CBS staffers may have bet on ''Survivor.'' Two employees were found to have placed winning bets on Web gaming site

By Gary Susman
Updated April 04, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

CBS has always insisted that the competition on ”Survivor” is fair and square and that producers don’t play favorites, but longstanding rumors to the contrary got a boost Thursday with news that at least two CBS staffers had been placing winning bets on the outcomes of previous seasons on an online gambling site. According to the Associated Press, said Thursday it was suspending all bets on the outcome of the current ”Survivor” season after its own investigation determined that two bettors — and possibly others, using aliases — work for the network.

”We’re pretty sure this is the case,” BoDog spokesman Lance Bradley told AP. The website fingered the bettors after they wagered on who would be the final two contestants in the fourth and fifth seasons of ”Survivor” and on no other events. The biggest jackpot was $8,000 on an 8-to-1 bet on ”Survivor: Thailand.” BoDog, which is based in Costa Rica (gaming sites in the U.S. are not allowed to take bets on non-sporting events), was not likely to take legal action, Bradley said.

CBS spokesman Chris Ender said, ”Only ‘The X-Files’ has more conspiracy theories than ‘Survivor,”’ and declined to comment further on the allegations or on the network’s possible response. He cast doubt on the insider-knowledge idea, saying, ”Throughout the history of ‘Survivor,’ many have believed they knew the outcome of the show. Some have been right, many have been wrong.”

As of Friday, BoDog was still taking bets on whether the ”Survivor: The Amazon” winner would be male or female. On Thursday’s episode, rocket scientist and perceived physical threat Dave Johnson was voted out 8-1 after Jenna Morasca won a trivia-based immunity challenge. He becomes the first member of the ”Survivor” jury.