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'Survivor All-Stars' contestants record video pitches for $1 million audience prize


By Wade Paulsen, 05/10/2004 

As promised by Survivor host Jeff Probst on the live reunion show, each of the 18 participants in Survivor: All-Stars has recorded a video giving reasons why he or she should be awarded the $1 million prize that goes to the viewers' choice of the survivor who was deemed most worthy of the money. Not surprisingly, the pitches for the money ranged from charitable to desperate.

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On the charitable side, two former winners (who just happen to be dating) promised to give the entire million to charity if they won it. Survivor: Panama winner Jenna Morasca pledged to give the entire amount to breast cancer research, since her mother died of breast cancer during the show. Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn promised to give equal amounts of the million to 18 different charities, one chosen by each of the all-star survivors.

A third winner, Survivor: The Australian Outback victor Tina Wesson, said that she did not want the money but urged her fans to vote the money to someone who would contribute it all to charity -- a clear plug for Ethan and Jenna M. Additionally, Survivor: All-Stars winner Amber Brkich said that there was no reason for viewers to vote her the money, since she had just won a million and gotten engaged to boot.

Thus, the only former winner who asked for the million for himself was Survivor: Borneo champ Richard Hatch, who said that people should "give [the million] to the guy who plays the game best -- me." Nice to know that Richard's ego wasn't deflated by the fact that he was "bamboozled" by his tribemates during All-Stars.

Also interested in contributing money to charity was Survivor: Marquesas's Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, who promised to give half the money to her foundation if she won.

In less charitable terms, Survivor: Amazon's Rob Cesternino promised to give half the money to Survivor: Panama's Rupert Boneham and to take Survivor: Africa's "Big Tom" Buchanan out for dinner if he won. Why Rob C., who closed with "Cesternino Out" in an imitation of American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, believes that Rupert's fans would want to see Rob receive ANY of the money is an open question, however. Survivor: Borneo's Jenna Lewis, who finished third after double-crossing Rupert in the final-four vote, also endorsed Rupert -- but for 100% of the million, not just half.

Jerri Manthey, the villainess of Survivor: The Australian Outback, who was so torn up over the "negativity" of Survivor that she walked out of the live reunion show, pledged to use the million to start up "my own reality show," one that would make a "positive difference" in people's lives. Jerri seemed to be on the verge of tears throughout her clip and was the only Survivor not filmed in close-up. Shades of Debb Eaton.

The remaining survivors asked for the million for themselves. Runner-up Rob Mariano, who is receiving a lot of online support, noted that everyone who watched saw that this was a "jury of sour grapes" and that he would have won the million without that. We note that there was one previous "jury of sour grapes" -- and it came in Survivor: Marquesas, Rob M.'s first foray into Survivor. Coincidence?

"Big Tom" said that he deserved the million because he'd been a Survivor longer than anyone. He's right about the longevity, since his 73 days on the show (37 in Africa + 36 in All-Stars) edges out Amber's 72 days (33 + 39). But is that worth a million?

Survivor: The Australian Outback runner-up Colby Donaldson said that he was "the only person who honored his alliance knowing that it was going to cost him a million," a reference to his decision to take his alliance partner and eventual winner Tina Wesson to the final two in Australia instead of unpopular chef Keith Famie. We note that Colby benefited in the Outback from Amber's questionable choice not to double-cross him after he had double-crossed her, however.

Survivor: Thailand's Shii Ann Huang noted that she was the last of the Mogo Mogos to stay in the game and was still competing for the million even though the game had ended five months ago. Apparently Amber agreed, since Amber gave her a new Chevrolet in the finale.

Rupert said that he wanted the money for his family. So did Survivor: Africa's Lex van den Burghe. Meanwhile, Survivor: The Australian Outback's Alicia Calaway said that people who appreciated others who "tell it like it is" should vote for her.

A couple of the survivors chose to insert humor, a welcome relief from the hard sells. Survivor: Borneo's Susan Hawk, who was still showing off her extreme makeover, repeated part of her speech from the the finale of Borneo, saying that she hoped that "the vultures take you" and pluck out your eyeballs if you don't vote for her. And, true to form, Survivor: Borneo's Rudy Boesch promised to give the million to his kids, so that no one would ever bother him for money again.

Online odds posted by Intertops.com favor Rupert to take the fans' million. Rupert is posted at even money, while Rudy is listed at 7-2, Rob Mariano at 4-1. Rob Cesternino and Tom at 6-1, and Jenna Lewis at 10-1, with everyone else shown as extreme longshots. While we agree with the oddsmakers, we admit that we will feel a fiendish glee if we learn on Thursday that not everything about Survivor runs true to form.

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