By Lia Haberman
Pssst. Want a tip on a sure thing? Put your money on Survivor.
While the adventure series has taken a backseat to another more scandalous reality series lately, Mark Burnett's unscripted show about scheming castaways is back in the headlines.
An online betting site has shut down wagers on Survivor: Amazon's battle of the sexes, claiming four CBS employees were discovered placing money on the series.
As fans of Survivor know, the winner won't be revealed until May sweeps, but the final two contestants were determined months ago when the show was taped in the wilds of Brazil.
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The CBS gamblers are suspected of placing bets on a sure thing because it's believed they know the game's outcome. The action has skewed odds so much (in favor of wild-eyed machete man Matt von Ertfelda and scheming swimsuit model Jenna Morasca, if you must know) that other players have been scared away, according to offshore-betting site Bodog.com.
While refusing to comment on the accusations, a spokesperson for CBS released the following statement: "Only the X Files has more conspiracy theories than Survivor."
However, according to the gaming folks, the CBS staffers have been placing bets on the show's outcome, successfully, since Survivor: Marquesas. "It caught the attention of our security department after we noticed that these four individuals had all wagered the maximum amount on the same two contestants for the past three Survivor contests and were right on the final two contestants every time, assuring themselves a profit," said company prez Rob Gillespie.
After noticing the trend, Bodog.com's security department punched the players' names into a search engine and found links to the CBS network (you could say they Googled the Eye). "In this case, our initial investigation determined that at least one of the clients worked for CBS in a production role, and he may have provided information to the other players or they may have been wagering on his behalf," continued Gillespie.
The company plans to offer odds on Survivor 7 but plans to scrutinize wagers more carefully.
Meanwhile, even as viewers have to wait until May to find out who's crowned King or Queen of the Jungle, CBS was the winner last night as 19.8 million tubers tuned in to see rocket scientists Dave Johnson voted out of the Amazon--much better ratings than last week's special Wednesday night time slot, which "only" attracted 16.7 million sets of eyeballs.
In preparation for the upcoming finale, plans to reunite the cast from the sixth installment of Survivor are underway. Last May, Burnett used New York's Central Park as the backdrop for Vecepia Towery's victory in Survivor: Marquesas. (Last December's Survivor: Thailand winner, Brian Heidik, was anointed in Los Angeles on a CBS soundstage.) The network is planning another one-hour live reunion show somewhere in the Big Apple to proceed the two-hour series finale airing May 11.