Radio, Internet will spill 'Survivor' secret after Eastern airing

LOS ANGELES - After East Coast television viewers learn who the ''Survivor'' winner is Wednesday night, can the well-kept secret hold for a few hours more until the rest of the country tunes in?

Not if some radio stations and Internet sites have their way.

''We'd probably tell. That's what we do,'' said a mischievous Mark Thomas, assistant program director for Los Angeles station KFI.

But listeners will get fair warning if they want to avoid knowing who claims the show's $1 million prize before ''Survivor'' airs in time zones outside the East. The two-hour finale is set for 8-10 p.m. EDT Wednesday on CBS.

At Denver station KOA, which is affiliated with CBS and ABC, a disclaimer will precede any announcement.

''I think people react negatively to a party pooper,'' said Jerry Bell, KOA's news director. ''If somebody's driving home we wouldn't want to blow it for him.''

Overeager fans can go directly to the Internet. As soon as news reports move with the winner's name, Yahoo! plans to post them. The Denver Post Web site, among others, said it will put the information up as soon as it's available.

Not everybody is rushing to spill the beans. Los Angeles news radio station KFWB plans restraint, said news director Crys Quimby.

''It's been ongoing for such a long time, I prefer not to spoil it for anybody inadvertently,'' she said.

KNX, a CBS station that will broadcast the ''Survivor'' town hall meeting airing after the show, also plans to keep quiet. ''It's like tearing out the last page of a book and reading it. You just don't do that,'' said KNX news director Robert Sims.

Non-CBS TV stations are unlikely to make a big deal about the show, which has been a summer hit for CBS. KNBC in Los Angeles said whether it airs the result at all will be up to the producer of its 11 p.m. newscast.

Though the series was filmed and the winner selected months ago, the outcome has remained a secret. On Wednesday, the last four of the 16 contestants stranded on a Malaysian island will be whittled down to one.

The finalists are Kelly Wiglesworth, 23, a river guide from Las Vegas; corporate trainer Richard Hatch, 39, of Newport, R.I.; Rudy Boesch, 72, a retired Navy SEAL from Virginia Beach, Va., and truck driver Susan Hawk, 38, of Palmyra, Wis.


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