Sunday's finale grabs 25 million viewers, and Jerri Manthey finally gets her say

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 11, 2004 09:00 AM

Sunday’s finale of Survivor: All-Stars attracted more than 24 million viewers on CBS, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers. By comparison, the first Survivor finale, in August 2000, drew 50 million viewers.

But after Amber Brkich won $1 million and the heart of runner-up “Boston Rob” Mariano, the contestants took to CBS’s Early Show on Monday to air some of their dirty laundry.

While their were strong hints at lingering feelings of animosity for “Boston Rob,” Lex van den Berghe (who flat out told off Mariano on the finale) ended up not seeming to hold a grudge.

Speaking of 25-year-old Amber and 28-year-old “Boston Rob,” Lex, 40, said: “I wish these guys the best of luck. I’ve been a happy man for 16 years with my wife. If they can be half as happy as I’ve been, the world is a better place.”

As for contestant Jerri Manthey, Sunday proved highly emotional for her. The wannabe actress and three-time Survivor player decided to walk out of the finale after the audience booed her while she was speaking her mind.

“I was pretty upset,” Manthey, 33, said. “I didn’t get to finish making my point … that this show is for entertainment and it comes at a price. And for some of us the cost is friendships and feelings.”

But perhaps the last word goes to Dennis Donovan, 40, “Boston Rob’s” high-school math teacher, who told the hometown paper, the Boston Herald: “He was always funny in class and even tried to cut in on my date while I was a chaperone at his senior prom.”

When it came to grading Mariano on Survivor, Donovan said, “I don’t think he played more deviously than anyone else on the show.”