'Survivor: Redemption Island': New cast and another new twist revealed!

Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

A Miss USA competitor, two former NFL players, and an Iraq war veteran are among the contestants who will be playing for $1 million when Survivor: Redemption Island premieres Wednesday, February 16 on CBS. But the most famous faces competing have yet to be announced, as two former players will once again be returning to the game, bringing the total contestant count to 18. (Their identities will be revealed later in the week.) This will not be the first time that two former players have come back to lead their tribes into battle: Stephenie LaGrossa and Bobby Jon Drinkard of Survivor: Palau returned for the Guatemala season, with LaGrossa making it all the way to the final two (where she lost to Danni Boatwright).

As for the 16 newcomers, they do not include 2009 Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean — who, like MMA fighter Kimbo Slice, was erroneously reported online as being part of the cast — but another 2009 Miss USA competitor, Ashley Underwood (Miss Maine), did make the cut. And a few of the other cast members do have connections to previous Survivors: Steve Wright used to play football on the Dallas Cowboys with Survivor: Guatemala‘s Gary Hogeboom, while Grant Mattos (another former NFL player) was encouraged to compete by his good friend Natalie Bolton (Survivor: Micronesia). Other contestants with notable pasts include Mike Chisel, who saw combat in Iraq, and Krista Klumpp, who was the head cheerleader at Auburn University.

In addition to the two returning players (who will each end up on a tribe after a drawing of concealed buffs), the other big twist to season 22 of Survivor is the addition of Redemption Island, where players are sent after being voted off and compete in duels for a chance to reenter the game at a later point. “We have all our duels laid out,” host Jeff Probst told EW.com while on location in Nicaragua just moments after filming began on the season. “Luck of the draw which one you get. Depends what time you’re at Redemption Island. Some will be a little tougher. Some will be puzzle based.” Unlike the hotly debated Outcasts twist of Pearl Islands, this time contestants will be informed of the twist at the very start of the season, and the people voted off and hoping to return will be stuck in the same conditions with the same supplies as everyone else (meaning no advantage in being able to refuel and recharge).

Filmed on the same beaches as those used for Survivor: Nicaragua, the season begins with the contestants (along with Probst) being delivered to their destination in style. “We came in on a Mil-17, ” says Probst, “which is a Russian helicopter that is owned by the Nicaraguan air force, and that was one of the baddest rides that I’ve ever had. It is a huge machine. You can’t hear a thing when you’re up there.”

For exclusive video interviews and footage of each contestant, check out the video player below. (The full list of Survivor: Redemption Island contestants is below the video player.) Also make sure to view our photo gallery of the new cast, with quotes from each. Finally, for Survivor news, views, and reviews all season long, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

The cast of Survivor: Redemption Island
Andrea Boehlke

Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Current residence: Random Lake, WI

Ashley Underwood

Age: 26
Occupation: Business owner/model
Current residence: Benton, ME

David Murphy
Age: 31
Occupation: Criminal defense attorney
Current residence: Los Angeles, CA

Francesca Hogi
Age: 35
Occupation: Lawyer
Current residence: Washington, D.C.

Grant Mattos
Age: 29
Occupation: Personal Trainer/ Former NFL player
Current residence: West Hollywood, CA

Julie Wolfe

Age: 50
Occupation: Fire department engineer
Current residence: Oceanside, CA

Krista Klumpp

Age: 25
Occupation: Pharmaceutical sales rep
Current residence: Fairhope, AL

Kristina Kell

Age: 46
Occupation: Law student
Current residence: Los Angeles, CA

Matthew Elrod

Age: 22
Occupation: Pre-med student
Current residence: Nashville, TN

Mike Chisel
Age: 31
Occupation: Realtor/ex-military
Current residence: Del Mar, CA

Natalie Tenerelli
Age 19
Occupation: Dancer/student
Current residence: Acton, CA

Phillip Sheppard

Age: 52
Occupation: CEO, Enterprise Software Sales Group
Current residence: Santa Monica, CA

Ralph Kiser
Age: 45
Occupation: Farmer
Current residence: Lebanon, VA

Sarita White
Age: 36
Occupation: Visual effects producer
Current residence: Santa Monica, CA

Stephanie Valencia
Age: 26
Occupation: Server/student
Current residence: Long Beach, CA

Steve Wright
Age: 51
Occupation: Former NFL player
Current residence: Huntington Beach, CA

Comments (196 total) Add your comment
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  • Doris

    Everyone knows it’s Boston Rob Mariano and that nasty Russell.

    • Tajah

      Would be pretty sweet if it was them!

      • dally

        It is.

      • jen

        Not if you are a viewer who wants to see the game actually played. They are given immunity through to the merge. No thanks.

      • TorontoTom

        I’m thrilled that it is BOSTON ROB and RUSSELL. Each tribe will actually have a LEADER that the others won’t vote off out of fear. Keeping your STRONGEST players will MATTER early on – both BR & R will want to go into the merge with the numbers to win it. Under the radar types (DAN!!!) will be cut loose early since they do not help win challenges. I think it has the makings of a GREAT SEASON (and I’m not really a fan of either RB or R but I think the change to the game will really be for the better!)

      • Drew

        I know that’s the talk of the intarwebz, but I think that would be awful, especially in the case of Boston Rob. He’s had his chance so often. He’s had 3 seasons of Survivor and 2 of the Amazing Race to earn himself a championship and he hasn’t. If the theme is redemption, find people who need redeeming, instead of the fan favorites that everyone already loves. Likewise, Russell made it to his finale twice in a row. That doesn’t need redeeming either.

    • Donknottz

      I hope so because this cast looks awful. Disaster in the making.

      • LEO

        who was in the audience at the recent finale? it was Russell and also Rupert. Boston Rob was there to talk about his new baby.
        I’d love it if it was Russell against winner number one, Richard Hatch. They never got to compete because Richard was still on probation…is he through now?

      • Ian

        So were Coach and a handful of others. It’s been that way at every reunion show.

      • jenkay

        I agree….there are a few that look interesting but more look like the lame cast they had this season. We need BR & R who can really play the game the way it’s meant to be played.

    • Rock Golf

      Yeah. Word is they’re each “coaching” a team. I assume they can’t be kicked out for the first couple of rounds, but perhaps not.

    • giriganesh

      Iam ganesh giri

    • Papa

      My guess is it’s Shambo and Lunch Lady Denise.

      • axn

        LOL ooh my god that would be hilarious. Denise was so frikin nasty…

    • Minutiae

      It’s the worst kept secret in the history of reality TV. *L*

    • darclyte

      Memo to Survivor creators:

      Instead of bringing back people for their 3rd or 4th time, why not bring back people who had to leave due to medical issues that could make another go at it? “Good” Russell from Survivor:Samoa and Mike Skupin would make MUCH better stories to see them return than Boston Rob and “Evil” Russell.


      Survivor Fans

      • D.

        I’m a “Survivor Fan” too, but please don’t speak for me…I’m flipping out at the thought of BRob and Russell coming back…I love them both!!! If it is true, then I am one very Happy Survivor Fan. :D

      • Patricia

        That actually is a great idea but what about James who went out injured but who was in a couple times already?

      • Eric

        I love Rob, but I don’t want to see him on Survivor ever again (unless he could please, please replace that fawning Probst as host). But if it means Russell coming back, then I really never want to Rob ever again. Russell has no strategy: be an unathletic, older man and get taken to the end because anyone can beat you.

    • Alison

      I hate Russell so much that I’m seriously considering not watching this season if he turns out to be one of the returning Survivors.

      • SLB

        I won’t watch if that idiot Russell is on again.

      • IndyStacey

        I’m with you. If Russell is on, I will not be watching.

      • mia

        Russell will be on and he has immunity through to the merge (as will Rob). The producers clearly have given up, so why shouldn’t the viewers??

      • akane

        Russell is one of the worst participants ever, I hate that man. With Rob it is a different story I really like him so if its mainly war between those two I hope Rob wins.

      • ARiatA

        Y’all are in the minority, he won fan favorite both times he played.

    • Juneau

      I could watch Boston Rob every season, but Russell is so arrogant he’s hard to listen to. Then again, I think Boston Rob will clean Russell’s clock now that he knows how Russ-hole plays.

    • Steph

      Agreed, people online have been talking about this for months. It would be a shock if it wasn’t them.

      • melissa

        Because if the “people” online say it is, then it must be so? That reliable interweb.

      • Papa

        In this case Melissa, yes. Go to the site “True Dork Times” for all the spoilers. They’ve been right the last 2 seasons, no reason to believe they’d be off-base this time.

      • Ian

        Yes, by all means go to that site and learn the boot order and then post it here like a bunch of twits do every season. Honestly, if you’re going to visit those kind of sites, why bother watching?

    • holly

      Can not stand nasty Russell. If it is im I hope they lose his Arse very quickly

      • SLB

        Seeing that almost everyone said Russell is their least favorite player, i’d say that’s a good sign he’ll be on this season. If so, hopefully they kick his stupid *ss out the first week so i can watch the show.

    • Eolra

      Ugh. We just saw Russell play TWICE just 1 season ago. Can we give it a freaking rest please?

  • deedee

    Are the only people who want to be on this show from California?

    • Fr415

      I agree and I’m from california. This is some weak casting.

      • Corvus13

        Totally agree. Ten Californians? And I’m from California.

        And why do they think we want to see former NFL players and former beauty contestants? We want to see regular people.

    • Barbara

      There are 49 states besides CA….why so many from CA? This is really weak casting considering viewers come from all 50 states

    • ohyeah

      I was just thinking the same thing. I believe it is 10 of 16 listed here are from CA.

    • Eolra

      I was thinking the same thing. LAME.

    • Anon

      Most are from California because most players are no longer selected from applicants but are rather “cast” from people the producers meet on the street to fulfill the minimum requirement of 2 women with DD cup sizes one “professional type”, one southerner, one a-hole, etc.

      • T2

        Casting is a bunch of lazy A-holes. VENTURE OUT INTO THE REAL WORLD, and quit already with the model-types.

  • noa

    why are all of them from clifornia?? looks like another cast of people the producers found, and not of people who just applied to be on survivor.

  • Dash

    Boo! I don’t mind Boston Rob coming back but Russell was nasty to watch and made his two seasons in my bottom 5 of Survivor. I hope his tribe smartens up and sends his troll @ss home first chance they get.

    • Ron

      You’d be in the minority as most people loved those seasons. Russell was one of the best players ever, love him or hate him.

      • davey

        Definitely LOVED Russell. Boston Rob is kinda boring. Bring back Parvati!

      • jen

        Most people definitely did not love Russell, I hate to break it to you. We will now have Russell in 3 of the past 4 seasons. That is ridiculous. The producers have clearly given up.

      • Nikki Ragwa

        Speak for yourself Ron. I will never watch another Survivor episode with Russell in it, he turns my stomach!

      • Ian

        There’s a difference between loving a contestant, and loving watching them play the game. Many people who despised Russell were sure bets to not miss an episode hoping he’d get the boot.

      • Ashley

        LOVE Russell, he would be the only reason I would watch this season

  • chris

    wow fire all your casting people.they wrecking a great show with bad contestants. it gets worse every season

    • Ashley

      I know. I just want to watch some real people I can relate to; most of this cast just looks like a bunch of attention whores that would be on any show for exposure.

    • Bob

      completely agree, think I’m skipping this season, doesn’t sound good

    • Anth

      I know, this cast is awful. My guess is that they deliberately picked the most generic group of previous contestant clones possible to make sure we all root for Rob or Russell.

      This cast + the unnecessary returnees + the completely format-altering Redemption Island = Probst and co. really do not understand what fans want out of this show. Then again, that’s been made abundantly clear by their continued use of the final three when 95% of fans prefer F2.

  • JRE

    Goodness, there are places in the US beside California and the south. We do have a token from Maine and another from Wisconsin.

    • TOS

      But even the Maine entrant is a former Miss USA (i.e. prolly wanna-be model/actress).

      Casting is getting terrible.

      • Vicki Trafton

        What difference does it make if someone wants to further themselves? Sounds like some people aren’t comfortable in their own skin and are dumping on attractive females. Just so happens this Maine entrant graduated with a perfect GPA in nursing while being the number one Division I basketball player on her college team. She’s already a model too – so she isn’t a “wanna be” at anything.

  • andy

    no need to send in videos anymore, just go to your local bar in LA, you will be cast.

  • Kyle

    I can’t stand Boston Rob–I am so sick of seeing him (and hearing that awful accent) on my TV. I really hope he doesn’t come back–let his 15 min end! Russell, on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind seeing again–it’s amazing how he can get people to bend to his will through threats.

    • ohyeah

      Disagree. I could listen to him talk all day. But I will say that I don’t really like it when they bring back former players. There are plenty of people in CA that want to play…

    • T2

      “Boston” Rob is a frickin’ cheeseball who talks like an extra from a Godfather movie knock-off. He should be home with his wife and children, and working at a real job. Enough of him already.

  • Alexi

    Bringing back Russell just sealed this as a won’t watch.

    • Alison

      I agree.

    • Ian

      Unfortunately for you, they don’t care as it’s a more sure bet that it sealed it that bunch of Russell-haters will be glued to it hoping he gets the axe.

  • tennisfan

    Not too thrilled to see over half from the same state… What makes certain Survivor seasons more interesting than others is a DIVERSE group of people, meaning from various backgrounds and areas of the country, different ages, etc. Guess we’ll see…

    • Frieislanded

      True, put them all one one team and call the SoCa tribe

    • Fremen

      Same state?

      They are all from the same CITY.

      All those Santa Monicas, Long Beach’s, Huntington Beach’s are all basically LA or short extenstions of LA.
      I mean, they are even trying to pass of West Hollywood as a separate city. Really???

      • Frieislanded

        and Del Mar and Ocenside are San Deigo


    I totally agree with Chris. They are wrecking a good show with bad
    contestants. It is getting worse and getting harder to watch.

  • Melissa

    I hope its Marty thats coming back!

  • SurvivorFan

    My theory is that the two returning cast members will be Parvarti and Russell. I dont think Boston Rob will come back, but I think Parvarti and Russell have unfinished business so they are going to go head to head. Very unlikely they would bring back two guys i think.

    • dally

      It’s already been filmed and it is Boston Rob and Russell.

  • Jody

    Let it be Colby & Tom Westman – we need some decent people to compete and not cause flippin’ drama.

    • Ian

      Yeah, because the producers and network would never want drama in their TV show…..sarcasm, in case ya missed it.

    • Cancey

      Colby will be working on his show, Top Shot, so I doubt he’ll ever be a contestant on Survivor again. Besides, he really complained a *lot* on his last ToD and probably wouldn’t want to come back.

  • Matt

    I agree that it’s likely Rob and Russell. And now the whole Redemption Island twist makes way more sense. What tribe wouldn’t vote out Russell (and maybe Rob) immediately? The producers needed a way to guarantee that Russell at least had a chance to stay ‘in the game’ after getting voted out (presumably) first or second.

    • Snsetblaze

      The problem is – its been reported that the two get immunity through the merge – so they will end up leading the teams and whomever theyw ant out will end up going.

      • Alison

        If that’s true, then that’s just stupid.

      • Ian

        It would make more sense from a gameplay and drama standpoint that if they can’t be voted out, they also can’t cast a vote. It’d be fun watching them try to make people vote the way they want while not being able to actually cast votes themselves.

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