Surviving the end of 'Survivor'

When I walked into work yesterday morning, a group of co-workers rushed over to discuss the "Survivor" finale. As host Jeff Probst would say, "The tribe has spoken." Corporate trainer Richard Hatch was crowned king, and walked away with $1 million and a new car.

For the past 13 weeks, a group of us would gather at my desk every Thursday and discuss the latest soap-operatic twists on the CBS show, taped on remote, tropical Pulau Tiga, a Malaysian island.

Like millions of others, we'd try to predict who would be voted off the island each week. "It's definitely going to be Kelly tonight," one co-worker would yell to me as I walked out the door. "No, you've got it all wrong. It's going to be Sean," I would shout back.

We were hardly the only ones who were fascinated. The finale was watched by about 40 million people. Last Wednesday, more people watched than tuned in for the Democratic National Convention on all broadcast and cable networks. It's clearly changed the face of TV for a long time to come.

"Survivor" even one-upped Regis Philbin's famous line, "Is that your final answer?" OK, its lines were hokey, but amusing: "The tribe has spoken." "Fire represents life." "This is the conch shell of truth."

Some might argue that the show is phony and manipulative, hardly "reality." But at least we didn't have to go through another summer of endless TV reruns.

What will "Survivor" fans talk about now?

"Survivor 2," of course. It will be filmed in the Australian outback, and will premire right after the Super Bowl, Jan. 28. Fifty-five million people are expected to watch. Will you?

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