Whispers of Boston Rob Mariano and trollish Russell Hantz returning for another season of Survivor were heard as far back as the summer of 2010, so it's not exactly a surprise to hear official confirmation that both men are competing for the million dollar prize once again.
Entertainment Weekly "breaks" the news that Rob and Russell are two of the 18 contestants vying for the title of Sole Survivor on next month's Redemption Island. Contrary to original reports, however, neither Rob nor Russell will enter the game with an immunity guarantee: either one of them can be voted out first, leaving them solely at the mercy of their own abilities and their fellow tribe mates. Host Jeff Probst weighed in on Rob and Russell's chances, stating the obvious that both of them have tough roads ahead.
"Rob may have an easier time initially, but Rob’s gong to have a tougher time long term because Rob could win,” he said. “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.”
For Russell, appearing on Redemption Island means that he'll have competed in three of the past four seasons of Survivor. But Rob is making history as well as he becomes the first contestant ever to play the game four times. Not that it matters -- these guys are purely here for entertainment. Probst is absolutely right in saying that Russell has no shot at the title, and Rob's odds are only marginally better. Still, seeing them go head-to-head should be a fun time for fans if nothing else.