Survivor Redemption Island confirmed as Survivor’s 22nd season, but no word of Rob or Russell

Survivor‘s 22nd season will be called Survivor Redemption Island, as I guessed back when call sheets from the season leaked out and revealed the big twist: those who are voted out will have the chance to stick around during special challenges, and one person will re-enter the actual game. And while Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz will apparently return to seek their own redemption, that was not announced.

The requisite post-reunion preview was teased by Jeff Probst throughout the filler-filled reunion, and Rob Mariano teased by saying the show was “about to evolve once again.” Probst called it “a twist that will change the game,” and that definitely is true; this is no lame Medallion of Power. Instead, as Probst explained during the preview that showed basically nothing except the cool duel arena (watch below) that “when someone is voted out, they’re not going home; instead, they’ll be forced to live alone, on Redemption Island.” They’ll duel to stay on Redemption Island, and only the last person to survive those duels will re-enter the game. (The 22nd season taped this summer at the same location that was used for Survivor Nicaragua.)

Although Boston Rob was in the audience to talk about his new baby’s head squeezing through Amber’s vagina, there was not even a hint that he’d be on the season, nor was there any word of Russell’s return. I think CBS is just withholding that so they can create news when they announce the cast a few weeks from the Feb. 16 preview.

But there’s a remote chance that the reports were untrue, too, especially since reports that the show would have some D-list celebrities–Carrie Prejean was rumored, as was Kimbo Slice, though that seemed unlikely–will probably prove to be untrue, and were actually, as I speculated, misinformation intentionally leaked out.

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