The socially awkward Cochran, a fan of the show since he was a boy, won the title on "Survivor: Caramoan" and collected $1 million.
Cochran, who recently graduated from Harvard Law School, won all the jurors' votes over runners-up Dawn and Sherri.
His win was inspiring because he explained how playing the game had changed his life. He was a returning player in the "Fans Vs. Favorites" setup. He said his eccentric style had tripped him up on "Survivor: South Pacific," but this time around, he embraced his offbeat manner and triumphed.
Malcolm was the winner, in a tight race with Brenda, of the $100,000 Sprint Player of the Season award voted on by fans. Brenda couldn't attend the reunion show; she appeared via satellite from Miami, where she soon will give birth.
The "Survivor" 26th season finale averaged 10.2 million viewers, according to updated ratings. The cast reunion show pulled in 8.1 million. CBS also aired "60 Minutes," which won its time slot with 10.3 million viewers.
ABC aired the season finales of "America's Funniest Home Videos" (6.3 million), "Once Upon a Time" (7.3 million) and "Revenge" (6.1 million). "The Celebrity Apprentice" averaged 4.2 million for NBC. Fox's strongest performers were "Family Guy" (4.8 million) and "The Simpsons" (4.2 million).
In Orlando, the "Survivor" finale was tops with 171,000 viewers. Rounding out the top five were "60 Minutes" with 159,000, the "Survivor" reunion with 116,000, "Once Upon a Time" with 114,100 and "America's Funniest Home Videos" with 103,200.