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Wait, What? ‘White Lotus’ Creator Cast ‘Survivor’ Teammate on HBO Hit


Mike White with Alec Merlino insetted.
Shutterstock; Courtesy of Alec Merlino/Instagram

Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Sunday, August 15, episode of The White Lotus.

Made you look! Fans can’t stop talking about HBO’s White Lotus, especially after learning one actor competed on Survivor.

Some diehard viewers of the reality series may know that White Lotus creator, Mike White, appeared on Survivor: David and Goliath in 2018. The 51-year-old actor came in second place during season 37.

Eagle-eyed fans then noticed that Alec Merlino, who plays the resort bartender on the HBO drama, also looked familiar. Merlino, 27, isn’t a veteran TV star like many of his fellow costars — but he does have TV experience after competing alongside White on Survivor: David and Goliath.

The California native was voted out on day 28 of the season after becoming pals with the School of Rock writer when he was originally assigned to team Goliath on day one. Merlino’s role as Hutch is his first acting credit.

Fans were introduced to Merlino’s Hutch as well as resort goers Armond (Murray Bartlett), Nicole Mossbacher (Connie Britton), Mark Mossbacher (Steve Zahn), Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge), Rachel Patton (Alexandra Daddario) and more, on the show’s season premiere last month.

Throughout the drama’s six episodes, the question of who died while on vacation became hard to crack. The victim was eventually revealed as Armond during the Sunday, August 15, finale. While some fans had mixed feelings about him perishing and why Shane (Jake Lacy) killed him, White is content with how it all played out.

“I knew I wanted Armond to die. It came to me in a flash that his final act of retribution, of the put-upon existence he has serving these privileged people, was to take a crap in their bag, and that would be his last act, an operatic end for him,” the Enlightened producer told Vulture ahead of the White Lotus finale. “I’ve never seen that before, and it felt like that would be funny and have a surreal but impactful end.”

Merlino, for his part, thanked everyone who watch the hit show via Instagram and teased the second season.

“Cheers to an epic stay at the @thewhitelotus,” he wrote on Monday, August 16. “To everyone I met that made the experience unforgettable, mahalo. Now, as any great hotel employee would say … ‘I hope you enjoyed your stay and we’ll be right back with season 2.’”

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