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I Know Who it Is! Everyone's a 'Survivor' Expert

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"As we have said from the beginning, CBS won't confirm or deny any inquiries or reports about the results of 'Survivor,' and we will allow the press to run inaccurate information." —CBS spokesman Colleen Sullivan

"Allow"?! So, now we know — the media is run by flacks. Anyway, we're taking up Colleen's kind offer, after a quick disclaimer:

THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES EXISTING THEORIES ABOUT WHO HAS ALREADY WON THE $1 MILLION PRIZE ON "SURVIVOR." THEY ARE BASED ON RUMORS, PRESS REPORTS AND READER CONTRIBUTIONS, AND ARE THUS UNSUBSTANTIATED BY ANY JOURNALISTIC STANDARD. THE CORRECT ANSWER MAY INDEED APPEAR SOMEWHERE IN THIS SPACE, BUT ANY VERISIMILITUDE IS, REST ASSURED, PURELY COINCIDENTAL. THIS IS A PARLOR GAME, PEOPLE. THE DETERMINEDLY INCURIOUS, HOWEVER, MAY WANT TO STOP READING, BECAUSE WE MIGHT JUST GET IT RIGHT.

Last week, in the wake of Gretchen's unexpected expulsion by the Tribal Council, the first meaty theory emerged about who really won the tape-delayed "Survivor" when it was completed on April 20. An intrepid web surfer had rummaged through CBS' web site and discovered that among pictures of the cast members, a certain picture of Gervase (the lazy one) did not have a certain red X over his face. Winner? Saying it was probably a CBS-engineered red herring, I nevertheless passed it on to readers of this site last week. (As for the Gervase "red X" theory's merits, Inside.com reported this week that a CBS.com "mole" assures them it was just a test, and that he doesn't know who won either.)

Reaction was mixed. Some accused me of being a spoilsport and cursed my name; others, sensing more sport, sent their own theories along.

From Jason:

"You say the winner is a secret — hardly. It was on ABC's '20/20' or NBC's 'Dateline.' ... They said that he was the winner of the million."

From Clay Fondren at a company called Protonesis:

"Protonesis, Inc., a science-based competitive intelligence group, uncovered information revealing Rudy Boesch, the 72-year-old retired Navy Seal contestant, to be the winner of the CBS reality series. Protonesis, Inc., used its proprietary Touch-Free CI process, a proprietary linguistic analysis technology available only to Protonesis clientele, to obtain the information. Today, any competitive intelligence research is simply incomplete without Protonesis Analysis."

From another reader:

"Before 'Survivor' ever aired, the Naval Special Warfare Archives page www.navyfrogman.com reported that Rudy won the million-dollar prize on April 19, 2000." The evidence has presumably been removed, but this search does turn up the site. Hmm.

Missy Wigley writes:

"Take a look at the opening credits for the 7/19 episode. Sitting at tribal council are: Gervase, Colleen, Rudy and Sean, and no one else — and there were just four torches in the shot with them."

And from another Final Four theorist, A webshot, and this:

"I'm pretty confident that the order is Colleen, Rudy, Sean and Gervase."

Consensus winner so far: Rudy. Stay Tuned.

SEND US YOUR THEORIES. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.

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