"Boston" Rob Mariano has spent the better part of the last decade on one reality show or another. Now, after finally winning the title that eluded him for more than eight years (Ultimate Survivor), he's hanging up his Survivor hat and stepping into new role: host.
Along with Dennis Anderson, Rob Mariano will circumnavigate the globe on The History Channel's Around The World in 80 Ways. Now, the reigning Survivor champ talks to ETonline about the next phase of his career and the "badass" stunt he got to do thanks to it!
ETonline: Between Survivor and Amazing Race, you've done a lot of reality TV -- what made you want to sign up for another one?
Rob Mariano: I recognized the opportunity to host rather than be a contestant on a TV show. Ultimately, that's the progression I wanted to make since I feel like I fulfilled all my goals as a reality TV contestant. It's a great opportunity to work with people who make adrenaline television and The History Channel. For me, this wasn’t an opportunity I could turn down.
ETonline: Your buddy Jeff Probst has won four Emmys for hosting Survivor -- did you look to him for advice?
Mariano: It's funny, on this last season of Redemption Island, I was more in tuned to it than ever before. Just seeing how he navigates Tribal Council is amazing. Even with all the training in the world, I don't know that I could be that good. He's able to keep a straight face even though he knows exactly what's going on since he watches all the back-end tapes, but he can still be impartial. To do that, is a real talent.
ETonline: How do you describe Around the World in 80 Ways?
Mariano: Our focus is on how we move around the planet. The challenge presented to us was to circumnavigate the globe using 80 different forms of transportation. We don't repeat any of them, so once you fly a commercial airliner, that's off the list. But if you use your ingenuity, you can fly in a fighter jet, a blimp and a hot air balloon. We also try to use transportation that's indigenous to certain areas. So when we're in Africa, we ride on donkeys. In Dubai we race speedboats. We try to have fun with it all.
ETonline: What was your favorite form of transportation?
Mariano: One of the last things we rode in was a helicopter, but at the last minute, [co-host] Dennis Anderson told me we were attaching a rope to the back of it. I literally water-skied behind a helicopter, which was probably one of the most badass things I've ever done in my life.
ETonline: You've seen a lot of the world thanks to all these reality shows -- what is still on your Must Visit list?
Mariano: I've always wanted to go to the Southern Ocean, see the whales by Tasmania and the icebergs in Antarctica. Conversely, I've never been to Czechoslovakia. That whole area of Eastern Europe would be amazing. No matter how much you travel, each country is truly unique. I definitely want to explore more of it in the future.
ETonline: What do you hope people take away from Around The World in 80 Ways?
Mariano: The one thing about this show that was so great is Dennis and I were at our own discretion to be ourselves. I feel like over the course of the last decade, I've been able to thrive in reality television while other people have fallen by the wayside. It's because I don’t try to be someone I'm not. I'm me, for good or for bad. I don't put anything out there that's not real and I think the audience has grown to appreciate that. They'll also see that on this show as two guys try to find 80 different ways to circumnavigate the globe – I think that'll really resonate with the audience.
Around the World in 80 Ways premieres October 2 at 10 p.m. on The History Channel.