Such was the case Thursday night as CBS' voyeurism experiment came to a ho-hum end with Will Kirby, the scheming 28-year-old physician from Miami nicknamed "Dr. Evil" by fans, besting Nicole Nilson-Schaffrick, the scheming 31-year-old personal chef from Atlanta, to take home the $500,000 grand prize as the last houseguest standing.
"I'm pretty surprised," Will told host Julie Chen on the one-hour finale (it was originally supposed to be two hours, but President Bush's speech preempted the show). "I'm gonna have a lot of fun with it."
Nicole received $50,000 as the runner-up.
The final jury, composed of the other nine houseguests to get evicted from the show, gave Will the victory in a 5-2 vote broadcast live Thursday. Krista, Mike, Kent, Sheryl and Monica all voted for Will while Autumn and Hardy sided with Nicole. Shannon and Bunky's votes were nullified by Will and Nicole, as permitted by the rules. Justin, who was yanked off the show after pulling a knife on Krista, was not allowed to take part in the balloting.
CBS was the night's other winner. According to Nielsen overnights, the Big Brother 2 finale was seen by 12.3 million viewers, scoring a 7.8 rating and 13 share--tops in its time slot. If the early figures hold, the finale would be the most-watched and highest-rated episode this summer.
While Will may not have been the nicest of the bunch (he stated at the beginning of the game that he was modeling his strategy after Survivor's Richard Hatch), his constant manipulation and mind games earned him the respect of the jury.
Despite being nominated three times for eviction--more than anyone else on the show--an unapologetic Will took his deviousness all the way to the end.
" I can stand before you today and I can talk about apologies. I can talk about remorse. I can talk about regret. But, there are two reasons I am not going to. One, I think at this point it would be ingenuine; and two,...that's just not me," Will told the jury before the vote.
After exiting the Big Bro house, the two finalists sat down with Chen to talk about their experience. Nicole, who got a warning from producers in late August after making a veiled threat to Will while holding her chef's knife, admitted he played the game the best.
"He came in here with the most off-the-wall, ridiculous, ludicrous strategy and it worked so my hat is off to him," she said.
Both contestants also told Chen that the way they came across on television isn't necessarily who they are in real life (ya think?).
"The real Nicole is not very close to what I have been in there, unfortunately, and all my friends will know that," Nicole said.
So what's Will going to do with the money?
"I am going to waste it," he said. (No World Trade Center donation, doc?)
The inconsequence of so-called reality TV was never greater than after last week's shockingly real terrorist attacks. Big Brother 2 limped to its conclusion Thursday after numerous postponements due to nonstop news coverage and heat from fans for keeping the remaining contestants in the dark about the gravity of the tragedy.
Producers did tell Will and Nicole and third-place finisher Monica Bailey (who was voted out on Sunday) about the attacks. They also informed Monica that she had a cousin who worked in the World Trade Center that was missing. But many of Big Brother's faithful called it inhumane and criticized producers for continuing to keep them in the house when the rest of the nation was in mourning.
(With the exception of the Holland house, producers of the other Big Brother versions in Europe and South Africa did not tell their contestants anything.)
Meanwhile, there was another celebration during last night's show. Former houseguest Mike, a Los Angeles bar owner and wannabe rapper, popped the question to Krista, the feisty waitress from Opelousas, Louisiana. She said yes.
No word on a wedding date--or whether there will be a Big Brother 3.