Boatwright Wins 'Survivor' Finale
LOS ANGELES – It came down to 30-year-old sports radio host Danni Boatwright and 25-year-old "Survivor" veteran Stephenie LaGrossa in Sunday night's "Survivor: Guatemala, The Maya Empire" finale.
Stop reading now if you want to catch the show later.
Boatwright, a former Miss USA contestant from Tonganoxie, Kan., outlasted and outcharmed LaGrossa, a veteran of the last "Survivor" series, to win the 11th version of the popular CBS reality show along with $1 million and a new car.
She won the second of the final broadcast's always-grueling immunity challenges — a competition that involved standing on a wobbly board with only a rope and gallows to hang on to — to reach the final two.
Boatwright, who sailed through the competition with surprisingly few enemies, had to sell out her popular alliance partner, Rafe Judkins, to reach the final pair.
Given the chance to eliminate either La Grossa or Judkins, Boatwright chose Judkins, who had released her from an earlier promise that she would take him to the finals, if given the chance.
Boatwright thought her chances would be better against LaGrossa, who had made enemies among the final voters in the course of the game.
LaGrossa, a pharmaceutical saleswoman from Philadelphia, had been brought on along with another "Survivor: Palau" veteran as a surprise during the first episode of "Survivor: Guatemala."
There was little suspense when the final result was announced live in Los Angeles. Only five votes had been announced when Boatwright reached the four necessary to win.
Boatwright had been on television several times before, albeit in far gentler surroundings. She appeared in the 1992 Miss Teen USA Pageant and the 1996 Miss USA pageant and on "Star Search" as a spokesmodel contestant.
She won a 2006 Pontiac Torrent on Sunday, along with the $1 million, for outlasting the 17 other competitors in the 39-day contest.
Lydia Morales, a 42-year-old fishmonger from Lakewood, Wash., was the first of the final four to be voted out of the competition during Sunday night's finale.
The show from executive producer Mark Burnett, who also produces NBC's "The Apprentice," has been a consistent top 10 ratings performer for CBS.
The network has announced that it will air the 13th and 14th versions of "Survivor" in the 2006-07 season, and earlier this week announced that it had signed host Jeff Probst to a new multiyear contract.
The show's 12th edition, currently being filmed in Panama, will be broadcast in the spring and will be called "Survivor: Panama, Exile Island."