CBS revealed the cast for Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains tonight during The People’s Choice Awards. The cast features 20 former players that fans either love (like Rupert Boneham from Pearl Islands and Tom Westman from Palau) or love to hate (Jerri Manthey from The Australian Outback and Russell Hantz from Samoa, back just a few weeks after completing season 19). But there are several noticeable absences as well. The season is being touted as a 10-year anniversary celebration of the show, however Heroes Vs. Villains contains zero contestants from the groundbreaking first season. Producers attempted to include season 1 winner Richard Hatch, but he was still under house arrest at the time (for, ironically, not paying taxes on his million dollar Survivor winnings) and unable to fly to Samoa, where the season was shot. “Yes, we wanted Richard to come here for sure,” executive producer Mark Burnett told while filming on location in August. “But the law is the law and we are unable to achieve that.” [The complete list of competitors and exclusive video of the entire cast is after the jump.]

The cast in general tilts toward contestants from more recent seasons: For example, there are just as many contestants — three — from the lightly regarded season 18, Tocantins (J.T. Thomas, Tyson Apostol and “Coach” Benjamin Wade), as there are from the entire first six seasons of the show (only Colby Donaldson and Jerri from The Australian Outback and “Boston” Rob Mariano from Marquesas). Says Burnett: “I think you need to honor the fans that have stuck with it in the last few seasons and new fans that were very, very young when it started, and honor the people they want to see.” Fans will also likely be divided over the fact that nine of the 20 players are three-peaters, including two (James Clement and Amanda Kimmell) who will be competing for the third time in six seasons. “At the end of the day, we looked at the names, and we said, ‘let’s forget about who’s been here once, or twice or three times,'” host Jeff Probst told in Samoa. “‘Who do we want to see play again? Who does the audience want to see?’ And that’s really what governed our choices.”

Two choices that will no doubt inspire a bit of head scratching are the inclusion of Panama runner-up Danielle DiLorenzo (as a villain, even though she did not do anything remotely villainous) and Cook Islands’ Candice Woodcock (as a hero, even though her most famous move was mutinying from her own tribe). In fact, both players were surprised themselves to find out they were being classified as such, judging by their on location pre-game interviews (which can be viewed below).

The filming for Heroes Vs. Villains commenced on August 9 on the island on Apia in Samoa at the same two campsites used for season 19. (Filming wrapped in mid-September just before the tsunami that devastated the island.) The contestants arrived for the start of the game via four New Zealand military helicopters and were immediately thrust into a brutally physical challenge that results in one topless player and two painful injuries. (All of the challenges will be based on classic challenges from past seasons.) The season premiere will air February 11 at 8pm on CBS.

For exclusive on location video interviews with the cast of Heroes Vs. Villains, click on the video right below the cast list. For revealing quotes from the contestants on how they’ll play, as well as Jeff Probst’s take on each of them, check out our special Survivor gallery. And for continuing inside scoop on Heroes Vs. Villains (including analysis on each player) delivered right to you, follow me on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

The full cast of Survivor: Heroes Vs Villains:


Rupert Boneham (Previous seasons: Pearl Islands, All-Stars)

James Clement (Previous seasons: China, Micronesia)

Colby Donaldson (Previous seasons: The Australian Outback, All-Stars)

Cirie Fields (Previous seasons: Panama, Micronesia)

Amanda Kimmell (Previous seasons: China, Micronesia)

Jessica “Sugar” Kiper (Previous season: Gabon)

Stephenie LaGrossa (Previous seasons: Palau, Guatemala)

James “J.T.” Thomas (Previous season: Tocantins)

Tom Westman (Previous season: Palau)

Candice Woodcock (Previous season: Cook Islands)


Tyson Apostol (Previous season: Tocantins)

Randy Bailey (Previous season: Gabon)

Sandra Diaz-Twine (Previous season: Pearl Islands)

Danielle DiLorenzo (Previous season: Panama)

Russell Hantz (Previous season: Samoa)

Jerri Manthey (Previous seasons: Australian Outback, All-Stars)

“Boston” Rob Mariano (Previous seasons: Marquesas, All-Stars)

Parvati Shallow (Previous seasons: Cook Islands, Micronesia)

“Coach” Benjamin Wade (Previous season: Tocantins)

Courtney Yates (Previous season: China)

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS