Three seasons that got the fewest viewers in history are S19, S20 and S22, exactly the seasons where Russell Hantz participated. Is it a coincidence or a reflection of American viewers' favor? I like him a lot, though.
I highly doubt there's a correlation between those season's lower ratings and Russell being on them. I never knew they were so low rated in viewership. Perhaps maybe were they competing against American Idol during these times? I know seasons 20 & 22 aired in the spring when Idol is on, so that would explain that. Still would have thought season 21 would have very low viewers. That season I give a
Season 20 was an all stars season and is held in high regard as one of the, if not THE best season in the show's history. Going into the seasons, especially 19, viewers had no idea the show would revolve around Russell like it ended up being. And season 22 revolved entirely around Boston Rob, who is considered one of the most popular players ever. I ended up finding that one of the most boring seasons ever because of the horribly predictable editing and complete lack of gameplay by every other player. They all seemed content to just let Rob finally get his win.
And lastly even though the majority of message board opinion is that they hate Russell Hantz, remember the general/casual viewership voted him fan favorite in seasons 19 & 20, so when all is said and done, there were quite a few pleased with his gameplay.