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Filming location Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
Winner Richard Hatch (4-3)
Original run May 31, 2000– August 23, 2000
Filming dates March 13, 2000– April 20, 2000
No. of episodes 13
No. of days 39
No. of survivors 16
Tribes Tagi
Pagong
Rattana
All-Stars Richard Hatch,
Rudy Boesch,
Susan "Sue" Hawk,Jenna Lewis
Season chronology
Next Survivor: The Australian Outback

Survivor: Borneo was the first season of the United States reality show Survivor. It was originally broadcast under the name Survivor but its official title has been changed to Survivor: Borneo to distinguish it from subsequent installments of the series. Before the change to Survivor: Borneo, the season was known universally as Survivor: Pulau Tiga, but it was changed again to its present title to avoid confusion with the tenth season, Survivor: Palau. The show began filming on March 31, 2000 and ended on April 20, 2000. It aired later that year on CBS. It was set in the South China Sea on the remote Malaysian island of Pulau Tiga in the state of Sabah, about 6 miles (9.7 km) off the north coast of Borneo, Malaysia. The show was released on DVD on May 11, 2004.

The sixteen contestants were initially separated into two tribes, named Tagi and Pagong, which represented the name of their beaches. When ten players remained, the contestants merged into one tribe, named Rattana. While Tagi and Pagong's names and makeups were picked by the producers, Rattana was named by contestants Sean Kenniff and Jenna Lewis, because of the large amounts of Rattan wood on the island. After 39 days of competition, corporate trainer Richard Hatch was named the Sole Survivor, defeating whitewater rafting guide Kelly Wiglesworth in a 4–3 jury vote. In 2006, it was revealed that Hatch failed to declare his winnings, among other earnings, in his tax return and was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment.

The Survivor: Borneo finale received the highest ratings of any Survivor episode to date. Richard Hatch, Jenna Lewis, Rudy Boesch, Susan Hawk and Colleen Haskell were invited to participate again in the eighth season of Survivor, Survivor: All-Stars. Haskell was the only one to turn down the opportunity, while Hatch, Lewis, Boesch and Hawk placed 14th, 3rd, 17th and 13th respectively.



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The series premiere began with sixteen people split into two boats, divided into two tribes, Pagong and Tagi. During the first night, neither tribe had a completed shelter or a fire. On day 2, after losing the combined reward and immunity challenge, Tagi was sent to Tribal Council, where Sonja Christopher was the first contestant voted out of the game. The tribes then continued to build their shelter and search for food. At the Tagi camp, former Navy SEAL, Rudy Boesch and openly-homosexual corporate trainer Richard Hatch formed a strong friendship while B.B. Anderson became an annoyance at the Pagong camp. At the second immunity challenge, contestants were forced to eat a typical Malaysian food called Butok, which is the live larva of a beetle. Both tribes were in a tie after every castaway ate the Butok without refusing. In the tiebreaker, Stacey Stillman ate two Butok before Gervase Peterson, winning immunity for Tagi and sending Pagong to Tribal Council. At Tribal Council on day 6, B.B. was sent home from the Pagong tribe. Tagi won the next reward challenge on day 7, winning fishing and diving gear. Richard used the tools to catch many fish and feed the Tagi tribe. Pagong caught and ate a rat, after roasting it first. Pagong won the next immunity challenge on day 9 and Stacey was the third person voted out. Gretchen became the motherly tribe member of Pagong, and Rudy became the cook at Tagi, cooking the fish that Richard would catch. Tagi would win both the reward challenge on day 10 and the immunity challenge on day 12, sending Pagong to Tribal Council, where Ramona Gray was the next person voted out.


Their walk through the jungle at night to the Tribal Council will be an hour trek punctuated by stops to wait for six-foot-long snakes to writhe off the trail. Their bodies will be covered with bug bites as they sleep on the sand or in the jungle. They will catch rats to supplement the diet of rice and water provided.—Mark Burnett, Survivor: The Ultimate Game — Page 12

At the following reward challenge on day 13, Pagong won fresh fruit and three egg-laying chickens. Pagong also won the immunity challenge on day 15, as Dirk Been was voted off of the Tagi tribe. After winning the reward challenge on day 16, yet losing the immunity challenge on day 18, Joel Klug was voted off of the Pagong tribe. As the merge approached, Sean Kenniff and Jenna Lewis spent time creating guidelines for the new tribe. The merged tribe was named Rattana, and continued to live at the former Tagi beach. After the first individual immunity challenge on day 21, Greg Buis won immunity for Tribal Council. Gretchen Cordy was then voted out, being tagged as the "biggest overall threat." During the following episode on day 22, each castaway except Jenna was shown a one-minute video clip, that either a family member or friend recorded of themselves talking to the contestant. Jenna's video was never received, so she was unable to view it. The winner of the reward challenge would get to watch the remainder of their five-minute video. Greg won, and was able to watch the rest of his video. Gervase Peterson won the immunity challenge on day 24, and Greg was voted off. During this episode, Sean developed his "alphabet strategy," where his vote would go in alphabetical order for the duration of his time in the game.

Colleen Haskell would win the next reward challenge on day 25, which was a barbecue dinner for two contestants, and would receive their letters sent by family members or friends at home. Colleen chose Jenna to come to the dinner with her, allowing Jenna to read her letter as well. At the dinner, Colleen and Jenna formed an alliance, and discussed getting Gervase to join them. Gervase agreed, but the three did not have enough votes on their side, as Jenna was the next to be voted off on day 27, with Rudy holding immunity. During the following episode, Gervase was informed that his first son, Gunnar was born. Coincidentally, Gervase won the following reward challenge on day 28, allowing him a phone call home. Richard, however, won immunity on day 30, and Gervase was voted out. Following this, Kelly Wiglesworth decided against working with her alliance of Sue Hawk, Richard, and Rudy anymore. The next reward challenge was won by Sean on day 31, who won a night on a luxury yacht. Little did Sean know until long after getting on the boat that the Captain was his father (Jim Kenniff) who would travel on the yacht with him. Richard joined Sean for breakfast on the yacht the next morning, as Richard was chosen by Sean after the reward challenge. After deciding that if Kelly failed to win immunity, she would be sent home by her former alliance. Kelly won the immunity challenge, and Colleen was voted off on day 33. Kelly continued to win the following reward challenge on day 34. Joined by the show's host, Jeff Probst, Kelly won a night at a bar with a hot meal, a cold beer, and a 10-minute screening of the first episode of Survivor. Kelly also won the immunity challenge on day 36, holding off her elimination again, as the tension between herself and Sue grew stronger. Kelly voted with her former alliance to vote Sean out of the game.


The victory was an extraordinary feeling-I think mostly of relief but certainly of exultation as well. Its surrealness was increased by how utterly depleted I felt. I was exhausted, mentally and physically, and starving. I remember walking around the wrap party thinking that it was done. I'd done what I'd come to do and I could relax. I couldn't wait to go to bed. It felt great and I slept like a baby.—Richard Hatch, Survivor: The Ultimate Game — Page 227

As the final three days at the island came, Kelly won immunity again on day 37. The immunity challenge involved the final four contestants being quizzed on how much they knew about their former tribe mates. At Tribal Council, Richard and Sue tied with two votes each. As Kelly and Rudy voted again, Kelly switched her vote to Sue, as Sue was the next voted out. At the final immunity challenge on day 38, Kelly, Richard, and Rudy had to place one hand on the immunity idol held on a pole in the middle of a small well, while the three stood on small stands surrounding the pole. Richard voluntarily stepped out of the challenge with the assumption that the other contestants would "be crazy not to take [him]" to the final Tribal Council. After four hours and eleven minutes, Rudy accidentally removed his hand when changing his position, giving Kelly another victory. Kelly chose Richard to take to the final two, as she voted Rudy off. After Kelly and Richard pleaded their cases with the jury, each jury member cast a vote for one of the final two contestants. The votes were read during the final Tribal Council on day 39, different than every other season after it, when the votes were read months later during a live finale. Richard won the first $1 million prize with four votes, over Kelly's three votes.

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There were sixteen contestants overall, divided into two tribes, Pagong and Tagi. After six contestants were eliminated, the tribes were combined, or merged, to form one tribe, Rattana. Seven contestants made up the jury, who ultimately decided who would win the game, and the $1 million grand prize.

Contestant Original Tribe Merged Tribe Finish Total Votes
Sonja Christopher Tagi 01 1st Voted OutDay 3 4
B.B. Andersen Pagong 02 2nd Voted OutDay 6 6
Stacey Stillman Tagi 03 3rd Voted OutDay 9 6
Ramona Gray Pagong 04 4th Voted OutDay 12 6
Dirk Been Tagi 05 5th Voted OutDay 15 4
Joel Klug Pagong 06 6th Voted OutDay 18 4
Gretchen Cordy Pagong Rattana 07 7th Voted OutDay 21 4
Greg Buis Pagong 08 8th Voted Out1st Jury MemberDay 24 6
Jenna Lewis Pagong 09 9th Voted Out2nd Jury MemberDay 27 11
Gervase Peterson Pagong 10 10th Voted Out3rd Jury MemberDay 30 6
Colleen Haskell Pagong 11 11th Voted Out4th Jury MemberDay 33 7
Sean Kenniff Tagi 12 12th Voted Out5th Jury MemberDay 36 9
Susan "Sue" Hawk Tagi 13 13th Voted Out6th Jury MemberDay 37 6
Rudy Boesch Tagi 14 14th Voted Out7th Jury MemberDay 38 8
Kelly Wiglesworth Tagi 15 Runner-Up 0
Richard Hatch Tagi 16 Sole Survivor 6

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Episode title Air date Challenges Eliminated Finish
Reward Immunity
"The Marooning" May 31, 2000 Pagong Sonja 1st Voted OutDay 3
"The Generation Gap" June 7, 2000 Pagong Tagi B.B. 2nd Voted OutDay 6
"Quest for Food" June 14, 2000 Tagi Pagong Stacey 3rd Voted OutDay 9
"Too Little, Too Late?" June 21, 2000 Tagi Tagi Ramona 4th Voted OutDay 12
"Pulling Your Own Weight" June 28, 2000 Pagong Pagong Dirk 5th Voted OutDay 15
"Udder Revenge" July 5, 2000 Pagong Tagi Joel 6th Voted OutDay 18
"The Merger" July 12, 2000 None Greg Gretchen 7th Voted OutDay 21
"Thy Name Is Duplicity" July 19, 2000 Greg Gervase Greg 8th Voted OutDay 24
"Old and New Bonds" July 26, 2000 Colleen[Jenna] Rudy Jenna 9th Voted OutDay 27
"Crack In the Alliance" August 2, 2000 Gervase Richard Gervase 10th Voted OutDay 30
"Long Hard Days" August 9, 2000 Sean[Richard] Kelly Colleen 11th Voted OutDay 33
"Death of an Alliance" August 16, 2000 Kelly Kelly Sean 12th Voted OutDay 36
"Season Finale" August 23, 2000 None Kelly Susan 13th Voted OutDay 37
Kelly Rudy 14th Voted OutDay 38
Jury Vote Kelly Runner-Up
Richard Sole Survivor

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Original Tribes Merged Tribe
Episode #: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Finale
Eliminated: Sonja4/8 votes B.B.6/8 votes Stacey5/7 votes Ramona4/7 votes Dirk4/6 votes Joel4/6 votes Gretchen4/10 votes Greg6/9 votes Jenna4/8 votes Gervase5/7 votes Colleen4/6 votes Sean4/5 votes Susan
2/4 votes
Rudy1 vote Kelly3/7 votes Richard4/7 votes
Voter Vote
Richard Stacey Stacey Dirk Gretchen Greg Jenna Gervase Colleen Sean Susan Jury Vote
Kelly Rudy Rudy Dirk Gretchen Greg Sean Gervase Sean Sean Richard Rudy
Rudy Sonja Stacey Dirk Gretchen Greg Jenna Gervase Colleen Sean Susan Richard
Susan Sonja Stacey Dirk Gretchen Greg Jenna Gervase Colleen Sean Richard Richard
Sean Sonja Stacey Rudy Colleen Greg Jenna Gervase Colleen Susan Richard
Colleen B.B. Ramona Joel Richard Jenna Richard Sean Sean Kelly
Gervase B.B. Colleen Jenna Susan Jenna Richard Sean Kelly
Jenna B.B. Ramona Joel Gervase Greg Richard Kelly
Greg Ramona Jenna Joel Jenna Jenna Richard
Gretchen B.B. Ramona Joel Rudy
Joel B.B. Ramona Jenna
Dirk Sonja Stacey Susan
Ramona B.B. Colleen
Stacey Rudy Rudy
B.B. Ramona
Sonja Rudy

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The abandoned institute is on the island of the boomerang's open "V." This is the leeward side of the island. It faces west, and the South China Sea sunsets turn the sand orange-purple each evening at 6:30. One these shores we built a dock for offloading equipment, then living quarters with cold-water showers for sixty-five personnel-the camera crews, the production staff, and the assorted other individuals vital to producing thirteen hours of prime-time television.—Mark Burnett, Survivor: The Ultimate Game — Page 11

In 1998, CBS offered Mark Burnett the chance to present his idea of this reality show to producers. In October 1999, CBS held a casting call for a new reality show concept. The idea was Survivor, in which sixteen people would be stuck on an island 20 miles (32 km) away from the main land of Borneo. Ten main cameras were set on the island that would film the castaways every day. Every three days, a Tribal Council would be held in which one castaway would be voted off the island. The last castaway to be on the island would win $1 million.

Over 6,000 people applied for the show; 800 were then interviewed in sixteen cities. 48 people were then chosen, and after background checks and psychological evaluations done by the producers, the final sixteen contestants, and two alternates were picked.

As the survivors awaited the game's start, Survivor crews prepared the island for reward and immunity challenges, removing any harmful items, checking for any harmful animals in specific locations, and building a Tribal Council set. Camera and other crews were sent to the island three weeks in advance for testing. On the opposite side of the island from the tribes, head quarters were set up for the producers, and crew to live in on the island. This facility included many traditional trailers with running water, televisions, and one phone line. The Tribal Council set was be built two hundred yards from the crew's facility. The Tribal Council set was 30 by 30 feet (9.1 m × 9.1 m) with no walls and only a platform. In the middle of the set was a fire lava pit providing fire for the torches, which represented the castaways' life in the game.

On March 7, 2000, the contestants were flown to Los Angeles, then to the city of Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. From there, they were taken by boat to their island. Contestants were not allowed to speak to one another until they got on the boat headed towards their beaches. The two tribes shared the island of Pulau Tiga, which was divided by over 20 miles (32 km) of forest. The castaways were surrounded by wildlife such as pythons, kraits, adders, monkeys, monitor lizards, and white-bellied sea eagles. The show was set to air in the summer of 2000.

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I always believed it was going to generate strong water cooler conversation. Nobody could have predicted the ratings success. But I knew that the premise — a group of people marooned on an island, where they had to survive by working together, and they had to work against each other to win a million-dollar prize-I knew that premise was superior.—Mark Burnett, The New York Times[8]

Survivor: Borneo received mixed reactions in the media. Bill Carter, a writer for the New York Times stated that Survivor has "clearly begun to emerge as part of the wider culture, with news and discussion about the show widespread on television and radio talk shows and coverage increasing in newspapers." On the Late Show with David Letterman, David Letterman began a segment titled, "Top 10 Things That'll Get You Thrown Off the Survivor Island." During the first season, USA Today held coverage of the show as if it were a sporting event, listing which participant was voted off. USA Today also held a poll to see who viewers would have voted off. With 26 percent, Susan Hawk won the poll, although it had no effect on the game, as Sue made it to 4th place. CBS's The Early Show held an interview with each contestant the day after the episode in which they were voted off aired. By the second week, the show had already gained over 18 million viewers, beating out ABC's show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in ratings. After the season finale, Carter said that Survivor "built over a 13-week run to what was expected last night to be the biggest single television audience ever assembled for a summer television series, far eclipsed every expectation the network had when it acquired the rights to the show last year." Leslie Moonves, the president of CBS Television said that "it has beaten our expectations by about double." The finale of Survivor had higher ratings than the World Series, N.B.A. finals, N.C.A.A. men's basketball finals, and Grammy Awards of that year. CBS was able to make the cost of commercial advertisers up to $600,000 during the season finale.

Survivor: Borneo was criticized by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in response to footage showing the contestants trapping rats on the island, initially for fish bait but later for human consumption.


I plead to the jury tonight to think a little bit of the island we have been on. This island is full of, pretty much, only two things - snakes and rats. And in the end of Mother Nature, we have Richard The Snake, who knowingly went after prey; and Kelly, who turned into the rat that ran around like rats do on this island, trying to run from the snake. I believe we owe it to the island spirits we have come to know to let it end in the way that Mother Nature intended: For the snake to eat the rat.—Susan Hawk, Survivor: Borneo, Episode 13[11]

Susan Hawk's "snakes and rats" speech given during the final Tribal Council has been considered one of the greatest and more memorable speeches in the show's history,

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The DVD release of season one was released by CBS Home Entertainment in the U.S. on May 11, 2004, after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the DVD release features bonus material including commentary, interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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Notes

  •   The Total Votes is the number of votes a castaway has received during Tribal Councils where the castaway is eligible to be voted out of the game. It does not include the votes received during the final Tribal Council.
  •   In the case of multiple tribes or castaways who win reward or immunity, they are listed in order of finish, or alphabetically where it was a team effort; where one castaway won and invited others, the invitees are in brackets.
  •   The first challenge was a combined reward/immunity challenge. The winning team received immunity and waterproof matches.
  •   Sometime between day four and six, a reward challenge took place that was not aired. The challenge involved holding weight on poles. Richard held the weight for Tagi, as Joel for Pagong. The reward was a map to a closer water hole.
  •   The final four vote was tied with Richard and Sue each receiving two votes. In the tie-breaker vote, Rudy continued to vote against Sue while Kelly changed her vote from Richard to Sue.
  •   There was no reward challenge because of the tribal merge.

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