CBS’s Survivor: South Pacific returns to TV September 14, and while Russell Hantz won’t be intimidating his tribemates this go ‘round, he’ll apparently still have some connection to the game.
His 19-year-old nephew, Brandon Hantz, is set to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and compete on the show.
It’s not surprising that Survivor just can’t quit Russell. He’s easily one of the most polarizing castaways to ever hit a Survivor beach. Love him or hate him, no one is indifferent about the man who has manipulated his way to the end in two out of three seasons on the show. And lost both times.
The last time we saw Russell, he told host Jeff Probst on the Redemption Island reunion to “keep my number” should he ever have a desire to compete for $1 million again. But since then, Russell seems to have moved on from Survivor. Later this year, he’ll actually star in a new show called Flipped, a series that will follow he and his family’s attempt to buy houses in Houston on the cheap, fix them up, and resell them at a profit.
Not exactly the scheming, backstabbing must-see TV that made Russell a household name on Survivor, is it?
So enter Brandon Hantz, a 19-year-old oil tanker crewman from Kathy, Texas. Easily the youngest contestant on South Pacific, Brandon describes himself as “headstrong, bold and clever.”
When asked to name past Survivor contestants he’s most like, he names Colby, Johnny Fairplay, and Russell.
And when prompted why he thinks he’ll win Survivor, Brandon says because “I’m very handsome, smart, cunning, manipulative and funny.”
That kind of attitude could get Brandon far in Survivor, because as brilliant as Russell was at the game itself, he played a poor social game. He just didn’t care what bridge he burned as long as he crossed it before it crumbled to the sea.
Survivor can’t quit Russell Hantz because execs know he’s the most compelling, competitive contestant this side of Richard Hatch and Boston Rob. We’ll see if Brandon can learn from his uncle’s mistakes, make it to the end, and actually earn some jury votes come Final Tribal Council.