NEW YORK – All that studying paid off.
Todd Herzog, a longtime fan of "Survivor," won the CBS reality show's $1 million prize after 39 days of lying and scheming.
"I wasn't the strongest. I wasn't the smartest," Herzog said during the finale. "But I was definitely the most strategic."
The 22-year-old flight attendant from Pleasant Grove, Utah, bested his "Survivor: China" allies Courtney Yates, a 26-year-old waitress from New York, and Amanda Kimmel, a 23-year-old hiking guide and former beauty queen from Los Angeles.
Herzog won the 15th edition of "Survivor" with four votes against Yates' two and Kimmel's one. He's the youngest winner in the show's history.
"I knew that the second that I got out there that, no matter what it took, I would do everything that I possibly could to be sitting right here," Herzog said after the votes were revealed.
That meant teaming up with Kimmel on the first day of the competition and aligning himself with both weaker and stronger players to deflect any attention away from himself.
"I can't believe it worked," he said.
None of the opposing Zhan Hu tribe members was able to penetrate Herzog's alliance with Kimmel, Yates and fourth-place finisher Denise Martin, a 40-year-old janitor from Douglas, Mass.
Earlier in the season, the quartet turned on fellow original Fei Long tribe members Jean-Robert Bellande and James Clement, who possessed but didn't use either of the game's two Hidden Immunity Idols. "Survivor" host Jeff Probst called that move the "biggest blunder in the history of this game."
Despite his misstep, gravedigger Clement was selected by viewers to win $100,000 from Sprint.
Herzog and Clement weren't the only players awarded money. Probst announced that "Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett would give $50,000 to Martin, who said she lost her job as a lunch lady as a result of being on the show.
Probst also revealed that the upcoming Micronesia-set 16th edition of the show will pit "Survivor" fans against former "Survivor" contestants -- including one from "Survivor: China."