CBS has made the official announcement: Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano are returning to Survivor.
Talk of these veteran plays coming back to the game grew strong after only 16 of the 18 cast members for the new season were announced this week. In confirming the obvious, the network said in a statement:
"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. 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."
Redemption Island, which returns to the show to Nicaragua, premieres on February 16 and will be the first installment of Survivor to give voted-out contestants a second chance.