Tell what you think of the final ''Survivor'' showdown

By Justine Elias
August 23, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

CBS kept its secret till the end

Snake vs. Rat?

”Survivor” runner up Kelly Wiglesworth, a Nevada river guide, may have sealed her fate by choosing Richard Hatch, a smooth talking corporate trainer — to join her in the final round. Hatch won the CBS’ game show’s $1 million prize by the vote of the last seven ousted contestants. Wiglesworth took home a $100,000 consolation prize.

In the final 4-3 vote, Gervase Petersen, Jenna Lewis, Colleen Haskell — all members of the easygoing Pagong tribe — sided with Wiglesworth. The former Tagi players Boesch, Susan Hawk, and Sean Kenniff — plus the unpredictable Pagonger Greg Buis — went for Hatch. Hawk, whom Wiglesworth had ousted after the penultimate immunity challenge, bitterly denounced her former friend, dubbing her ”Kelly the rat” for perceived double dealing. The Wisconsin truck driver helped give the edge to the man she called ”Richard the snake.”

Despite intense public interest, the TV network and show producer Mark Burnett managed to keep the identity of the winner secret until the conclusion of the Wednesday night broadcast. reported earlier that the July/ August issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine — which contained a novella length profile of Burnett — reported that Hatch was NOT the winner. The magazine’s writer, Gretchen Reynolds, had visited Borneo while the show was still being cast.

Well, perhaps it was just wishful thinking. Hatch’s relentless scheming and habit of disrobing in public horrified some of his fellow castaways. And though Hatch played a clever game, he certainly didn’t earn the admiration of TV viewers. In CBS’ post-show ”Town Meeting,” 45 percent of viewers said they would have liked to see Rudy Boesch, the blunt, tough-talking 72 year old retired Navy SEAL, win it all. Some 42 percent picked Wiglesworth, while only a handful preferred Hatch.

Still, Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker picked Hatch as the one most likely to win.

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