Some people have jobs that are pure drudgery, where they do the same thing day after day after day after day.
After 16 years, you’d think that Jeff Probst would feel that way about Survivor. After all, he delivers many of the same lines on each episode. Immunity is won and lost. Someone is voted out. A torch is snuffed.
As the show prepares to debut its 32nd season in February, Probst enthusiastically tells PEOPLE that there is plenty of life left in the Survivor franchise. And the numbers don’t lie – the show still delivers strong ratings, consistently winning the night in key demographics.
And Probst, 54, isn’t going anywhere.
While talking to PEOPLE on Friday, he spoke animatedly about future seasons and plans, hoping aloud that certain concepts would be done multiple times in the future.
So it begged the question: Jeff Probst has now helmed the show 32 times. How much longer can he go?
“Anybody who meets me and talks about Survivor always walks away with the same takeaway: ‘Wow, that guy is still super enthusiastic,’ ” Probst tells PEOPLE. “I know there are some people who question whether it’s authentic. I promise you, it’s 100 percent real.”
“The reason why I’m still enthusiastic today is the same reason why I wanted the job so badly back in 2000: I love humans. I love human behavior,” he continues. “If you love human behavior, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t love human behavior, you think I’m speaking gobbledygook.”
“What keeps me doing this job is that I love watching people make decisions – and the consequences that come as a result of those decisions,” he continues. “It fascinates me.”
“And when you add in this carrot of a million dollars and you drop these land mines along the way, it gets really interesting. Then you mention that there are 19 other people who also want the money, and it gets really, really interesting. It just never gets old.”
“It’s just a fascinating setup to study humans. I swear to you, I don’t have to put on any fake energy for Survivor. I love it. I ask the questions that are on my mind. I comment on what I see at the challenge. The experiment keeps going, and I love it.”
So will he leave Survivor anytime soon? “I’ve got a great job that has me doing what I love,” Probst says. “I’m looking forward to many more seasons.”
Survivor: Kaoh Rong premieres with a special 90-minute episode on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET.