Southern hospitality turned out to be key on CBS's wildly popular Survivor: The Australian Outback, as the final two contestants spoke with soft drawls and took a much more hospitable approach than devious Richard Hatch, the Machiavellian winner of the first Survivor series.
Tina Wesson, a tiny, 40-year-old nurse from Tennessee, emerged victorious over Texan heartthrob Colby Donaldson, 27. Wesson, who was proclaimed the $1 million winner live at the CBS studios in Los Angeles tonight, was chosen by seven of the last castaways voted off the show.
Four members of the jury wanted Wesson to get the prize, while three voted for Donaldson.
The mother of two, who was extremely emaciated after 42 days in the rugged Outback, said she planned to use her prize money to pay off her home and her best friend's home, and to establish a charity fund with the remainder.
"I think I have evolved," Wesson wrote in her journal at the start of tonight's three-hour episode. "I have developed into more of a strategist."
Surprisingly, Wesson was not even supposed to be on the show. It was revealed during Survivor's post-finale reunion segment that she was originally an alternate and only found out she was going to Australia two weeks prior to the scheduled start date. "My husband kept telling me, 'Honey, they'll call,'" Wesson remembered.
Runner-up Donaldson, whom many expected to emerge as the grand prize winner, took home $100,000.
"Trusting people in this game will get you in trouble," Donaldson said at the beginning of the finale. He could have come out on top, had he not made the fatal mistake of choosing Wesson as his final co-competitor (over Michigan chef Keith Famie) at the group's last tribal council.
Like the first Survivor series, the winner was kept secret until the final show. To ensure against a media leak, CBS kept the final votes sealed in a locked container until host Jeff Probst counted them live on TV.