On Monday we got our first look at 16 castmembers from the upcoming season of Survivor: Redemption Island. Today we learn that Survivor alums Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz join the cast as the 17th and 18th castmembers … confirming rumors that the two popular Survivor stars would be coming back for redemption.
The 16 new contestants of Survivor: Redemption Island will have to battle more than the elements and each other. They’ll also have two familiar faces to deal with as Boston Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz will be renewing their heated rivalry from Heroes vs Villains and returning to play the game once again. For Russell, it will be his third appearance in the past four seasons, while Boston Rob becomes the first person to ever compete four times on the show. Rob and Russell’s feud in last spring’s Heroes vs Villains helped make the season one of the franchise’s finest, but could some fans be feeling a bit of Russell fatigue after seeing the polarizing player command so much screen time on both Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains? Host Jeff Probst doesn’t think so. “I’m not concerned at all about any Russell fatigue — that people have had too much,” says Probst. “If you’ve had too much of Russell, I dare say you’re not really a Survivor fan. He embodies Survivor. He’s polarizing. You hate him or you love him.” The former players will each join a tribe after a drawing of concealed buffs and — contrary to internet rumors — they will not be offered any immunity, meaning either one of them could be voted out first (and sent to Redemption Island, where they would be forced to compete to reenter the game). But while Russell may seem like a shoo-in to be the first person out, Probst told EW.com while on location in Nicaragua just minutes after filming on the season began that he doesn’t believe that will be the case. “I do not think Russell or Rob will be the first person voted out of this game. Because I think they bring too much experience — 156 days between the two of them. When you’re playing a game, there’s a lot to be learned.” Probst also believes that Boston Rob — who transformed himself from a villain to a hero last year — may actually have a tougher time than Russell sticking around when the going gets tough. “Rob may have an easier time initially, but Rob’s gong to have a tougher time long term because Rob could win,” says the host. “Rob is likable enough. He could win. Russell’s not going to win. Russell doesn’t get that. He’s not gonna win. Even if he was nice this season, the payoff for past seasons won’t let him win. Rob is going to have a tough time if he makes it to the merge.”
Meh. I absolutely consider myself a Survivor fan and I am TOTALLY sick of Russell and his a-hole behavior. I find it hard to believe that he will change his game strategy, meaning he will irritate and alienate everyone on the show. That said, he’s the perfect kind of jerk you want to be compared to when the jury is giving away $1 million bucks so … he very well may stay in the game for a while. Boston Rob, on the other hand, bores me. He was so lackluster in the Heroes vs. Villains season that I don’t even care to watch him play again. I am MUCH more interested in meeting the new castmembers and finding people to love and loathe as the season progresses. The addition of Rob and Russell doesn’t make me want to watch the show any more than I already did … as a true Survivor fan, I’ll tune in no matter what gimmicks the producers toss in to try and make the show look more appealing.