Geniuses win $3 million on Treasure Hunters

The Geniuses lived up to their name on the Treasure Hunters finale, taking home the treasure, although not by much. While the Geniuses were initially far ahead, the Southie Boys and Air Force caught up, and they were all inside a little set that looked like an ancient pyramid version of the Big Brother house, with cutouts in the stones for the cameras to shoot through.

None of the teams could figure out the final clue; on the Genius team, Sam fell asleep, but then Francis had a vision and figured out the cryptex: FSKEY, for Francis Scott Key. That eventually led them into a small chamber with a pile of gold.

It wasn’t until the last few seconds of the live finale that they learned its actual value: $3 million. It’s the largest single cash prize given on a reality show, although ultimately each team member gets $1 million, although that’s still better than The Amazing Race. There was, however, some fine print that the Geniuses will learn about later; we saw it in the closing credits that basically says they won’t get all of the treasure today:

“The $3,000,000 prize is payable in the form of a monthly annuity payment to each winning team member paid over 25 years totaling $1,000,000 or any winning team member may choose to receive a cash prize equivalent to the present cash value of his/her annuity.”

The other 40 minutes of the finale were a pretty horribly directed reunion that included the final part of the $100,000 online game, which was basically a dumbed-down, extremely watered-down version of the actual game, just with boring people we don’t care about and even more Genworth Financial product placement.

In between crazy camera shots of the floor, the tool of a host dealt with the difficulties of hosting life outside the confines of a RAZR phone screen. He had trouble controlling the cast members from the very beginning, when he sounded like a frustrated parent trying to get the Genises to talk to him. “Join me guys. Come on, let’s go, let’s go boys,” he said. “Sam. Francis. Francis! Francis! Sam!”

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Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.