Survivor: Palau

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Survivor: Palau is the tenth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. The season was filmed from November 1, 2004, through December 9, 2004, and premiered on February 17, 2005. The show was set in the stunning island nation of Palau, where contestants were challenged to survive in the wild and compete in various physical and mental challenges to win the grand prize of $1,000,000.

Throughout the season, the contestants were divided into two tribes – Koror and Ulong. The dynamic between the two tribes was unique, with Koror dominating most of the challenges and Ulong struggling to keep up. The season was known for its intense challenges, including the iconic “Sumo at Sea” challenge, which saw contestants battling it out on a small platform over the ocean.

Survivor: Palau received positive reviews from viewers and critics alike, with many praising the stunning location and compelling storyline. The season was won by Tom Westman, a 41-year-old firefighter from New York, who beat out 19 other contestants to take home the grand prize.

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Key Takeaways

  • Survivor: Palau is the tenth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor, set in the stunning island nation of Palau.
  • The season featured two tribes – Koror and Ulong – with the dynamic between the two tribes being unique.
  • The season was won by Tom Westman, a 41-year-old firefighter from New York, who beat out 19 other contestants to take home the grand prize of $1,000,000.

Overview of Survivor: Palau

Survivor: Palau is the tenth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. It premiered on February 17, 2005, and ran for 15 episodes until May 15, 2005. The season was filmed on the island of Koror in Palau, a small island nation in the western Pacific Ocean.

The season featured 20 castaways, divided into two tribes: Koror and Ulong. The castaways were initially given supplies and had to build shelter, find food, and compete in challenges to win rewards and immunity from elimination. The castaways were also subjected to twists and turns throughout the season, including a schoolyard pick for tribe selection and a tribe switch.

The season was won by Tom Westman, a 41-year-old firefighter from Sayville, New York. He defeated Katie Gallagher, a 29-year-old advertising executive from Merced, California, and Ian Rosenberger, a 23-year-old dolphin trainer from Key Largo, Florida, in the final tribal council.

Survivor: Palau was well-received by fans and critics alike. It is often cited as one of the show’s best seasons due to its unique location, compelling storyline, and memorable cast. The season also had strong ratings, with an average of 20.91 million weekly viewers.

Survivor: Palau is a standout season of the long-running reality television series. Its combination of stunning location, thrilling challenges, and memorable castaways make it a must-watch for fans of the show and newcomers alike.

Filming and Production

Survivor: Palau was filmed from November 1, 2004, through December 9, 2004, in Koror, Palau. The production team consisted of executive producer Mark Burnett and co-executive producers Tom Shelly, David Burris, and Charlie Parsons. Jeff Probst served as the show’s host, as he has for all seasons of Survivor.

The season began with 20 contestants divided into two tribes: Koror and Ulong. The contestants competed in various challenges, including reward challenges and immunity challenges. The losing tribe of the immunity challenge had to vote off one of their members at the tribal council.

The location of Palau provided a unique backdrop for the show, with its crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and lush vegetation. The production team took advantage of the area’s natural beauty, incorporating it into the challenges and tribal council set.

Overall, Survivor: Palau was a well-produced season, with high-quality camera work and editing. The production team did an excellent job of capturing the game’s drama and excitement while also showcasing Palau’s beauty.


Survivor: Palau featured 20 castaways divided into two tribes, Koror and Ulong. The castaways consisted of a diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds and professions, including a fire lieutenant, an advertising executive, and a waitress.

One of the standout contestants from Survivor: Palau was Tom Westman, a fire lieutenant from New York. Westman was a strong leader and a skilled competitor, winning several individual immunity challenges and ultimately being crowned the season’s winner.

Another memorable contestant was Stephenie LaGrossa, who was initially a member of the Ulong tribe. Despite being the sole survivor of her tribe after several consecutive losses, LaGrossa was eventually absorbed into the Koror tribe and made it to the final three.

Ian Rosenberger was another fan-favorite from Survivor: Palau. Rosenberger formed a close bond with Westman and was seen as a strategic player, making it to the final three before being voted out.

An advertising executive, Katie Gallagher, was also a strong player throughout the season. She formed alliances with several other castaways and made it to the final two, ultimately losing to Westman in a close vote.

Other notable castaways from Survivor: Palau include Jonathan Libby, Wanda Shirk, James Miller, Bobby Jon Drinkard, Jolanda Jones, Ashlee Ashby, Jeff Wilson, Willard Smith, Angie Jakusz, Ibrehem Rahman, Coby Archa, Janu Tornell, Gregg Carey, Caryn Groedel, Kim Mullen, and Jennifer Lyon.

Overall, the cast of Survivor: Palau brought a mix of personalities and gameplay styles to the season, making it an entertaining and memorable season for fans of the show.

Tribes and their Dynamics

Survivor: Palau featured two tribes, Koror and Ulong, each consisting of ten castaways. The season began with a schoolyard pick, where the castaways were divided into tribes by two captains. Ian Rosenberger and Tom Westman were chosen as the captains, and they took turns picking their tribemates.

The Koror tribe was known for its dominance throughout the season. They won the first immunity challenge and went on to win every subsequent immunity challenge, making them the first tribe in Survivor history to do so. The tribe’s strong relationships and teamwork contributed to their success. They also had a solid leader in Tom Westman, who emerged as one of the season’s strongest players.

In contrast, the Ulong tribe struggled from the beginning. They lost the first immunity challenge and continued to lose every subsequent challenge. The tribe’s lack of cohesion and inability to work together contributed to their downfall. They also had difficulty adapting to the island’s harsh living conditions, further weakening their morale.

As the season progressed, the dynamics within each tribe began to shift. The Koror tribe remained strong and united, but alliances began to form within the tribe. Tom Westman formed a close bond with Ian Rosenberger, while Katie Gallagher and Caryn Groedel formed their alliance. The Ulong tribe, on the other hand, became more fractured as the castaways struggled to survive and win challenges.

Overall, the tribe dynamics in Survivor: Palau played a significant role in the season’s outcome. The strong relationships and teamwork within the Koror tribe contributed to their success, while the lack of cohesion and teamwork within the Ulong tribe led to their downfall.

Key Events and Challenges

Survivor: Palau was the tenth season of the reality television show Survivor. The season had a few firsts in the show’s history, including being the first (and only) season not to have a merged tribe. The two tribes were named Ulong and Koror, and they competed against each other in various challenges to win rewards and immunity.

Some of the most memorable challenges from Survivor: Palau include:

  • “Eliminated Right Off the Bat” – The season’s first challenge, where the tribes had to race to retrieve a flag and then use it to light a torch. The losing tribe had to vote off one of their members immediately.
  • “Sumo at Sea” – A challenge where two players from each tribe had to push each other off a platform into the water using padded sticks.
  • “Box Your Mind” – A challenge where players had to memorize the order of items in a box and then recreate the order on a puzzle board.
  • “Hot Pursuit” – A challenge where players race through an obstacle course to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces and then solve the puzzle.

In addition to these challenges, there were reward challenges where the winning tribe would receive food or other luxuries, as well as hidden immunity idols that players could find to protect themselves from being voted off at the tribal council.

One of the most significant events of the season was the final immunity challenge, where the remaining players had to balance on a small platform while holding onto a pole. The last player standing would win immunity and a spot in the final three. In the end, Ian Rosenberger won the challenge. Still, he gave up his immunity to Tom Westman, leading to a dramatic fire-making challenge between Ian and Katie Gallagher to determine who would join Tom in the final two.

Overall, Survivor: Palau was a season full of memorable challenges and strategic gameplay, showcasing the series’ famous motto of “outwit, outplay, outlast.”


Survivor: Palau consisted of 15 episodes, with a two-hour season finale and an hour-long reunion show. The season premiered on February 17, 2005, and concluded on May 15, 2005. The season followed 20 new castaways as they competed for a million dollars while braving the wild islands of Palau.

Each episode of Survivor: Palau featured various challenges, tribal councils, and alliances that shaped the season’s storyline. The first episode, “This Has Never Happened Before!,” began with the 20 castaways stranded on a beach with no answers concerning tribes, camp locations, or what was going on. The episode ended with the tribes being divided into two groups: Koror and Ulong.

The castaways faced physical and mental challenges throughout the season, including a grueling endurance challenge that lasted for over 11 hours. The season also saw the first-ever tribal council where a castaway was eliminated without receiving any votes against them.

The season finale, “The Ultimate Shock,” featured the final four castaways competing in a series of challenges to determine who would advance to the final tribal council. The episode culminated in a dramatic final tribal council, where the jury of previously eliminated castaways questioned the final two castaways before voting for the winner.

The reunion show, titled “Survivor: Palau Reunion,” aired immediately after the season finale and featured the castaways reuniting to discuss their experiences on the show. The reunion show also featured interviews with the winner and runner-up of the season, as well as a preview of the next season of Survivor.

Overall, Survivor: Palau was a compelling season of Survivor, with a unique location and a memorable cast of characters. The season’s challenges, tribal councils, and alliances kept viewers on the edge until the end.


Survivor: Palau had 20 castaways divided into two tribes, Koror and Ulong. Each week, the tribes would compete in challenges, and the losing tribe would have to vote someone out of the game. The eliminated castaway would then become the first member of the jury, which would ultimately determine the winner of the game.

The first person to be eliminated from Survivor: Palau was Jonathan Libby. He was voted out by his tribe, Koror, in the first episode of the season. The second person to be eliminated was Wanda Shirk, who was voted out by her tribe, Ulong, in the second episode. Jonathan and Wanda were eliminated without ever having the opportunity to compete in a challenge.

As the game progressed, the eliminations became more strategic. Caryn Groedel, a member of the Koror tribe, was eliminated in the ninth episode of the season. Her alliance targeted her, who felt she was not loyal enough to them. Janu Tornell, a member of the Ulong tribe, was eliminated in the tenth episode of the season. She became a target due to her poor performance in challenges and lack of social connections.

Willard Smith was eliminated in the eleventh episode of the season. He had been a member of the Koror tribe and was seen as a physical threat by his fellow castaways. Despite his best efforts to form alliances, he was ultimately voted out of the game.

Throughout the season, the show’s editing played a significant role in portraying the eliminations. Some castaways were given more airtime than others, which led to fan speculation about who would be eliminated next. However, the outcome of the game was not always predictable, and many castaways could make unexpected moves that changed the course of the game.

Ratings and Reception

Survivor: Palau received positive ratings and reception during its airing in 2005. The season premiere garnered 23.68 million viewers, making it the most-watched non-Super Bowl Survivor premiere since Survivor: Africa in 2001. The season finale also had a high viewership, averaging 20.81 million viewers. The reunion show following the finale had an average of 15.48 million viewers.

The season received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. However, it lost to The Amazing Race.

Critically, the season was praised for its unique storyline and exotic location. It is still considered one of the best classic seasons of Survivor by fans and critics alike.

Overall, Survivor: Palau was a success regarding ratings and reception. Its high viewership and Emmy nomination solidified its place in Survivor history.

After Survivor: Palau

After the conclusion of Survivor: Palau, the show continued to air with new seasons and twists. Tom Westman, the winner of Survivor: Palau, competed in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, where he was voted out early in the game. Other Palau contestants, such as Ian Rosenberger, Stephenie LaGrossa, and Bobby Jon Drinkard, also returned for subsequent seasons.

The show’s production continued to travel to new locations, such as Guatemala, Micronesia, and Island of the Idols. Survivor also introduced new twists, such as Exile Island, where contestants were sent to a separate island away from the main camp, and Island of the Idols, where former contestants Boston Rob and Sandra Diaz-Twine acted as mentors to new players.

Survivor’s popularity also led to the creation of spin-off shows, such as Survivor: Los Angeles and Big Brother. However, the original Survivor series continued to attract a loyal fanbase and remained a staple of reality television.

Overall, Survivor: Palau marked a significant season in the show’s history with its unique location and memorable cast. The show’s continued success and evolution after Palau demonstrate its enduring appeal to viewers and ability to adapt to changing times and tastes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who won Survivor Season 11?

Tom Westman won Survivor: Palau, the 10th season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor.

What was the theme of Survivor Palau?

The theme of Survivor: Palau was “One World Apart,” which means the contestants were divided into two tribes based on their gender.

What happened to Ian from Survivor Palau?

Ian Rosenberger was one of the contestants in Survivor: Palau. In the final immunity challenge of the show, he voluntarily stepped down from his buoy, which led to a tiebreaker between Tom Westman and Katie Gallagher. Tom won the tiebreaker and the title of Sole Survivor.

What nationality is Stephanie in Survivor Palau?

Stephanie LaGrossa, a contestant in Survivor: Palau, is an American.

Is Survivor Palau worth watching?

Survivor: Palau is considered one of the greatest classic seasons of the show, with one of the most exotic locations and a compelling, unique storyline. Therefore, it is worth watching for fans of the Survivor franchise.

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