First Victim After Tribal Merger

The Early Show, Varner Jeff, Outcast, Survivor, 010308, RKF
Debb's ghost haunted this week's episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback.

After two tribal council votes ended up in a tie for Jeff Varner and Colby Donaldson, Varner was kicked out because of a prior vote, cast by Debb, the first to be banished from the game. On Friday morning, Varner told The Early Show's co-anchors Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson about his experiences in the outback.

Gumbel asked him about his cryptic comment about a "big mouth" after he was voted out. Varner admitted it was Kimmi, who had been voted out earlier. When asked by Tina after the first council meeting, Kimmi said Debb had cast a vote against Jeff, which caused the other tribe to target him.

But he went on to say, "I love Kimmi. Kimmi is incredible. I love her. I love everybody." And he added, "I have nothing to say negative about anybody."

When pressed, he said that he also loved Alicia, and had, in fact, watched the show with her Thursday night. He admitted that it was a little nerve-wracking watching himself, knowing what he said and did but not knowing how the show was going to be edited.

"Every Thursday night at about 7:30 our blood pressure rises, our hearts start beating, our breathing gets a little erratic." He said, "It's like, 'what in the world is coming out of my mouth?' Several times I wanted to crawl under the coffee table."

Asked about the widely disliked Jerri, he said, " I like Jerri. She is a nice person. She really is."

He talked about the immunity challenge of standing atop an upright pole in the water, which led to his ouster. "We played word games. We alphabetized the 50 states. The time passed quickly until the food started coming out. We craved food. We talked about food. We fantasized about food."

He said that that he was surprised that he lasted as long as he did. "I wished I could have stayed on the pole. I would have loved to have stayed on the pole, but I couldn't do it. That's not a challenge of balance. It is not even one of endurance."

He said that instead it was a test of willpower and patience, of which "I have very little."

Varner said he had a lot of strategies going into the game. "I knew that anybody that walked in the door playing like Richard Hatch was a target. And I knew that there would be multiple alliances. So I didn't want to be a leader. I did want to be in an alliance and I hoped to lead and somewhat control the voting. But I didn't want to appear to be the leader of an alliance."

The Australian Otback
To read, see and hear more about the sequel to the enormously popular Survivor TV show, click here to visit the official CBS Web site.
Gumbel noted that his strategy hadn't worked.

Varner disagreed, saying he was "a victim of circumstance." Had Mike Skupin not gotten hurt last week, he thought Colby would have been voted out. "I have every confidence I would have kept going and potentially won."

Asked why he high-fived Colby as he left the tribal council, Varner replied, "It's a game and he beat me. It was a game."

And he left some intriguing clues about the show. "There is somebody in Kucha doing a little bit of work," he said. But he wouldn't go any further. "I'm not telling you. This game is still on. It is about to get very interesting."

© MMI Viacom Internet Services Inc. All Rights Reserved