CBS has revealed that Survivor: Cook Islands will end with a nine person jury voting to award the show's $1,000,000 grand prize to one of the competition's Final 3 castaways, a configuration that will mark the first time that a Survivor finale won't feature a jury of seven deciding which Final 2 castaway will win the competition.

According to Survivor host Jeff Probst, not all of the show's Final 4 castaways were thrilled to discover that not only wouldn't there be a Final 2, but that a three-way final jury vote tie was suddenly possible. "The reaction is mixed," Probst told "A couple are excited because it gives them an extra shot at the million. But for the other two, there is a sense of dread -- they realize the strategy they had been planning won't work. From an audience point of view, the best news is that you have at least two people who are likable and very deserving of winning, and for me, that is a home run. I'll be very satisfied that whoever wins is a good winner."

Probst and Survivor producer Mark Burnett also revealed some details about Survivor: Cook Islands' finale challenges in the interview. "[The first challenge] is the hardest puzzle we've ever done, called Compass Rose," Burnett explained. According to Probst, he personally gave up on the puzzle after 30 minutes -- only to later watch as the winning castaway solved it in 25 minutes. "This final five had the highest IQs of any Final 5," Probst gushed.

The Final 4 Immunity Challenge (which in this case will take the place of the Final 3 endurance challenge that would normally determine which Final 3 castaway would get to decide who accompanies them to the Final 2 judging) will involve balancing a small post that keeps getting smaller and smaller. "It required balance but also intense concentration and pain tolerance, because it was made of steel and was not comfortable," Probst explained.

Burnett also offered some teasers about Survivor: Fiji, the just-filmed fourteenth Survivor edition that will premiere early next year. "It has an extremely unique opening episode," said Burnett. "There will be an Exile Island, but it's quite different, and the hidden immunity portion of the game has an interesting twist."

Six castaways remain in the running to be crowned Survivor: Cook Islands' "Ultimate Survivor" -- Adam Gentry, Becky Lee, Oscar "Ozzy" Lusth, Parvati Shallow, Sundra Oakley, and Yul Kwon. One will be eliminated in this Thursday's broadcast of Survivor: Cook Islands' penultimate episode.

Survivor: Cook Islands' two-hour finale will air Sunday, December 17 at 8PM ET/PT and be followed by the program's traditional hour-long live reunion special. As he has for the last several years, Probst will host the reunion show, which will take place at the network's CBS Television City studios in Los Angeles. According to Probst, the studio set will recreate the show's Tribal Council shipwreck.