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The Johnston family wins CBS' 'There Goes the Neighborhood'


By Christopher Rocchio, 09/14/2009 

The Johnston family was revealed to have won There Goes the Neighborhood during last night's finale broadcast of the CBS reality competition series.

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The Johnston family -- which consists of 51-year-old dad Cameron, 44-year-old mom Regina, 11-year-old daughter Carliegh, and 25-year-old niece Theresa -- claimed the show's $250,000 grand prize.

"All the financial worries that we've had, we don't have to sweat anything for a while," said Cameron.  "It's a load off the shoulders."

The Johnstons defeated the Schindler family, which consists of 40-year-old dad David, 39-year-old mom Christina, 12-year-old son Noah, 10-year-old son Emmett, and 6-year-old daughter Olivia. 

Despite losing out on the money, the Schindler family still felt like winners.

"We started out before all this with very little relationships with most of the families here," said David.  "It's silly and a little sad that it took some walls to come up to actually bond so well with the neighbors.  There was a lot of talk of the 'outsiders' and the 'core' and we truly, truly feel like part of the core now.  I don't think it's just talk.  I think it's really true."

There Goes the Neighborhood's finale broadcast began following the elimination of the Upshaw family -- with the Johnston family lamenting the loss of their friends but also realizing it was necessary to give them the boot.

"There was a lot of pressure to compete against the Upshaws because they were so good," explained Regina.  "But they also dug their own hole.  If you dominate the game, then everybody's going to look to take you out."

The next day the Jonhston and Schindler families met There Goes the Neighborhood host Matt Rogers, who explained the rules for the final neighborhood challenge. 

Dubbed "The Ultimate Neighborhood Obstacle Course," each family would have to pick three members to compete.  Starting in the backyard, they'd have to complete a series of obstacles -- collecting bags of puzzle pieces along the way.

Once a family had all three bags of puzzle pieces, the last team member would build the rungs to a ladder that he or she would then climb to find a zip line that they would ride to the finish line.  First family member across the finish line would win the challenge.

The challenge's winner would receive the opportunity to host a barbecue for all the previously eliminated teams -- who would subsequently vote to decide the show's winner.  The challenge's losing team would only be able to be at the barbecue for half of the time, impeding their opportunity to campaign with their neighbors.

"We need to win," said Christina.  "If we don't, we're going to be hurting because the Johnstons are an incredibly well-liked family."

The Johnston family chose Theresa, Regina and Cameron, while the Schindlers chose Noah, Christina and David to compete.

The challenge then commenced.  Theresa completed the first leg of the challenge before Noah, giving the Johnston family a short lead.  However the Schindler's grabbed the lead during the second leg and quickly began the third leg.  With all three bags of puzzle pieces, David began to assemble it for the Schindler family and was the first down the zip line and across the finish line.

"We wanted to win.  We were tired of losing," said David about his family's first neighborhood challenge victory of the season.  "It was our last shot and finally all the pieces came together."

"This was the neighborhood challenge to win if we were going to win one," added Christina.  "It gives us a little extra time with the neighbors tomorrow before they get to vote."

The Johnston family was concerned, however Cameron thought his kin could still have the upper leg.

"I'm upset that we lost," he said.  "I know the Schindlers are going into this with a feeling that we have the advantage since we've known more people longer.  But that might not necessarily be an advantage."

The barbecue then began, with the Schindler family getting an extra hour with the previously eliminated families.  After David explained to them why the Johnstons were initially missing, Christina explained how the $250,000 would be awarded.

"It's not family vote, it's every member of the family [voting] for either the Johnstons or the Schindlers," she said.

Therese Upshaw basically summarized the decision facing the 24 previously eliminated neighborhood members.

"Right now I have a family that I've only known for maybe six months, that I feel like they're dear friends already," said Therese about the Schindlers.  "Or do you go with another family that is your dear friend that you've known for six years."

The Schindlers walked a fine line of not coming on too strong because they didn't think the Johnstons would play it that way.  However once the Johnston's hour was up and they joined the barbecue, Regina was extremely direct in asking the other families who they were voting for.

Matt then arrived and told the previously eliminated families to follow him to prepare for the upcoming vote.  Before casting their votes, the families discussed how the competition strengthened their individual families as well as the neighborhood as a whole and also talked about who they thought should win and why.

The Schindler and Johnston families joined the others for the final neighborhood election, with each previously evicted member of the neighborhood casting an individual vote.

Matt then tallied the votes and revealed the Johnstons had won by a landslide vote of 21 to 3.

(Photo credit CBS)


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