Boston Rob reveals if he would return to “Survivor” or do “The Traitors”

Boston Rob reveals if he would return to “Survivor” or do “The Traitors”

The reality legend is open to both, but there are conditions.

Boston Rob Mariano is back where he belongs — on an island forming alliances and competing in challenges in the hopes of winning a big chunk of change. Only this time, he’s not doing it on Survivor, where he has played five times and appeared on another season as a mentor. Instead, the Robfather is doing battle on NBC’s Deal or No Deal Island (airing Mondays at 10 p.m.). And he already made a huge move in the game by taking a massive gamble in week two of the hybrid game show / reality competition.

But would Rob ever return to the other island that made him a household name? Fellow Survivor legend Parvati Shallow recently told EW she would not return to the show after the last outing on season 40 (Winners at War). That was also the last time Rob competed. But while Parvati seemed to shut door completely, her former Villains tribemate at least leaves his door slightly ajar.

“I mean in what capacity?” he asks. “As a contestant playing with everyone else, it just feels like we've been there and we've done that.”

<p>Monty Brinton/NBC</p> Boston Rob Mariano on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

Monty Brinton/NBC

Boston Rob Mariano on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

Rob is actually open to appearing again on the series, but not with the way the show is currently constructed. That means it would have to be in a mentor role (as he appeared on the Island of the Idols season)  or something else in which he will not be immediately eliminated due to his massive threat level.

“I've always said it would take some kind of unique format change to make me go back and compete over there. Something would have to happen, otherwise we're faced with the same situation where they gang up on me and want to get me out, or keep me around for a little bit, or whatever.”

For the Robfather, he made an exception for his last appearance due to the celebratory nature of the season that closed out the “old era” of the program. “Season 40 was special. It was Winners at War, it was all the winners, and Survivor had given me so much in my life up to that point that I felt an obligation to go there. And I wanted to be there just because we got another round number.”

But that was then and this now. “I think there would have to be a pretty dynamic format shift to get me excited to get back out there.”

<p>Monty Brinton/NBC</p> Boston Rob Mariano on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

Monty Brinton/NBC

Boston Rob Mariano on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

But what about appearing on another reality competition program that just recently finished its second season and has already lured four other members of Rob’s Heroes vs. Villains season (Parvati, Cirie Fields, Stephenie LaGrossa-Kendrick, and Sandra Diaz-Twine)? Would Rob entertain heading to Scotland to compete on The Traitors?

“I have been watching,” says Rob. “Everybody's watching it right now. It's interesting. I don't want to critique, but I have my opinions.”

As for whether he would play, it seems that door is open a little more than the one for Survivor. “Potentially. I mean I'm more intrigued now than I was a year ago when Cirie did it. And then you wonder with the strategy, is it better to be a Traitor or a Faithful? What I like about it is that it feels like the producers and Peacock and everybody are installing twists to keep it fresh, to keep the contestants on their toes so they don't know what to expect.”

That evolution is something Boston Rob says needs to happen in the constant game of cat and mouse between producers and players. “I think you see that in a lot of shows right now, they're having to deviate and adjust formats more quickly because the contestants are getting smarter and better. So I was pleasantly surprised to see them doing that just from a viewer point of view, because it keeps it interesting.”

<p>Patrick Ecclesine/NBC</p> Boston Rob Mariano on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

Patrick Ecclesine/NBC

Boston Rob Mariano on 'Deal or No Deal Island'

One tweak to season 2 that Rob applauds is adding Shields into the missions, because that increases the stakes for both contestants and viewers who might not necessarily care about how much money is actually in the pot.

“Building the pot when we know what it's going to be at the end anyway seems pointless, but it’s interesting as they add new twists. When Survivor first started, it was whoever won immunity and that was it. And then there was a hidden immunity idol. Now there's so many different things — some would argue that there's too many things in there — but what The Traitors has figured out is as you add those different elements into the challenges like Shields or potentially hidden Shields or whatever else the next evolution or iteration will be — it adds another level of strategy that makes it interesting for the viewer, but also for the players. They think they got it figured out and then they don't.”

Whether Boston Rob will be one of those people figuring it out on season 3 remains to be seen.

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