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Russell Hantz

Just a few weeks following the finale of season 21, CBS is now unveiling the cast of the all new 22nd season of Survivor: Redemption Island, which will reportedly include two former all-stars.

The battle begins this season in Nicaragua where the 18 castaways will be divided into two Tribes of nine: the Ometepe Tribe and the Zapatera Tribe. The tribes are comprised of individuals from all different backgrounds with the same ultimate goal: to be the Sole Survivor. While 16 of the contestants are new to the competition, two are former castaways who will be given another chance to compete for the million dollar prize and one last shot at redemption.

CBS has released the names of 16 out of the 18 castaways with the promise to reveal the final 2 contestants at the end of this week. It is heavily rumored that those two remaining contestants are none other than rivals Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano. Their return would definitely make for an interesting season.

As we have previously reported, this season of Survivor will be a bit different thanks to some new rules. In fact, host Jeff Probst explained the rule changes two weeks ago. The biggest change being that eliminated contestants do not leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home with the duel winner going on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will get a chance to return to the game. The other rule change is that producers will get to decide whether or not people who quit the game during the jury stage will get to stay and vote for a winner.

The new season of Survivor premieres February 16 at 8/7c on CBS. The cast photos and bios below -

CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE THE CAST PHOTOS AND BIOS!

UPDATE – CBS has now confirmed that the remaining two castaways are returning vets Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz.

“Having never been awarded the title of Sole Survivor, Hantz and Mariano return to compete for the $1 million prize and one last shot at redemption,” CBS said in a statement. “They will each join a separate tribe of all new castaways at the start of the game, but it is the tribe who will ultimately decide if they will welcome the knowledge of an experienced veteran, or view these former castaways as a threat.”

During the reunion show of Survivor:Nicaragua, we learned that the upcoming season of the show would be bringing us some new rules!

In a new interview, host Jeff Probst discusses the new format and rules. The most notable change on the upcoming Survivor: Redemption Island, which premieres Feb. 16 on CBS, is that when a contestant is voted off, he or she won’t leave the game but instead go instead to the “Redemption Island,” where he or she will face off against the next person voted off in a duel.

The loser goes home and the duel winner goes on to face the next arrival at Redemption Island until one person is left standing. That individual will then get a chance to return to the game.

“We did a haphazard version of Redemption Island a few years ago called the Outcasts,” Jeff explains. “It didn’t work and it didn’t please the audience and there was one fundamental flaw – we didn’t tell people up front it was going to happen … So I have no problem with people coming back into the game because everybody knows up front [now]. A rule can’t be unfair if you know going in. It’s an equal opportunity.”

And thanks to the two infamous quitters, NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn, being allowed to quit the game and remain on the jury, much to the fury of fans, the show has now implemented new rules regarding quitters. From the new season on, producers will have total discretion on whether to keep quitters on the show or leave them off the jury. “The most frustrating part for me was that both of them, due to a precedent we already set on the show, were allowed to stay on the jury and have an influence at the end of the game,” Jeff tells PEOPLE.

In other Survivor news, Matthew “Sash” Lenahan found himself in the same position as popular villain Russell Hantz during the finale show. Despite playing a pretty good game, Sash ended up not only losing the game, but receiving zero votes from his jury peers as he simply ruffled too many feathers. In an interview with TV Guide, Sash discusses not receiving any votes and who surprised him the most on the jury. Excerpts below -

TVGuide.com: Why do you think you didn’t receive a single vote from the jury?
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan:
It’s rough. I think I played a great game on the show. I don’t regret anything. I think I made the best move every step of the way, and I did the best that I could. I can’t control how the jury is going to vote. I did think that I had a shot tonight, but I think the jury voted a lot based on emotion and previous relationships, and not necessarily based on the way I played, which is how I would have based my vote. I just thought some of the members of the jury would have respected the game more.

But saying that, Fabio is a great winner. I am a super fan of the show, I’ve watched all 10 years and 20 seasons, and no one has ever played like Fabio has. I thought I knew all the twists and all the turns and all the angles, but he played a way I’ve never seen, so he’s very deserving.

TVGuide.com: Was there anyone on the jury whose comments surprised you the most?
Sash:
It really surprises me because this is a game. There are some people, Jane in particular, who tried to hit below the belt. You saw with me, the comments she made about my mother, the comments she made about Marty and his kids. It’s a game. I had my game face on, but I love everyone. I don’t hold any grudges. I know that they are all amazing people, but it’s a shame when you see people take it to a level that’s unnecessary.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES? DO YOU THINK SASH SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN SOME VOTES? DID JANE TAKE THINGS TOO PERSONAL?

Los Angeles native Jud Birza aka Fabio became the $1 million winner of Survivor:Nicaragua after outlasting, outwitting and outplaying his fellow competitors following 39 days in the rain forest.

The 21-year-old college student and model beat out musician Chase Rice, 24 and real-estate broker Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, 30, to become the youngest Survivor contestant ever to win the game.

Fabio won by a 5-4 vote, beating out Chase. And in what can only be described as the Russell Hantz effect, villain Sash received zero votes.

Fabio, who won the last three immunity challenges, stated numerous times that he is not as dumb as others thought he was. Dog trainer Jane Bright, 56, was declared the fan favorite, winning the $100,000 Sprint Fan Favorite award. NaOnka Mixon, who host Jeff Probst called “a great villain” admitted that she “acted a fool” on the show but ultimately defended all her actions.

And thanks to NaOnka and Purple Kelly aka the Quitters, Jeff announced last night that starting with the new season, quitters will now have some repercussions, such as not being allowed on the jury. The decision will however be in the hands of the show’s producers.

The next big announcement was that the new season will have a new twist called Redemption Island. According to Jeff, when a contestant is voted out, they will go to Redemption Island and stay there alone, before being ultimately joined by the next person voted out. The two will then compete in a duel and the winner will remain on Redemption Island. After a certain period, the last person left standing on Redemption Island will get to return to the game.

We also got an update of Boston Rob and Amber. The two just delivered their second daughter Carina Rose on December 10th.

My Thoughts – I thought Fabio made an excellent move in deciding to vote out Holly. He’s definitely not as dumb as he appears. Holly would have likely won had she made the finals and quite frankly, I believe she deserved to win. She is the only member of the older tribe left in the game, the only woman left standing and she made some great moves in the game. She is the one who orchestrated the elimination of Brenda — a major competitor. Had it not been for Holly, Brenda would have likely been in the final 3 with Sash.

Personally, I was rooting for Fabio the most and I’m glad he won. I did not think Chase deserved to win at all and believed his game play was about as impressive as Kelly Purple’s. He just seemed to go with the flow, doing what others told him to do. I’m not surprised Sash didn’t get a vote. I’m guessing he failed to watch Russell Hantz’s performance on the last season. Part of Survivor is the social game and pissing everyone off and backstabbing everyone is never a good idea. Sash was a bad player in my opinion because he lied when he didn’t need to, thus making himself more enemies than he needed to.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS SEASON OF SURVIVOR AND FABIO WINNING? SHOULD PLAYERS LIKE SASH & RUSSELL BE PUNISHED FOR BACKSTABBING? THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RULES?

RUSSELL HANTZ

This season’s Survivor Heroes vs Villains is being hailed by many as being one of the best ever.  The ratings also proved to be great, as they were up from last May with over 13 million viewers tuning in.

There is however some controversy over Sandra Diaz-Twine being crowned the winner. Some feel Parvati Shallow deserved to win, while others feel fan favorite Russell Hantz should have won.  One person who agrees with the later is none other than Russell himself. In a new interview with ET, Russell, 37, feels he won in his head and also believes he played a good social game despite what his Survivor peers believe.

Excerpts from Russell’s interview below -

ET: Do you feel robbed? This is the second time you made it to the end and didn’t win?

Russell Hantz: When I win the Player of the Game, the MVP of the game, then my argument is legitimate. I am not just saying it. I am not being cocky. It is fact. The fans think I played the best twice. They voted me the fan favorite. I won twice. It is amazing that people get so bitter and can’t vote the way they are supposed to vote. All these weak people who play this game.

ET: All season the voted off survivors told me that they didn’t think you had a good social game. You didn’t receive a single vote last night. Do you think that is why?

Russell Hantz: They are saying I have a strategic game, but not a social game? Look what I did at Tribal Council. People say that, but they get their feelings hurt so much because my social game is so good. Look how I switched the vote at Tribal Council. It was supposed to be Rupert, and Danielle went home. I looked at Jerri and said, “Danielle.” If that doesn’t say right there that my social game was brilliant… How can you get somebody to switch their vote just by looking at them and saying the other girl’s name?

ET: Intimidation?

Russell Hantz: She trusted me. She believed me. That is why. She believed me the entire time. They could have ganged up on me. I was one person out there. If I was that weak and they couldn’t take me out, it makes me look even better. If I am that good at intimidation, I am even better.

ET: Was it harder playing this the second time with survivors who had played before?

Russell Hantz: It was really hard. The first time was a piece of cake. It was laughable. The second season was tough. There were really tough players out there. Parvati was really good. Boston Rob, Cirie, Candice and Amanda are all really good players.

ET: Do you think you were at an advantage because they didn’t see your game?

Russell Hantz: I think it was equally the same. Everybody thinks I have a huge advantage, but they were all friends. They all went to events together and know each other. I am sure they were calling each other on the phone before it all started. I didn’t have that advantage. Also, my disadvantage was that I had just played 39 days of a very strategic game. Also, I was physically whipped because I had just played 39 days in a very physical game. You can definitely say I was at an advantage because they didn’t see me play, but you also say, I had a disadvantage because they had advantages on their side, too.

TELL US – WAS RUSSELL ROBBED? SHOULD HE HAVE WON?

survivor-allstar-finale

In what some are calling the best season ever of Survivor, 34-year-old bank teller Sandra Diaz-Twine became the first castoff ever to win the show twice when she was awarded the $1 million prize on “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.”

And it wasn’t an easy task. Sandra had to beat out Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz, who lost his second season in a row. Russell, 37, ended up receiving zero votes, as the jurors determined he played the game too dirty. Russell was however awarded the $100,000 consolation prize yet again. The prize is for being the fan favorite and the winner is determined by viewer votes.

When asked if winning the show twice made her the best player in Survivor history, “It makes me the queen,” replied Sandra. One person who wasn’t too happy with Sandra’s win was disgruntled Russell who believes there’s a flaw in the game, “If [Sandra] can win the game twice.”

Parvati, 27, who placed second, was however a more gracious loser than Russell. Host Jeff Probst also revealed that after 114 days of playing the game over three seasons, she has played it more than anyone else. It was also revealed she’s tied for second for most individual challenge wins. Surprisingly Colby Donaldson still has the record, despite his bad game play this season.

The dumbest move ever award was also awarded last night and the unfortunate winner of that was JT, who was seen earlier this seen handing over his immunity idol to villain Russell.

Going into yesterday’s finale, I was rooting for Sandra and thought she played the best game, but after watching last night, I had a change of heart. I found myself rooting for Parvati, who I now believe played the best game this season and in my opinion is the best player in Survivor history. I believe Sandra had a lot of luck go her way, while Parvati had to win and scheme.

TELL US – DO YOU THINK SANDRA PLAYED THE BEST GAME? IF NOT, WHO DO YOU THINK DID?

survivor-finale

Tonight is the long awaited finale of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and with four villains left standing, it is all but certain a villain will be crowned the $1 million winner during the 2 hour finale.

The favorites to win it all seem to be Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, and Russell Hantz, as Parvati and Sandra are both past winners. The lone standing Hero Colby Donaldson has a good shot if he makes it to the finale two, however with Colby’s almost non existence game play this season, that seems unlikely.

Russell, who also has a good shot of making the final two, will likely not the $1 million prize. He has simply played too dirty, and will have a hard time getting votes in the end. The finale airs tonight on CBS at 8pm Eastern, followed by the reunion show at 10pm.


rupert boneham

Heroes tribe member Rupert Boneham found himself the latest castoff to be eliminated as he chose to align with Russell during the last episode.

In a new interview with PEOPLE, Rupert, 46, discusses his choice to align with Russell, why he turned on Sandra and why the Heroes could have won it all.

Excerpts from his interview below –

You couldn’t possibly have been surprised by that vote.
I knew my number was up at the last few tribal councils. The rock in my pocket trick gave me one more day and the villain infighting that resulted in them getting rid of Danielle bought me another. I tried to do it a third time by going to Russell and saying the girls were trying to get him and going to the girls and saying that Russell was at camp planning to vote them [off]. It just didn’t work that time.

Did anyone have a clue that Sandra had an idol?
None. It had been hours since I put that rock in my pocket and no one called me on it, so I figured it was still out there and the clue was too hard. Up until she stood up and played it, I thought I still had a chance at a tie.

Sandra and you were allies in Pearl Islands for awhile. She narced on Russell at the merge and seemed happy to flip yet you guys didn’t utilize that. Then you sold her out again last night? Why?
I was trying to play them against each other that last day. They didn’t show me asking her why she wrote my name down when she said she wanted to get rid of Parvati or Russell. Her answer was always the same — “I have to stick with my villains.” I never knew when to believe or trust her. I knew she was trying to be honest because Sandra’s my buddy but the other heroes wouldn’t listen. Then we tried to get Russell by explaining that the girls would gang up on him given the chance just like they had for the immunity challenge but he wouldn’t listen either.

Did you ever in a million years think the last Hero standing would be Colby?
Oh my gosh, no, because he’s been a wet noodle in this one. If James hadn’t gotten hurt, Colby would have never made it this far. I really like Colby, but he’s the last standing because no one sees him as a threat. He used to be a big threat.

Do villains play Survivor better?
A villain type has an advantage because they’re more willing to compromise their values and do whatever it takes to win. I’m not willing to do that. I have guidelines and boundaries and I like showing that it matters how you play the game. I still say that if the heroes had stood together, it would have been all heroes in the final five. We had the chance to show the game as positive and we each chose on our own not to. Amanda chose to tell Parvati everything, which is why she gave both those idols away. JT chose to go to the evil side and give Russell our idol. Candace chose to flip. A hero could win this game but it takes more than one. You need a team.

TELL US: WHO SHOULD WIN SURVIVOR:HEROES VS VILLAINS? WHO PLAYED THE BEST GAME?

[polldaddy poll=3210796]

JT Survivor Allstar

James “JT” Thomas went from hero to zero, all within a very short period during him time on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.

The former winner of Survivor: Tocantins found himself eliminated after making a crucial mistake in his game play – trusting Russell Hantz that is. In a new interview with RealityTVWorld, JT,25, speaks out on his elimination, his decision to trust Russell and not Sandra, and the things we didn’t get to see on TV.

Excerpts from JT’s interview below -

Reality TV World: Why were you so arrogantly confident that Russell could be trusted? [Rupert Boneham] even told you during last night’s episode that he must be on the Villains tribe for a reason. Didn’t you think it was possible he was playing you?

J.T.: Oh yeah, I definitely came off way more confident than I felt like I was. (laughing) There was a couple days we contemplated the plan. When it was all packed into one episode, it looks like we were really confident.

My first thought was the women alliance when they voted [Tyson Apostol] off. When I said that, Rupert brought it up at the next three challenges. They just picked up on that and started feeding that — played it up. But we were never really sure about Russell at all. When it first started, I was excited about it. But as soon as we spent one night together at our camp [after the merge], we knew we were in trouble and that I had made the wrong move.

But in doing that move, we wanted to do a couple things. We also knew that Russell may keep the idol for himself and vote Parvati out just to try to make me think that he’s one of us. That’s what I thought he would do. That was my thoughts, that he was going to think, “Okay, I’ll vote Parvati out to keep this idol. I’d be a step ahead of the game.” But in all honesty, I would have voted him out next. That was my thinking — worst-case scenario, he keeps the idol. Who cares? We’ll play along and let him vote Parvati out and that’s all we really wanted done anyway. There’s more than one angle to it.

Reality TV World: Did you ever start to believe that there might be some truth behind what Sandra had told Rupert about Russell? Because last night’s episode was a little unclear, but you still seemed confident that Russell was on your side even after Parvati willing stepped down during the Immunity Challenge.

J.T.: No. After Parvati stepped down we knew we were at the losing end of some deal we didn’t know about. That’s actually when I act like I’m stepping down, Parvati and [Danielle DiLorenzo], that got them really excited. I was in pain. I was like, “Oh no. They’re just waiting for me to get down.” So I knew I was in trouble.

Reality TV World: At that point did you believe Parvati and Russell were working together?

J.T.: No. I did not know that. I thought Parvati might even know more than what Russell knew. I thought she may even have something over him, which she did with the idol. But I didn’t expect that.

Reality TV World: What made the Heroes’ decide to target Jerri instead of Sandra and would you have gone after Danielle instead if she had not won Immunity?

J.T.: We probably would have went after Danielle. But we knew Russell wasn’t with her and we knew that we wanted him to vote Parvati. So we let it slip that we were voting Sandra, that way he would vote Sandra and we’d have an out if he wasn’t with us. That’s why I thought Parvati got tipped off by one of the girls because Russell fell right for it. But Parvati somehow knew we were voting Jerri. Nobody ever talked about Jerri.

Reality TV World: You already said you didn’t expect Parvati to do what she did last night, but did you really think there was any chance she would give it to someone else?

J.T.: We thought she might give it away because we were so obvious that we were voting Parvati that she probably wouldn’t believe it. So we knew there was a chance, but we thought Jerri would be the last person. We knew they didn’t get along.

Reality TV World: There’s been a lot of talk about whether it was fair or not for Russell to get to play the game without anyone having gotten to seen his season first. Do you think he would have had any chance of making it this far if you guys had all seen his Samoa season before Heroes vs. Villains was filmed?

J.T.: I think there’s arguments to both sides of that. I played Tocantins and had never seen any of them play and had done really well versus seeing a lot of different players, so it can be argued either way. Everyone knew when we were going out there that there was one person when we got there that would be from a season that we were not familiar with. None of us hesitated to play it. It’s all in the game. It makes it more difficult.

Reality TV World: Even if you did completely trust Russell, giving him a Hidden Immunity Idol without ever seeing Survivor: Samoa or spending one day with him in camp is an incredibly bold and risky move. Why did you consider his joining the Heroes at the merge such an important move, were you that certain you were going to have no chance to get someone else like maybe Sandra to flip?

J.T.: It didn’t ever really cross my mind that I could get one of the girls until afterwards. Once we merged, everyone was scared to talk to each other. It made it clear that they had a plan, and we were vice-versa. It was pretty set in stone. There was never anybody really wanting to trade except Sandra. It appears that. Unfortunately I never got a chance to talk to her.

TELL US- WHO’S THE BETTER PLAYER? PARVATI OR RUSSELL?

survivor-russell-hantzRussell Hantz Mug Shot

Russell Hantz of Survivors: Heroes vs. Villains was arrested this morning, reports TMZ.

According to TMZ, Russell was arrested in Louisiana early this morning for attacking someone at a street festival. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Russellwas partying at the Festival International de Louisiane, when he allegedly “shoved” somebody to the pavement.

Russell, 37, was then arrested and taken to jail, but has now been released.

On the topic of Survivor, how amazing was last night’s episode? Parvati‘s move to give both of her idols to Sandra and Jerri was not only genius and entertaining, but proved to be effective as the Heroes’ JT was sent packing.

The question now however seems to be whether or not Parvati made the best move for the long term. When you think about it, Sandra isn’t exactly on her “team” or “alliance.” So why waste an idol to save her? More importantly, why not get a deal from Sandra before you decide to use your idol on her? Plus by not telling Russell about her idol, she has now somewhat alienated her strongest ally in the game.

So it seems though while a great move at the moment, it will likely hurt Parvati in the long run, and I still can’t get over just how much JT trusted Russell. Hello? The guy’s on the villain’s team JT! It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. The show’s definitely getting good.

UPDATE – Russell’s mugshot has been released, as can be seen above.

TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF PARVATI’S MOVE LAST NIGHT?

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