Winner of 'Survivor' takes home $1m prize Americans watch Rich get richer in 'Survivor' eeps $1m

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The Independent US

Not since the world waited to find out who shot JR on Dallas had American television created such a sense of anticipation.

Not since the world waited to find out who shot JR on Dallas had American television created such a sense of anticipation.

For the final episode of Survivor, CBS's reality-show battle of wits set on a desert island, 50 million tuned in to discover which of the four finalists would win $1m (£690,000) jackpot, according to preliminary figures yesterday.

Survivor began in late May with 16 participants on the South China Sea island of Palau Tiga. With each episode, one contestant was voted off. The protagonists rapidly became icons in the television guides and tabloid newspapers, particularly after they started eating rats, having surreptitious affairs with each other and - most particularly - displaying just how vile and duplicitous they could be under pressure.

The winner was Rich Hatch, a 39-year-old corporate trainer from Rhode Island who proved himself to be the most adept, and ruthless, politician. That was not before two hours of fun on Tuesday night, including a shirt-smelling contest and a who-can-cling-on-to-the-wooden-pole-longest contest.

Across the United States families and friends watched the denouement in a series of impromptu house parties. Telephones were switched to answer phone and household and work chores went neglected.

And it will all start up again in January with Survivor II, this time set in the Australian outback.

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