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Who Is Boston Rob, and Could He Be Deal or No Deal Island's Most Dangerous Competitor?
One contestant on the new Deal or No Deal series has plenty of experience being on an island on reality TV.
For most of the contestants on NBC’s upcoming reality competition show Deal or No Deal Island, the prospect of dealing with high-stakes briefcase selection, braving the dangers of a wild tropical island, and figuring out a strategy to handle shifting alliances between the players seems daunting. One contestant, though, has plenty of experience with the second and third things. And if reality TV all-star Boston Rob has watched a lot of Deal or No Deal, he could be a serious threat when the series premieres later this month.
Boston Rob, whose full name is Rob Mariano, is one of the 13 players who will travel to the Banker’s Private Island and compete in a series of physical challenges and Deal or No Deal games, all working against each other for the chance to win the biggest prize in Deal or No Deal history.
Ahead of the series premiere on February 26, here’s everything you need to know about Boston Rob — who might just be this game’s ringer (unless his notoriety puts a big target on his back).
Boston Rob Is Best Known For Competing on Survivor
Boston Rob, born on Christmas Day in 1975, was born and raised and lives in Boston, Massachusetts (from which he gets his nickname.) He first rose to national prominence in 2002 when he was a contestant on the fourth season of the iconic reality show Survivor in the Marquesas season. He ultimately came in 10th place, but he would return to the series many times and enjoy much greater success.
In 2004, Rob was the runner-up on Survivor: All-Stars, the eighth season of the series, which brought back 18 veteran players rather than a brand-new cast. He returned to Survivor again in 2010 for Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, the 20th season of the show that once again brought back all veteran players. Rob — who was cast as a "villain" — came in 13th place, but he would triumph in his next appearance.
The 22nd Season, Survivor: Redemption Island, brought back Rob and one other vet, Russell Hantz. The rest of the cast was all newbies. You’d think being such an experienced player would’ve made Rob an easy target for quick elimination, but instead, he won the season in what Survivor host Jeff Probst called “as close to a perfect game as anyone's played on Survivor.”
He would appear again as a mentor on Survivor: Island of the Idols in 2019 and as a contestant one more time in 2020’s Survivor: Winners at War, where he came in 17th place. Rob is widely regarded as one of — if not the — best Survivor players in the show’s long history. He was the first player to compete in five seasons of Survivor, and he has spent more time playing the game than anybody else.
What Other Shows Has Boston Rob Been On?
In addition to his many Survivor appearances, Boston Rob has been on several other TV and reality shows.
He and his wife Amber Mariano (more on her in a second) were the runners-up on The Amazing Race 7 in 2005 and they came in 4th place on The Amazing Race: All-Stars two years later. He was also part of the investigative team on the SYFY series Sci Fi Investigates, which investigated paranormal occurrences, and he was the host of the UPN series The Player. Rob has also appeared on The Price Is Right, Secret Celebrity Renovation, and he was the co-host of Around the World in 80 Days.
Who Is Boston Rob’s Wife, Amber Mariano?
Boston Rob may have been the runner-up on Survivor: All-Stars, but, more importantly, he won the heart of a fellow contestant. Amber Mariano (née: Brkich) first appeared on Season 2 of Survivor: The Australian Outback before returning to participate in All-Stars. She won the season, and she and Rob grew very close during the shooting, with romantic moments between them even being part of the season's storyline. The pair announced their engagement on May 9, 2004, during the show's live finale and were married in April of the following year.
A two-hour special of their wedding, Rob and Amber Get Married, aired on CBS.
Amber competed with her husband on two seasons of The Amazing Race, and she returned to Survivor for the first time in 16 years and 32 seasons for Survivor: Winners at War, which she participated in alongside Rob. She came in 20th place.
Amber and Rob have 4 children, and the couple currently live in Pensacola, Florida.
To see how Boston Rob fares on the Banker’s Private Island, tune in to Deal or No Deal Island when it premieres on Monday, February 26, 2024 with a 90-minute special at 9:30 p.m. Following this supersized first episode, subsequent episodes will air on its regularly scheduled timeslot starting on Monday, March 4 at 10 p.m.