'Survivor: South Pacific': New cast and new twists revealed!

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Russell Hantz may not be part of the new season of Survivor…but his nephew is. 19-year-old Brandon Hantz is one of 16 new contestants that will be competing for the million dollars when Survivor: South Pacific kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 14 on CBS. Among the players joining him is a former Miss America contestant, a country music singer, a Lingerie Football League player, and a medical marijuana dispensary owner. However, these players will not just have to battle each other. They will also have to take on two returning players, whose names will be revealed later in the week.

In addition to the two returning players, two of the new contestants already have experience on reality television. Country crooner Whitney Duncan placed fifth on the fifth season of Nashville Star, while former Miss Washington Elyse Umemoto appeared on Miss America: Reality Check, TLC’s reality show that accompanied the 2008 Miss America pageant, in which Umemoto was the second runner-up. (She later had to deal with a bit of controversy after photos surfaced of Umemoto partying and making sexually suggestive poses). Other contestants with notable occupations include lingerie football player (and Playboy cover girl) Mikayla Wingle and medical marijuana dispensary owner Jim Rice.

However viewers will no doubt be focused on the contestant with the last name of Hantz. “Unless I’m getting played, which I could be, Brandon is the opposite of Russell,” says host Jeff Probst. “I mean, he appears to be a pretty nice guy — a young kid who’s certainly a little rough around the edges, but well mannered, pretty good thinker. Although for a while his loved one was going to be Russell, and at the last minute he said, ‘You know what, I’ve been thinking about this. That may not be such a good idea to let people know I’m related.'”

Filmed in Samoa (the same location for seasons 19 and 20), Survivor: South Pacific will also feature a few twists to the format. The first involves the hidden immunity idols. “This year with hidden immunity idols, we’re hiding the clue,” explains Probst. “No clue as to where the clue is. Once you find the clue, then you have to find the idol.” And while the Redemption Island twist is back, there will be one major change to it, with the elimination of group duels — meaning each competition will truly be a win-or-go-home situation (as opposed to last season, in which players often simply did not have to come in last to stay alive). “We’re not having multi-person duels,” says Probst. “That was part of the experiment [last season]. We wanted to see how many people we could keep in the game until the end. And that’s why we let more people live out there. But we felt like it’s too many people and now we’ve got half the group still in it at the end. So it will only be a one-on-one situation. Loser’s out, winner stays. Otherwise, we’re playing it the same way.”

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

The new cast of Survivor: South Pacific:

Albert Destrade
Baseball/Dating Coach
Plantation, Fla.; Age: 26

Brandon Hantz
Oil Tanker Crewman
Katy, Texas; Age: 19

Christine Shields Markoski
Teacher
Merrick, NY; Age: 39

Dawn Meehan
English Professor
South Jordan, Utah; Age: 41

Edna Ma
Anesthesiologist
Los Angeles, Calif.; Age: 35

Elyse Umemoto
Dance Team Manager
Las Vegas, Nev.; Age: 27

Jim Rice
Medical Marijuana Dispenser
Denver, Colo.; Age: 35

John Cochran
Harvard Law Student
Washington, D.C..; Age: 24

Keith Tollefson
Water Treatment Tech
San Diego, Calif.; Age:26

Mark-Anthony Caruso
Retired NYPD Detective
Forest Hills, NY; Age: 48

Mikayla Wingle
Lingerie Football Player
Tampa, Fla.; Age: 22

Rick Nelson
Rancher
Aurora, Utah; Age: 51

Semhar Tadesse
Spoken Work Artist
Los Angeles, Calif; Age: 24

Sophie Clarke
Medical Student
Willsboro, NY; Age: 22

Stacey Powell
Mortician
Grand Prairie, Texas; Age: 44

Whitney Duncan
Country Music Singer
Nashville, Tenn.; Age: 27

Comments (225 total) Add your comment
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  • ams

    LOVE THE CAST SO DIVERSE BEST CAST SINCE SURVIVOR CHINA <3 <3 <3

    • Linda

      Last season was the pits. I’m done with this.

      • Jack

        So why did you click on this link to read this article? Did you think that total strangers would see your comment and say, “Well, if Linda isnt watching, then maybe I shouldnt, either…”?

      • @Jack

        LMAO!!

      • Kate

        I agree with you Linda and Jack’s an idiot. Everyone can have an opinion, as long as it agrees with his.

      • DRG

        It is time for the scourge of “reality” television to end.

      • Total Stranger

        Well, if Linda isn’t watching, then I shouldn’t either. I mindlessly follow Linda’s every move.

      • Patient Pat

        Alright, Linda has indeed convinced me not to watch but doesn’t tell me what to watch instead. I guess i’ll sit with the tv off awaiting further instruction. Sigh

      • charlie

        maybe start with a fresh cast each season? just a suggestion

      • Yvette

        I will use my own brain and not be fooled by the biased opinion of a Negative Nellie and enjoy every season of Survivor that Burnett is willing to show us. I like watching pretty people suffer. Besides, I never met a Linda that I could like… no offense meant

      • Tommy D

        No! 21 was the pits. Last season rocked. Boston Rob claimed victory!

      • Joy

        I am tired of survivor period. They do not survive like in the first seasons. I mean with richard hatch and that group you knew they were surviving. now they look kept up

    • LOL

      America loves crap.

      • Crap

        Whoa! The “L”-word. Look, America, I feel smothered, and i, like, just got out of a long term thing, ummmm, I just don’t feel like me …

      • gayla billings

        i love boston rob!!!!!!!!!!

      • Sam

        No one is forcing you to watch. I hear the Food Channel has a special on sour lemons.

    • DC

      Dammit. I like Survivor and wanted to watch it. I wish I’d never read this because I HAD been blissfully unaware that I have to follow Linda’s lead. Dammit!

    • Jethro

      Thought Ozzie [at first look] was Joey Lawrence. The resemblance is canny. Again, bringing in retreats continues to be ignored by Producers who choose not to listen to the fans, we are tired of it.

      Having Russell’s nephew on the show? Foolish! Russell couldn’t do it in 3 attempts, so he sends in the one man troop, hope he gets voted out in week one!

      • Sam

        I have no idea who Joey Lawrence is???

    • Frank

      You must love worms.

  • Ann

    Let’s hope this season won’t be a disappointment like the last two seasons.

    • charlie

      give the fans a fresh new cast each season

    • CaptainStimpy

      AMEN

    • Tommy D

      Like the last one before the last one you mean. Season 22 rocked! No a great season when you see one. Take it from me Tommy D!

    • freestrike

      ???????????????????????

  • John

    Last season sucked…worst ever by a mile. Not looking forward much to this one, especially considering the two returnees being brought back.

    • Flip

      Actually, last season was by far the best since the original All-Stars.

      • aa

        I disagree. Anything with Russell and Boston Rob is bad in my book. Specially no one ever dared Boston Rob. So predictable, not my type of Survivor.

      • mousemom

        I agree with Flip, I really liked it too. I wish people who were “done with it” would myob and stay off a board about it!

      • JohnDoe

        Must be easily impressed. There have been great seasons of Survivor. The Boston Rob Show last season was definitely NOT one of them. Terribly boring and predictable.

      • carydc

        Last season was very boring. The Rob show….whatever he wanted, he got. Wasn’t a game or competition….they all sat around and let him win.

      • Cassius

        @carydc
        That’s what was so great about it! :D I really liked the last two seasons. Damn, everywhere I go I see people complaining about the cast and how they’re bringing back old contestants. I love it when they do that, but ofc I also want new ones. I think it probably would be better to have returnees only and new contestants only rather than mixing em up though. But I like it that they’re experimenting. You guys should be glad with your country’s “Survivor”. I’m from Sweden and our version of it sucks hard. Not thrilling at all, and mostly boring people. Ok, now I got to complain a bit also, thanks :p

    • Tommy D

      Last season didn’t suck! It’s season 21 that sucked. Last season the greatest player that has ever played the game of Survivor finally won. Survivor will never have such a great ending to a season ever again in terms of the most deserving Allstar to win a regular season.

      • keep it real

        If he was the greatest player that has ever played? Why didn’t he win the first time? If he was the greatest,I wonder what the others will be called.

  • Dierdre

    Hate that there will be returning players.

    • Tommy D

      You’re not keeping it real you’re keeping it unreal. There is no if when talking about Boston Rob. He is and it’s a fact the greatest player that has ever won. Why he didn’t win the first time or second time or third time he played. It’s because he was voted out stupid. Mariano will always be the greatest because he progressed and became better and better every time he played until he won.

  • Eric P

    I’m gonna pass, i’ve been getting more and more bored with survivor as time goes on and when i saw one of the contestants is Russells nephew that killed it. The only thing that might get me interested is the returning contestants so we will see who they are.

    • Tom

      The first mission is rescuing our producer out of a Mexican dungeon. Ok, let’s do this!

      • tiffany

        lmao!

    • Todd

      Im with you, have watched since tye beginning but terrible lastvseason and russels nephew? Looks like someone is guaranteee to make it to the family visit. Do I have it in me to quit this show?

    • Tommy D

      It’s Coach and Ozzy!

  • TorontoTom

    So, who are the two returning players?? I think it’ll be two women this time. Cerie? Amanda? NOT a big fan of the returning players thing. Hope it works out better than last season.

    • Nate

      Ozzy and Coach. It’s been on the internet for a while now. Why those two I have no idea.

      • Casey

        I know that a lot of people really hate Coach but I LOVED him. He was on a fairly dull season(s) and the way they edited his meditation sessions with eagles and birds cawing was freakin hilarious! I look forward to another season of Coach playing for “honor”

      • TorontoTom

        OH, NOT COACH. Oh man, I couldn’t stand the nonsense with him. A cartoon character pretending to be so zen and mystical. Really have to re-think this season – don’t think I can stomach more of his act.

      • AB

        Ozzy coming back to a location with no water challenges? Interesting.

      • Abe Froman

        Coach is the new Rob. The producers will keep bringing him back until he wins the money.

      • JohnDoe

        Because Coach makes for good television. Which is all CBS is concerned about. Unfortunately, the producers of Survivor have completely lost sight of what makes a good season. It’s not returning crazy players, it’s getting regular applicants to go on the show, like the first season, and fight to the death practically over the 1 million. Now, it’s just a bunch of fake people, along with returning contestants.

      • @Abe Forman

        Actually, this will be Ozzy’s third time on, just like Boston Rob. Maybe HE is the new Rob.

      • Regina George

        Coach is pathetic. Don’t bring him back. Maybe they will bring back Ozzy and Amanda.

      • WillFerrellStinks

        No @ Abe Forman Boston Rob was on 4 times . This is the third time for both Ozzy and Coach .

      • Lulu

        Boston Rob has been on Survivor 4 times not 3. He won the million dollars his fourth time

  • UGH

    I wish the new twist would be an old twist where they actually starve the players.

    • Jimbo

      I always like how people say the Survivors have it too cushy? Remember the first seasons where they got cratefulls of supplies? Go watch Season 1’s marooning again and you’ll be reminded of how easy life used to be. It was way easier back in the day for the most part.

    • Sam

      It’s been done before. It’s called Detroit.

  • RIck

    PLEASE stop with the returning players- it was bad last Survivor, it is ruining this Big Brother- it’s just a bad idea all around.

    • Mel

      Agreed!! How stupid are these producers?? Give us an all new cast or just give it up already.

      • Justsayin

        @mel Yeah cause you guys aren’t just gonna eat up whatever they throw at you, you know it producers know it and thats why they do it. This is why im glad i boycott reality tv in my house.

      • AB

        But apparently not in your internet viewing, or else why would you be commenting? Lame.

      • Justsayin

        why would i be commenting? Because 1 its my right to comment if i want (you’ve heard of news feeds right?)and 2 because hopefully ill reach one person and help them realize how stupid they’re being watching such drivel.

      • Tommy D

        The producers won’t risk a season on just newbies anymore Mel. After the Fabio season it probably will never happen again.

  • Cathy

    Why do we have to deal with returning players, and now the nephew of a player who’s already been on 3 times?? This is getting more and more redundant. Other than the lucky situation that Boston Rob completely dominated a bunch of nitwits who had no game of their own, last season would’ve been entirely forgettable. Start casting people who really want to play the game, and don’t concentrate so hard on casting people who have already been on reality TV.

    • Melissa in CA

      I totally agree with you. However. It is possible that there aren’t very many people trying to get on Survivor these days. Whenever I watch it, I think there is NO way I could do that!

      • D

        You’ve got to be kidding me. In a nation of 300+ million people, I am sure the show could find PLENTY who want to be on therer.

    • sandi

      I just came here to leave comment. I just seen the ad on t.v. 4 suvivor and saw thier bringing back a couple of people that have already been on the game. my thoughts were oh heck no I’m not watching this season because I’ve already seem these players and
      they already made me dislike them before ( and gag) I know if I didn’t like russel, it’s already instilled in me not to like any of his releatives. he was right to say maybe he shouldn’t told he was related, cause I already don’t like him and with that azzine coach n other return player i really don’t wanna watch suvivor this year, so what if it’s sum people’s 1st time watching, the loyal fans n following should not have to suffer for thier misfortune. as i’ve informed evey 1 of the reality shows, the producers are just really not in touch with thier followers and are making us not want to watch the shows any more because we are tired of them bringing people back. ( I think it’s like watching reruns and makes the show BORing) your ratings are gonna be in trouble if the produces don’t get it together and make your show worth watching. It’s as though thier just sitting on thier butts wanting to collect big pay checks but not making the shows enjoyable and keep the watchers interested. good luck guys, there’ll be a lot more people not watching this seaon,
      1 less watcher, oh wait make that 2 from my house,pfff + the many, many other pogo players that feel the same way I do.

      • Tommy D

        You saw an add! Shows the level of Survivor fan you are. You should have been online all summer or some of the summer one time looking up the upcoming South Pacific and you would have learned that it was Coach and Ozzy back then.

      • Azzine

        That’s just asinine!

  • Mike

    At least Probst admitted the multi-player format for redemption was an experiment that failed.

    • PDDB

      Jeff Probst is one of the few hosts that not seems to love his work but also seems to speak his mind like a fan would. In the early seasons of the series, the reunion shows were hosted by others but he does a far better job than they did.

      • PDDB

        …not only seems…

    • DAA

      I was hoping that they were building a team of “outcasts” to bring back and have 3 teams going at it. Especially when they constantly vote off the strong players. That would have been an interesting twist.

  • Pa Gal

    Not a big fan of returning players. We all saw how well that worked last season – NOT. And although Samoa is beautiful, I seem to remember that there could be no challenges in the water for safety reasons. Why not another location where there could be puzzles AND swimming competitions.

    • Anne

      Agree- swimming competitions are so gruelling- I love watching them.

    • Gorilla Grod

      Excellent use of “Not” for comedic effect! I was like, “alright I can go along with this” and then BAM! Left turn! You reversed everything. So clever, you!

    • Moo

      I think it was Nicaragua where they couldn’t be in the water (think Fabio and when he urinated in the random pool they used for water challenges).

  • Brent

    Where are all the Studs at?!? No Studs? One guy looks like Woody Allen, another guy looks like the hillbilly next door, then there’s the Richard Hatch whanabe, a Russell mini-me, there’s the Ken doll with a pace-maker, the closeted Stoner Weed Dealer dude and the black Ken doll cupid…. Where’s the Studs, the real men… I guess Ozzy will have no competition and win the hole damn game this time, since he’ll be filling in the part of the Stud this season.

    • Saline

      Hey Adam and Steve, with a name like Brent, you should be talking about the hot chicks!

  • Jeff in Co

    can’t we put a stake through the heart of this show, and and any of the other scripted competition shows too?

  • Sean K

    Redemption Island was the worst plot change ever. I think I may be giving up Survivor this season.

    • Brandon

      +1

    • MikeyB

      I would like to give it up, but it’s like passing a car accident, I have to look and watch… and then I get hooked for another season.

  • military mom

    looks like central casting again went in search of “beauty queens” that will sit around, look pretty, do nothing around camp and ride someone else’s coattails. when are the producers gonna learn the most interesting players are the most normal people, not casted players!

    • Joe

      100% right….I think this is why Survivor is not as good as it used to be. It was better when people who watched the show auditioned and were picked than now with people that are picked cause of the way they look or the niche they fill.

    • NayNay

      Totally agree! if they don’t quit recruiting eye candy to be on the show instead of letting normal hardworking people be on, then the show is on the way out. I am sick of people going on there with no strategy except ot get on TV. The casting directors do need to be fired.

    • grannyjan

      Were you watching the same show I watched?

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