RAROTONGA, Cook Islands, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- TV's "Survivor" host Jeff Probst defended the show's latest concept for the Cook Islands that divides contestants by race, saying it adds ethnic diversity.
After 12 editions of "Survivor," teams will be divided for the first time into white, black, Hispanic and Asian people struggling to survive 39 days in the South Pacific, the New York Post reported.
"We looked at dividing them ethnically as a positive idea," Probst said. In the past, applicants were 85 percent white, he said, and had a lot of familiarity with the show. The castaways would arrive "full of schemes and strategies to win," Probst said.
"We found people who weren't 'Survivor' savvy, they hadn't applied for the show and, in a lot of cases, they didn't even watch it," he said in the Post report.
Producers and CBS executives are banking that the "race wars," starting next Thursday, will give the show a new twist that will create excitement, the New York Post reported.
"The show, in our minds, has rebirthed itself," Probst said.