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‘Survivor’ Finale Reveals Winner of ‘Worlds Apart’ After 10 Million Ballot Popular Vote

Jeff Probst announces results of the two-week, nationwide fan vote-on for the upcoming ”Second Chances“ season during live telecast

(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen the season finale of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on CBS.)

Mike Holloway, a 38-year-old oil driller from North Richland Hills, Texas won “Survivor: Worlds Apart” during a live broadcast Wednesday night from CBS Studio Center in Studio City.

Holloway took home a $1 million check and the title of “Sole Survivor.”

The latest winner began the season portrayed as a bossy loudmouth who moronically ate a scorpion on Day 1. He morphed into a fan favorite mid-season emerging as a lone wolf from a stew of verbal abuse, paternalistic misogyny and bratty entitlement among a cast that had the internet commentariat slugging this season as “Villains vs. Villains.” The official title of it was “White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar.”

The buzzy season consistently won its timeslot and served as the lead in to David Letterman‘s final show.

The finale excitement was overshadowed in many ways by CBS’ own creative promotion for the upcoming fall season dubbed “Second Chances.” Over the last two weeks, fans have been voting-on a cast of 20 “Survivor” alumni from a field of 32. All the contenders have only competed once and have never won.

CBS reported that over 10 million votes had been cast for the competition. GoldDerby.com, the site best known for its Oscar and Emmy odds from experts, weighed in with their own tracking poll on the vote-on.

In a marketing first, the candidates were set free, unencumbered by any network press restrictions to campaign, do their own press, and run their own amateur (and sometimes professional) marketing campaigns to try to earn a spot on the season. As of 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning the candidates were already “sequestered” in an Los Angeles hotel, one contestant was still doing her own live radio interview campaigning for votes.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer weighed in, encouraging her colleagues to support “two of our Yahoos,” as both Shirin Oskooi and Andrew Savage work for the online giant.

One player offered discounts from his Colorado medical marijuana dispensary in exchange for votes, a veteran from the Season 2 in 2001 put up billboards in Atlanta, and another had his moves chronicled by local press as he is playing in honor of his mother — a breast cancer survivor.  Yet another candidate, Monica Padilla, published a video of her running down Hollywood Boulevard in a bikini to score votes.

Immediately after the finale, CBS was expected to immediately sequester the new cast where they are headed off to Cambodia after a media junket in Los Angeles.

This season, the original reality franchise is averaging 11.36 million viewers, a 3.0/10 in the key 18-49  demographic, and 25 percent higher in the next demo up, with 3.9/11 in 25-54. It has been first on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. in these categories, spiking “Idol.”

CBS programmed “Survivor” across the board for the final primetime schedule leading in to David Letterman‘s milestone final broadcast later on Wednesday night. It is a bit of irony for the host who was never fond of reality stars or the network’s own megahit franchise. Castoff guests only got to stand off to the side on their appearances on the “Late Show”, not sit down for a chat.

More on the 20 selected cast member for “Survivor: Second Chances” to come…