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The New 'Survivor': Jeff Speaks

The granddaddy of all reality shows returns tonight, Sept. 16, for its ninth season. Of course, we're talking about "Survivor," and this time all of the lying, cheating and backstabbing will take place on the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu.

The host of the show, Jeff Probst, dropped by The Early Show to tell co-anchor Rene Syler about the latest edition of the program.

To begin with, Probst explains, Vanuatu is "near Australia and Fiji in the southern Pacific. A cluster of islands."

This time around, there are 18 players instead of 16, because the producers found during the making of "Survivor: All-Stars" that the larger number gave them more opportunity to "monkey around when we had a tribal council," explains Probst.

Also, this time around, the contestants are a bit younger than usual. "Not by any particular design," Probst adds. "Sometimes we skew a little older and sometimes not. It depends who we get."

Syler, pointing out that the new players "have yet to penetrate the American psyche," named some of the new Survivors and asked Probst to tell her a little bit about them.

Dolly: "A sheep herder for real. She's probably the best-looking sheep herder you will see in your lifetime. Dolly, a young girl for whom snapping the neck of a chicken is not a big deal. She raises animals to slaughter and has a different approach to that."

Bubba: "He is just a blast. He's a father of four and the thing that is going to be tough for him, you ask him why he's in the game, he'll tell you the truth: 'I'm here to win (for) my family and you need to know that about me. I will betray you to win.'"

Twila: "Twila is one of my favorites. She's my long-shot favorite, because this is a woman who, in her real life, works three jobs. She works every single day. Think about this: 365 days a year; whopping total, $35,000 a year. You ask her why she's doing 'Survivor,' she says, 'I'm wearing out. I need the money. I can't do this forever.' She's not socially skilled. She doesn't spend a lot of time with women and girls and getting her hair done."

Probst predicts that, if she can last long enough in the game, Twila will become a favorite among the "Survivor" fans. "I think people might get behind her, because I think you sort of pull for the person who is just doing their best."

By now, Probst has become known for his safari shirts and the chokers he sometimes wears on the show. (He quips that he wears his signature outfit on dates, along with a nametag that says "Jeff.")

Don't forget to check out the premiere of "Survivor: Vanuatu" tonight at 8, 7 central, on CBS. And as always, the first castoff voted off the island will be interviewed Friday on The Early Show.

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