"Big Tom" ready for big payback
BY JOE TENNIS
BRISTOL HERALD COURIER
May 7, 12:00 AM EDT
RICH VALLEY Ė Itís all over but the big payback.
Thursday night, local cattle farmer "Big Tom" Buchanan lost his bid to win $1 million on the CBS reality series "Survivor: All-Stars" when contestants including "Boston" Rob Mariano voted Buchanan off the show.
But it did not end without a promise.
Buchanan signed off the episode by giving a stern look to Mariano and later telling a camera crew he would find justice as a member of the jury that decides who will be the showís ultimate "Survivor."
"Tomís done well," said his sister, Rachel Buchanan, who watched the show from the family home here. "He survived 36 days out there. Thatís longer than any of us ever could."
Buchananís downfall came because he had trusted in an alliance with Mariano and Marianoís girlfriend, contestant Amber Brkich, said Buchananís father, Raymond Buchanan.
"Iím mad," said 70-year-old said. "Iím mad because both of them turned against Tom."
The elder Buchanan summed up his sonís dilemma with a Big Tom-style quip: "When you play with a skunk, heíll squirt you."
And Mariano is "a true skunk," Raymond Buchanan said. "He smells bad."
For weeks, the Buchanan clanís hometown crowd in Rich Valley had booed the sight of Mariano on screen.
Rachel Buchanan figured her younger brother "could have won if Boston Rob hadnít stabbed him in the back."
But, on Thursday, the buzz on the Internet and in "Survivor" polls had said Buchanan faced getting voted off. And more speculation followed after Buchanan left home on Thursday to fly to New York.
This morning, he is slated to appear in a live segment of CBS-TVís "The Early Show," which, like "Survivor," airs locally on News Channel 11.
Sundayís "Survivor" finale starts at 8 p.m. A reunion featuring all of the "All-Star" contestants begins at 10 p.m.
Thursday night, Mariano solved a puzzle Ė and gained immunity from being voted off.
Preston Buchanan said he was worried his nephew would have trouble with such a challenge.
"He doesnít do well with puzzles," he said. "And heís not the greatest speller in the world."
Buchanan, 48, spent a few weeks late last year near Panama to film the reality series. But, by contract, he could not reveal to anyone the outcome of the show or how he firstname.lastname@example.org