The field of 16 strangers that started out on Survivor: Africa more than three months ago have now been whittled down to just four, and tonight one of them will walk away $1 million richer. The burning question is whether it will be Ethan Zohn, Kim Johnson, Lex van den Berghe, or Tom Buchanan.
Richard Hatch and Tina Wesson are the first two Survivor winners. And they told CBS News Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel Thursday morning that they both favor Ethan to win. Here's a transcript of the interview:
Richard Hatch: Well, I don't think there's a chance for anybody else. If he makes it into the final two, he's going to be voted for.
Bryant Gumbel: But right now, we're at four.
Gumbel: And you think that, of those four, he's your pick. Because of what?
Tina Wesson: Well, for me, it's just because he has been very generous. He's been very kind. He hasn't ruffled any feathers. And I think that makes for a good jury vote.
Gumbel: Does that mean he's played the game the best?
Hatch: For me, I think he's been competitive. I think he's been thinking and plotting and doing it calmly. I think he's doing well.
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Gumbel: But if that's the criteria, why wouldn't you settle on Lex? Lex has asserted himself as a leader throughout and has been winning a lot of immunity challenges.
Hatch: I'm going out on a limb here. But Lex can't win.
Gumbel: Why not?
Hatch: No one will vote for him. No matter who he's up against -- Kim, Tom or Ethan -- no one will vote for Lex. He can't win.
Wesson: I agree.
Gumbel: You feel the same way?
Wesson: Absolutely. You might (not be able to) tell whether it will be Ethan, Tom or Kim. But you can say it won't be Lex.
Gumbel: OK. Let's take them each in order. What about Kim J.? Kim Johnson? Besides being the luckiest woman on the planet, by the way. Strategically, physically, she didn't play the game very well at all.
Wesson: She got in the alliance. An alliance is everything. It will take you to the end.
Gumbel: I understand that except for she had to figure the alliance can take her to the end but can't take her the extra step, no?
Hatch: Well, she was lucky in that she wasn't a threat. She just kind of was under the radar. She was in the alliance, but no one sensed her as a threat because, physically, she had difficulty in most of the challenges.
Gumbel: So do you think she has a chance to win?
Hatch: Against Lex? She's won, period.
Gumbel: All right. You think she can beat Lex.
Gumbel: Can she beat Ethan?
Hatch: She cannot beat Ethan.
Gumbel: Can she beat Tom?
Hatch: Yeah. If it were Tom and Kim in the final two, that would be an interesting weight.
Wesson: And it could happen.
Gumbel: Which brings me to this: What do you give for Tom's chances?
Wesson: Depends who he goes up against. If he goes against Ethan, no.
Hatch: If he goes against Lex, he's won.
Gumbel: if he goes against Lex, Tom wins, in your opinion?
Hatch: And if he goes against Kim, it would be ooh! That would be funny.
Wesson: That would be a good finale.
Gumbel: So by your scenario, the only one who doesn't have a chance to win is Lex?
Gumbel: What do you think of how this group has played the game? I know you were disappointed early on.
Hatch: Yeah. But it's mostly because of the environment. They were stuck in those brambles. They couldn't move beyond them. No water. So they were really, really down. And there's a lot of animosity generated by that, I think. Just tight quarters, dirty. That kind of thing.
Gumbel: Yeah. (To Wesson): You didn't like it early on, did you?
Wesson: No. I just didn't see the relationships and the bonding that I would have liked to see. They are divided. And I don't like to see that. I like to see unity and oneness, and warm fuzzies. Just like you, Richard. All those warm fuzzies.
Gumbel: That's kind of the funny thing, and I ask this all the time: Everybody who talks about the game as a contestant seems to put a high premium on honesty and integrity when, really, that has very little to do with the game.
Hatch: Not true.
Gumbel: Why is it so valued?
Hatch: It has a tremendous amount to do with the game, believe it or not, coming out of my mouth Honesty really does. I had to be very direct about what I was doing early on or I think I would have been gone. I was honest right through the game.
Wesson: Well, there's something about if you say you're going to form an alliance with somebody, you either do or you don't. If you go against that alliance -- like we did and voted off Jerri and Amber -- there's going to be some hard feelings. You can't play this game and not get your feelings hurt.
Gumbel: Can we agree that this group, physically, has had the hardest time of it?
Hatch: I think it's been tough in that it's hot, dry, no water. But you know, I can't do that. I can't say they had it tougher than Australia or than us, because they were each very difficult for the contestants that were there.
Wesson: They had more food.
Gumbel (To Hatch): You had the ocean.
Hatch: We didn't have food. You didn't realize how much we were starving.
Gumbel: Yu had the fish.
Hatch: Well, I did fish. I was the only one feeding 16 people.
Gumbel: But you at least had fish and you had water.
Wesson: They've had more food than we or they had.
Gumbel: All right. And you both are coming back with us tomorrow (Friday), right?
Gumbel: We'll get a chance to talk tomorrow. And you'll be here tonight (Thursday)?
Gumbel: You can catch the two-hour Survivor finale tonight at 8:00 here on CBS. Immediately following the show, I'll host a one-hour primetime Survivor special. Then tomorrow (Friday), the big winner and the entire Survivor: Africa cast will be reunited right here on The Early Show.
Hatch: And then we were three.
Gumbel: We'll get all three winners together.
Wesson: That's exciting.
Hatch: It is going to be a lot of fun. Come on, Ethan!
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