By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 10, 1998 12:00 AM
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Regis Philbin may have some competition, after all. Wednesday’s premiere episode of the reality-based CBS island game show “Survivor” surfaced as a winner with younger viewers when stacked up against ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” “Millionaire” drew a larger audience, averaging 16.8 million viewers to the 15.5 million average pulled by “Survivor.” But the CBS newcomer was watched by more people in the groups highly sought after by advertisers (aged 18 to 49 and 18 to 34). “Survivor” pits 16 castaways on a tropical Malaysian island in an contest of endurance. Musician Sonja Christopher, 63, tripped and fell while carrying a raft in Wednesday’s episode, and was the first to be eliminated from the competition by the other contestants. The eventual winner will get to take home $1 million and once again enjoy the luxury of indoor plumbing.

  • As it turned out, Sonja Christopher is a survivor, after all. No sooner had she left the tropical island than the Walnut Creek, Calif., resident discovered a lump in her breast. Christopher, who had already survived a bout with breast cancer, almost decided to have the lump removed at a hospital in Borneo, where she was taken after being booted from the “Survivor” island. “I didn’t want to tell CBS about it, because I didn’t want them to worry about me,” she told New York’s Daily News. She eventually had the lump removed back in California. It toured out to be noncancerous.