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Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

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February 11 (2010-02-11) – May 16, 2010 (2010-05-16)

Sandra Diaz‑Twine

Survivor: Nicaragua, Survivor: Samoa, Survivor: Micronesia

Survivor heroes vs villains season 20 theme song

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains is the twentieth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. It premiered on February 11, 2010 with a special two-hour episode. It was the show's fourth season to feature contestants from past seasons, after Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Guatemala, and Survivor: Micronesia, and was only the second season to feature a cast consisting entirely of returning players, after All-Stars. The season was filmed in Upolu, Samoa. The complete season, including the pre-season "Surviving Survivor" special and live reunion show, was released on DVD exclusively through Amazon.com on February 22, 2011. It was initially released as a 10-disc package, but was later reissued condensed into 5 discs.


Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Survivor 20 Heroes vs Villains Filmed in American Samoa Tribes

The twenty contestants were initially divided into two tribes based on their prior reputation in their previous seasons, Heroes and Villains. When ten players remained, the two tribes merged and named their new tribe "Yin Yang." After a long 39 days of competitions, Sandra Diaz-Twine became the first two-time Survivor winner, defeating Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz with a vote of 6–3–0. Despite receiving zero jury votes, Hantz was voted by fans to win "Sprint Player of the Season" award for the second consecutive season and the $100,000 prize that went with it, earning the fans' vote over runner-up Rupert Boneham. Additionally, Hantz received a nomination in the 2010 Teen Choice Awards for his performance on this season.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains SURVIVOR Heroes vs Villains Cast Give Me My Remote

Winner of survivor heroes vs villains sandra diaz twine bashes russell hantz


Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains CBS 8 Survivor Heroes vs Villains Contest

According to host and producer Jeff Probst, the production initially selected 50 players from past seasons, narrowing down the list to twenty and keeping one spot open for a possible player from Survivor: Samoa. Some selections were made to match players that production thought would be exciting to see together, according to casting director Lynne Spillman.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaen669Sur

Several notable omissions have been directly addressed by Probst and the production team over the years. While Richard Hatch, winner of the original Survivor, was asked to return for this season, he had to apply to leave the country since he was under house arrest at the time; his request was denied by a federal judge in Rhode Island. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly days before filming began, Probst revealed that Cook Islands winner Yul Kwon, Michael Skupin of The Australian Outback and Terry Deitz of Panama had been considered for the "Heroes" tribe but were ultimately not chosen; Skupin returned for Survivor: Philippines in 2012, as did Deitz in 2015 for Survivor: Cambodia. He also said that they had considered bringing Ozzy Lusth, of Cook Islands and Micronesia, back for a third time, but had ultimately decided against it; Lusth returned for Survivor: South Pacific three seasons later, and again for Survivor: Game Changers in 2017. Thailand winner Brian Heidik was in talks to participate in this season, however Probst and other producers felt "too repulsed" to include Heidik once again. Probst also revealed that the producers would have liked Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The Australian Outback and Colleen Haskell from Borneo to participate on this season, but knew neither of them would have accepted the offer. Another notable omission was that of Jonny Fairplay, of Pearl Islands and Micronesia, which led Probst to say that Fairplay was a "Survivor quitter" after asking to be voted off first in Micronesia, and quitters are not asked back. However, Fairplay later claimed in an interview that he was initially cast, but was ultimately cut when Richard Hatch was unable to return. Rudy Boesch of Borneo and All-Stars was considered for the show as a member of the "Heroes" tribe, however producers decided not to bring him back due to his age.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains BuddyTV Slideshow 39Survivor Heroes vs Villains39 Week 6 Power

Several of the castaways reportedly declined the offers to return: both Corinne Kaplan of Gabon and Yau-Man Chan from Fiji and Micronesia declined due to work obligations, but Kaplan later returned as a "Favorite" on Survivor: Caramoan. Jenna Morasca, winner of The Amazon, declined as her then-partner Ethan Zohn, winner of Africa, was battling cancer, while Shii Ann Huang of Thailand and All-Stars declined because she had just given birth. According to Ryan Opray of Pearl Islands, Alicia Calaway of The Australian Outback and All-Stars turned down an offer to return, and both Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George and Sierra Reed of Tocantins claimed to have declined offers as well. Danni Boatwright, winner of Guatemala also turned down an offer to return, claiming she would only return for an 'all-winners' edition.

Other cut castaways included Twila Tanner of Vanuatu, Tom Buchanan of Africa and All-Stars, Natalie Bolton of Micronesia, Ace Gordon of Gabon, Jean-Robert Bellande of China, and Tina Wesson of The Australian Outback and All-Stars. Wesson returned as a contestant on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Additionally, Shane Powers of Panama was cut and replaced by Russell Hantz of Survivor: Samoa, though Jonathan Penner of Cook Islands and Micronesia also claimed that his spot was revoked in favor of Hantz. Penner would later return to the game on Survivor: Philippines.


There were twenty contestants overall, divided into two tribes, Heroes and Villains. After ten contestants were eliminated, the tribes were combined, or merged, to form one tribe, Yin Yang. Nine contestants made up the jury, who ultimately decided who would win the game, and the $1 million grand prize.

Due to the back-to-back filming of Survivor: Samoa and this season, the other players did not have an opportunity to see Russell Hantz's gameplay in Samoa nor reveal more information about him; however, the players were told by the production crew that Hantz was considered "one of the five most notorious male villains of all time" prior to the start of the game.

Future appearances

Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano returned to compete once again in Survivor: Redemption Island where they placed 17th and 1st, respectively. Benjamin "Coach" Wade returned to compete in Survivor: South Pacific where he finished as runner-up. Rupert Boneham, Candice Woodcock, and Tyson Apostol returned for Survivor: Blood vs. Water. Boneham returned with his wife, Laura, who appeared in Heroes vs. Villains as a loved one; Woodcock, now using her husband's surname of Cody, returned with her husband John; and Apostol returned with his girlfriend, Rachel Foulger. Apostol won the season, while Boneham and Cody placed 20th and 16th, respectively. Cirie Fields, James "J.T." Thomas Jr. and Sandra Diaz-Twine returned once again to compete in Survivor: Game Changers, the 34th season of the show. Thomas was the 5th person voted out placing 16th.

Season summary

The twenty returning castaways were divided into two tribes of ten based on their previous style of gameplay. The Villains dominated the earlier challenges due to Rob's leadership, only going to Tribal Council once in the first 14 days, and the Heroes were quickly whittled down to six members. The Villains tribe was divided into two factions: Rob's alliance of six, and the minority alliance of Russell, Parvati, and Danielle. At their second Tribal Council, Rob's alliance decided to split the vote between Russell and Parvati out of fear of Russell's hidden immunity idol. Rob's right-hand man Tyson, knowing that the minority alliance was voting for him, became uneasy and deviated from the plan, voting for Parvati instead of Russell. This error would prove fatal; Russell played his idol on Parvati, negating the four votes against her, and Tyson was voted out. The Villains lost the next Immunity Challenge and, due to Jerri aligning with Russell and Coach's inability to pick a side, Rob was voted out.

During the challenges after Rob's elimination, the Heroes were led to believe that the women of the tribe were methodically eliminating the men. J.T. found the Heroes' hidden idol, and gave it to Russell, the last male Villain remaining, with hopes that Russell would use it to eliminate Parvati and align with the Heroes at the merge. Instead, Russell shared the idol with Danielle, Jerri, and Parvati, unaware that Parvati and Danielle had also found the Villains' idol. Without Rob, the Villains lost the next two Immunity Challenges, leaving Sandra as the last remaining Villain outside of Russell's alliance of four.

With five Heroes and five Villains remaining, the tribes merged into Yin Yang. While the Heroes believed Russell was on their side, Sandra attempted to warn Rupert of Russell's distrustful behavior. Ultimately, the Heroes ignored Sandra's warnings, voting for Jerri as she was considered the least likely to have a hidden idol. Parvati played both idols on Jerri and Sandra to gain their loyalty, negating the Heroes' votes, sending J.T. out of the game, and giving the Villains the majority. Despite attempts to align with the Villains, Heroes were consistently eliminated. However, after Russell realized that Parvati and Danielle's true loyalty was to each other, Russell betrayed Danielle, working with the remaining two Heroes to vote her out. After this, the final Heroes were eliminated, leaving Sandra, Russell, Parvati, and Jerri as the final four.

Russell, having won final immunity, felt he would have a better chance in the final tribal council against Sandra, who he felt did little in the game, over Jerri, and Jerri was the final player voted out. At the final tribal council, the jury showed little respect for Russell's poor social gameplay and poor jury management, and he would go on to receive no votes despite being the only one of the three to have not won before. While Parvati argued for her mastery of the physical and social nature of her game to win the jury's favor, Sandra was able to win over the Heroes' votes by pointing out that she tried to help them vote out the Villains and remained the last of Rob's core alliance. Along with her closest ally Courtney's vote, Sandra won the title of Sole Survivor over Parvati and Russell, 6–3–0 respectively, and became the first two-time Survivor winner.

In the case of multiple tribes or castaways who win reward or immunity, they are listed in order of finish, or alphabetically where it was a team effort; where one castaway won and invited others, the invitees are in brackets.


Unlike previous seasons where a break in production occurred between seasons, the twentieth season was shot twenty days after Survivor: Samoa was completed, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure from that season. Casting for Heroes vs. Villains was done simultaneously with casting for Survivor: Samoa. Heroes vs. Villains features ten former Survivors known for their acts of integrity and honor, the Heroes, and ten former Survivors known for their deeds of deception and duplicity, the Villains. The cast was officially announced during the 36th People's Choice Awards on January 6, 2010. Jeff Probst, the show's host, stated that while they wanted to do another season where they brought back former players for the show's 10-year anniversary and 20th cycle, they did not want to simply do another All-Stars season. On reflecting on the most popular players, they realized that these players were either seen as liked or despised for those respective seasons, and opted to use that as the theme for this season. While the players were classified as Heroes or Villains, Survivor's creator Mark Burnett did not expect these players to maintain these roles in the game, but rather to do what they need to survive to the end. Rather than the usual slogan "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast", the slogan for this season is "Return, Revenge, Redemption". All challenges in this season were based on challenges used in previous seasons.

The 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami and tsunami occurred shortly after the completion of filming for this season; a CBS spokeswoman stated that no crew members were harmed from it.


Entertainment Weekly's Survivor columnist Dalton Ross ranked Heroes vs. Villains as the second best season of the series, only behind Survivor: Borneo and Survivor: Micronesia (both tied for first); he cited such memorable aspects as "the Russell vs. Boston Rob feud...Tyson voting himself off, J.T. giving Russell his immunity idol, and Parvati handing out two immunity idols at one Tribal Council." Ever since 2012, Survivor fan site "Survivor Oz" has consistently ranked Heroes vs. Villains at or near the #1 spot of its annual poll ranking all seasons of the series - it was #1 in 2012, 2013, and 2015, while it was #2 in 2014 (behind Survivor: Cagayan). The Wire and fan site "The Purple Rock Podcast" both also rank Heroes vs. Villains as the greatest season of the series, while Examiner.com ranks it as the second best season behind Survivor: Borneo, and Zap2it ranks it as the 7th-best season. In 2015, former Survivor contestant and podcast host Rob Cesternino's website saw Heroes vs. Villains ranked as the #1 greatest season of the series, both by Cesternino himself and by the website's fan poll. Critics considered the season to be a strong contender for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards, but it was not nominated. Newsweek, IGN, and Hollywood Reporter all listed this pass up as one of the biggest Emmy snubs for the year.

In the official CBS Watch issue commemorating the 15th anniversary of Survivor, Heroes vs. Villains performed extremely well across all 6 major polls that were held: It was voted by viewers as the #1 greatest season of the series; Sandra's burning of Russell's hat in the final episode was voted as the #1 most memorable moment, and Parvati handing out two immunity idols in the 10th episode was #8 on the same list (thus making this the only season to have more than one entry in that particular list); five of the top 10 contestants voted by viewers as the greatest were in this season (Mariano, Hantz, Shallow, Diaz-Twine, and Fields); the final immunity challenge of the season was voted as the #5 most unforgettable challenge; and in the "most attractive" polls for both males and females, Donaldson ranked second in the male category, while in the female category, Shallow ranked 2nd, Kimmel ranked 4th, and Cody ranked 6th (thus tying with Micronesia for the highest amount of entries in the female category). The season was one of only two overall to have more than one #1 entry in any category (claiming #1 in "Top 10 Seasons," "Top 10 Castaways," and "Most Memorable Moments"), the other being Caramoan in both of the "most attractive" categories, and was the only season to have at least one entry in all 6 of the lists. Thus, with a total of 13 entries across all 6 polls, Heroes vs. Villains had the absolute highest representation out of any season in the series.

In a 2015 interview, Jeff Probst admitted that, if Borneo is not taken into consideration, then Heroes vs. Villains ties with Cagayan as his personal favorite Survivor season.


Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Wikipedia