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Survivor Hype

Saturday, March 10, 2001

By Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The tribes have merged, and the quotemeister is gone. You could always count on North Carolina native Jeff, a 34-year-old Internet project manager, to relish the prospect of kicking butt, chopping off heads or poking eyes out.

But at this week's tribal council, Jeff and Colby were locked in a 5-5 and then 4-4 tie for ouster. Jeff's past came back to haunt him, though, because previous votes come into play in the event of a tie. Jeff was bounced, leaving nine players still in the running for $1 million.

Keith won immunity after excelling at a game called "Perch," a test of endurance, determination and the ability to withstand host Jeff Probst's temptations of apples, peanut butter and -- especially -- chocolate. Players were forced to stand on wooden pillars in the middle of a river.

Nick bailed first but Alicia, Tina and Keith hung in there for nearly 10 hours and 18 minutes. Alicia quit and Tina stepped aside, so former Ogakor teammate Keith could gain immunity. Her selflessness makes her our hero of the week.

In fact, she is favored to win by Intertops.com, an Internet sports betting site. This week's odds: Tina, 3-1; Keith, 7-2; Colby, 4-1; Amber, 9-2; Elisabeth, 5-1; Alicia, 6-1; Nick, 8-1; Jerri, 10-1; and Rodger, 12-1.

Intertops argues that Tina, a married mother of two and nurse from Knoxville, Tenn., has allied herself with Keith and Amber and appears to be in a good position in the newly merged Barramundi tribe. The new school color: orange.

SIGN HER UP: If aspiring actress Jerri isn't hired to promote chocolate, someone's missing the boat. She has fantasized about sweets (and other things) and left her perch the minute Probst promised chocolate. And Colby wasn't even part of the package.

PLAN THE PARTY: Although it may be a little early for tiki torches, the series finale will be Thursday, May 3. And if you're planning your "Survivor" viewing, take note that the show will air on Wednesday for the next two weeks. March 14 will bring a regular episode, but March 21 will be a "special broadcast." That's TV speak for highlights and never-before-seen footage. The NCAA tournament is forcing the changes.

WONDERGIRL: People magazine reports that Beaver County's Amber Brkich was an extra in "Wonder Boys," the made-in-Pittsburgh film coming to video Tuesday.

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