Deceit and Intrigue In the Outback

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During the second episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback, the stakes were literally raised to new heights and Kel Gleason, the Army intelligence officer from Texas, found himself the latest casualty of the tribal council.

In the reward challenge, Survivor contestants had to jump off a 45-foot high cliff, swim to a crate, carry it through rapids and across a beach, just to win two blankets. CBS News correspondent Hattie Kauffman was there to witness what happened. She reports that the survivors looked more scared in person than they did on television.

Executive Producer Mark Burnett says there's something powerful pushing the contestants - peer pressure. "It was amazing. People were very, very scared. But they still jumped off the cliff. It's the peer pressure thing. Peer pressure from other human beings is one of the most powerful motivators in the world. Nobody wants to let down the team."

And that is true both in front of the camera, and behind it; Burnett's team of professionals work together to create seamless video footage. Kauffman reports that it's not like a regular television show where you have a constant set, with the same lighting and camera positions: the conditions are constantly changing. It's a challenge not just for the contestants, but for the crew.

"We are always very into our production values," says Burnett, "which means we want underwater shots, we want special lenses, we have a pole cam, a jib, and a helicopter flying through at the right moment. It's a lot of coordination. . . . This is a one-take show."

But preparing for the shoot is not the only behind-the-scenes work. Survivor's producers don't want the tribes to get injured doing the challenges – there is a team of about eight people who think up the challenges and try them out. And for the 45-foot jump, there was even a doctor standing by.

But physical injury might not be on the forefront of the contestants' minds – their alliances with each other seem to be the hot topic.

The tribes are now even at seven apiece. Last night, it was the Ogakor's turn to go before the tribal council. For the second week in a row, there was a unanimous decision, something that neve rhappened in the first Survivor. Amber, Colby, Jeri, Keith, Marilyn, Mitchell, and Tina, all voted to dismiss 32-year-old army intelligence officer Kel Gleason.

"I got booted. Got booted big time."

In an interview with Bryant Gumbel on the Early Show, Gleason talked about whom he thought he could trust, and how he got double-crossed.

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"I made an alliance with two people I thought I could trust: Tina and Marilyn." But they ended up voting Gleason off the island and, without naming names, he says that a certain member of the group "did a good job of convincing them to vote me off."

Amid swirling accusations of hoarding beef jerky, and even a secret search of his bags, Gleason thinks the real reason he was voted off is because of his status in the Army.

"It was convenient for them not to believe me. Here's our scapegoat. Here's the guy we're going to kick off. Here's the guy that's one of the strongest members. Let's get rid of him. . . . I made the mistake of telling those people that I was an Army captain. I think once I said I was an Army captain, that was a threat to them."

And his father seems to be thinking along the same lines. His view of the show is that the strong go first and the weak remain. Dan Gleason says his son was the victim of conniving and backstabbing.

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But that hasn't soured Kel on the experience. He told CBS News, "I'm glad I went. I was so relieved when I got voted off. I had mixed feelings. I was so relieved to get away from individuals in the tribe. No names. I was so glad to get out out of there."

But that's not what Las Vegas oddsmakers had predicted would happen. Bookies had picked Gleason to be the last one standing, the winner of the million-dollar prize.

"Survivor II" had 45.3 million viewers for its premiere after the Super Bowl on Snday.

According to overnight results reported by Nielsen Media Research, the CBS reality series scored a narrow victory over the NBC sitcom Friends Thursday night in their heavily hyped matchup. More precise ratings are expected later.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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