“Survivor: Marquesas” announces contestants

On Wednesday, CBS announced the names of the next set of contestants confined to Nuka Hiva, an island neighboring Tahiti in the South Pacific, for the next installment of Survivor.

The new group is, on average, the youngest thus far. Of the 16 contestants vying for the $1 million jackpot, all but four are under the age of 40, and six are in their twenties.

Two of the contestants, Robert DeCanio, a limo-driver from Queens, and Sean Rector, a Harlem-born schoolteacher, were introduced on yesterday’s Early Show with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson.

DeCanio, 38, was born and raised in Flushing and worked for the U.S. Postal Service before becoming a driver. Rector, 30, now lives in Los Angeles and acts as well as teaches. Rector has appeared in the Negro Ensembles Company’s North 17th Street, The Absolution of Willie Mae and A Family Ever on the Verge of Emotion.

Other contestants include:

Gabriel Cade, 23, a bartender from North Carolina
John Carroll, 36, a nurse from Nebraska
Gina Crews, 28, a nature guide from Florida
Neleh Dennis, 21, a student from Utah
Hunter Ellis, 33, a pilot from California
Paschal English, 57, a judge from Georgia
Peter Harkey, 45, a bowling alley and wine shop owner from Massachusetts
Patricia Jackson, 49, a truck assembler from South Carolina
Sarah Jones, 24, an accounts manager from California
Tammy Leitner, 29, a reporter from Arizona
Rob Mariano, 26, a construction worker from Massachusetts
Vecepia “Vee” Towery, 36, an office manager from Oregon
Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien, 47, a real estate agent from Vermont
Zoe Zanidakis, 35, a fishing boat captain from Maine

The eight women and eight men will start the game in two tribes, called Maraamu and Rotu. The setting is similar to the original Survivor, which took place on Borneo with a tropical climate, white sandy beaches and aquamarine water.

The show’s producers are trying to bring back the legions of loyal of fans that ditched the tribe after the first season. For the first time in the show’s history, the contestants will begin the 40-day adventure with no rations.

Survivor: Marquesas premieres on Feb. 28.

In other Survivor news, Lex van den Berghe will make his first celebrity appearance since appearing on Survivor: Africa–at a polling booth.

Van den Berghe, one of the last three remaining players on the most recent edition of Survivor, will man one of the polling stations in California’s Santa Cruz County in the state’s upcoming election, Reuters reports.

Election officials however will not reveal where van den Berghe, a local resident, will be. Like all poll clerks, he will be responsible for issuing ballots to eligible voters and assisting them–and get paid $60 for his time.

Meanwhile, original Survivor winner Richard Hatch was found innocent on Tuesday of assaulting his ex-boyfriend in a ruling that overturns an earlier conviction.

Hatch won the $1 million grand prize on the inaugural edition of Survivor. In September, a judge found the 40-year-old Hatch guilty of domestic assault after he got into a fight with his former lover on the steps of Hatch‘s home in Middletown, R.I.