Survivor's Ethan Zohn Gives His Unfiltered Thoughts About The Show's Format Today - Exclusive

If there's one show that challenges the mind, body, and spirit of the contestants, it's "Survivor." The popular reality series has been on the air for decades at this point, and has brought viewers face-to-face with some incredible human feats of strength. To quickly recap what the competition entails, contestants are plunged into the wilderness and are expected to essentially make it out alive — securing their own shelter, fire, food, and other resources, all while facing challenges that are designed to test the very limits of their capabilities. 

Ethan Zohn is one such former competitor who proved he had what it takes to beat the "Survivor" terrain, taking home the winning title of "Survivor: Africa." He wasn't done, though, and competed in "Survivor: All-Stars" and "Survivor: Winners at War" in later seasons. While Zohn didn't win his second and third attempts at "Survivor" glory, he solidified his status as a worthy competitor regardless.

Zohn's journey both on and off-camera hasn't always been easy, but he's made it out on the other side and has lived to tell the tales of his experiences on the show. During an exclusive interview with Zohn, he shared what it was really like to compete and gave his unfiltered thoughts about the show's dynamic now. Would he make it on "Survivor" these days? We certainly think so.

Ethan Zohn thinks the new seasons of 'Survivor' are drastically different

When we sat down with Ethan Zohn, we just had to ask him about "Survivor" and what he thinks of the show today — it'd be like sitting down with Chris Harrison and not asking him about "The Bachelor," for you reality television gurus reading. As we pointed out during the interview, the last two seasons of "Survivor" have incorporated far more twists and challenges for the competitors to face. Does Zohn think he still has what it takes to compete? He certainly thinks so, and he didn't mince any words in his response.

"I mean it's only 26 days, so I feel like anyone can last 26 days," Zohn said. "I don't think the game is better or worse. I just think it's different. But I feel that an average player or below average player can go far in the game because of all those [twists] you mentioned: clues, idols, nullifiers, advantages, disadvantages, ways to get back in the game."

Zohn didn't just have criticism though. He shared that during Season 4 of the show, an element of currency was introduced to the competitors, and they had the chance to buy things with "fire tokens" to keep them going. "I love what 'Survivor' does to keep it fresh and exciting and new," Zohn said, adding plenty more thoughts to share.

Why does Ethan Zohn think of himself as an old-school player?

When we asked Ethan Zohn to dish on the new seasons of "Survivor," he alluded to an aspect of the show that came as a surprise — he now considers himself an "old-school player," and shared that the heart of the series just isn't the same as it used to be.

"The aspect of surviving isn't a priority anymore. I'm an old-school player. I played way back in the day. And so I gravitate toward the old-school style of play," Zohn explained. "I don't think it works in today's game. It's clear that if you watch Season 40, the old-school players got knocked off one through nine right off the bat."

The "Survivor" champ also pointed out that the pace of the game is now incredibly different, giving an entirely new set of tactics to the players. "I don't know if it's better or worse. It's just different," Zohn said. "And so, my skill set, I feel I'm good at surviving. I feel I can out-starve anyone out there. So, those things are removed a little bit when you add all these other impulses into the game."

Watch "Survivor" Seasons 3 and 40, streaming on Paramount+. You can keep up with AKTIV Against Cancer and Trulieve Cannabis, or Ethan's other projects by visiting his website at