jeff Probst podcast. “It's very rare to have a Tribal like this where everyone knows what is going to happen,” says Probst on the podcast. “You don't have any mystery, you don't have any uncertainty, and it offers us an opportunity to do something different.”

And that something different meant not stringing Bhanu along any longer with such an obvious result. “In this case, what it allowed us to do was let Bhanu finish his story on his terms. And I love how he handled it because he remained true to himself. He was authentic. It was heartfelt. His tribe mates were very accepting, and simultaneously, no doubt grateful he was leaving. But it allowed Bhanu to bring some level of agency in the closure to his experience. This is it. We're going to snuff your torch, and your game is over.”

That approach, the host says, mirrors how producers handled Bhanu’s meltdown throughout the episode “He's mourning his death in the game…. So let us witness this spiritual death through his eyes and through the eyes of his tribe mates and just stay out of the way.”

<p>Robert Voets/CBS</p> Bhanu Gopal on 'Survivor 46'

Robert Voets/CBS

Bhanu Gopal on 'Survivor 46'

And contrary to what some might think, Probst says the edit is never trying to make something look better or worse than it actually was. “The key driver for us is always the same. It has to be authentic to what the player experienced and tell their story in a respectful way. We're not going to bury somebody, but we're also not going to try and protect somebody. It's not about that. It's about showing what happened.”

While some viewers have been critical of someone so mentally and emotionally unprepared for the game being cast on the show, Probst fires back at that. “For my two cents, if we had the chance to go back and do this again, I put Bhanu on the show instantly. Because that is the kind of authenticity that we are desperately seeking. And don't be confused: I'm not saying you should be like Bhanu. I'm saying be yourself and trust. That's the only play. Bhanu drove his tribe mates crazy. That was clear. But it's not because he was a compassionate, caring person. He drove them crazy because of his lack of gameplay abilities.”

To hear more from the host about the latest episode of Survivor 46— including all the behind-the-scenes work that went into showing a simple song on air — check out On Fire with Jeff Probst.

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