Bob Crowley wins Survivor Gabon, $1.1 million; is oldest winner ever

Survivor Gabon concluded last night with Bob Crowley beating Susie Smith by a 4 to 3 vote, and he walked away with $1.1 million and the distinction of being the oldest winner ever. The $100,000 came from viewers’ votes; he beat runner-up Sugar and third-place Matty for that prize.

When we talked in Gabon, Bob told me, “I’m not playing the game, I’m here to have a good time, I’m here to experience–Christ, I’ve already won the game. I’ve got a free trip to Africa, I have got two free trips to L.A. And a million dollars only buys you friends you don’t need and tempts you with sins you shouldn’t be committing anyway. So, I’ve already won.” Clearly, he still played the game, even if he wasn’t a master strategist, but he did tie the record for back-to-back challenge wins (five) and pulled out a win in the tiebreaker.

Actor and pin-up model Jessica “Sugar” Kiper placed third; after turning on yet another member of one of her alliances (Matty) to force a tie-breaking fire-building contest between Matty and Bob, Sugar found herself without any allies on the jury. She wouldn’t have won against Matty, either, and apparently decided that Bob was more deserving–at least of another chance to make it to the end.

The jury remained somewhat bitter, as juries frequently are. In her attempt to get more attention for her winning personality, Corinne told Susie she’d vote for her if Susie promised to get her vocal cords cut out (moderately funny; Susie laughed), but then told Sugar, “You are an unemployed, uneducated leech on society. The only thing I would vote to give you is a handful of antidepressants so it would seem a little more sincere when you are crying about your dead father.” Sugar awesomely gave Corinne the finger, which CBS showed but blurred out, because I’m sure that would have damaged a child’s eyes.

The show concluded live from CBS Television City’s stage 46 last night–the exact same studio where Dancing with the Stars is taped–on a tiny little set that was so small, the torches were about half the size they are in real life. The audience of mostly family members and invited guests was, predictably, in Bob’s corner. Kenny got a cold reception, Susie a neutral one, and Sugar was clearly the second-most popular person. As you heard on TV during the live hour, Corinne got booed, while Randy got laughs. I think that’s because Randy’s misanthropic attitude is increasingly transparent, even if he says awful things.

I’ll have interviews–covering everything from Sugar’s thoughts about B-Side’s Sugar-sighting blog post to Kenny’s alleged villainy and homophobia–with the final five on Tuesday, as I’m flying home all day Monday.

Meanwhile, Jeff Probst announced the 18th season’s Brazilian highlands location: Survivor Tocantins (pronounced toe-can-cheens). Besides showing the beautiful but brutal landscape and one of the tribe flags (Timbira), it didn’t reveal much besides the back of people’s heads. Their faces will likely be revealed in mid-January, and we’ll see who will be the most likely to throw ice at me at the finale next May.

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.