Identities of 'Apprentice 2' finalists leaked via online betting?
By Reality TV World staff, 09/29/2004
Has an online gambling website once again revealed the ending of a Mark Burnett reality show?
Similar to events that occurred with the reality TV uber-producer's Survivor: The Amazon and Survivor: Pearl Islands programs, an offshore online gambling website has announced that it has stopped accepting bets on the winner of NBC's currently airing second The Apprentice season as the result of an "unusual betting pattern" focusing on only two contestants.
WARNING: The following story contains possible show spoiler information. If you don't want to know about the show's possible outcome, please stop reading now.
According to BetWWTS.com, the unusual activity centers around a cluster of New Hampshire-based accounts that suddenly began placing the casino's maximum $300 bet on two of the show's fifteen remaining contestants. "We don't know if this is some kind of link to the contestants or some way involved with the production," BetWWTS.com wagering director Stuart Doyle told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "When this has happened before, it's because someone has known the outcome."
In Spring 2003, another online gambling website announced that it had suspended wagering on CBS's Survivor: The Amazon after it alleged to have discovered that several CBS employees had been placing maximum bets on two particular contestants (unlike The Bachelor, Survivor winners are only determined in the program's live finale, with the program's filming ending with only the determination of the two finalists.) Security personnel from BoDog Sportsbook & Casino claimed to have discovered that four individuals had all been wagered the maximum amount on the same two contestants for the three previous Survivor editions and had been right on the final two contestants every time. The gamblers proved to be correct a fourth time, as the contestants they placed their bets on, Jenna Morasca and Matt Von Ertfelda, did indeed prove to be Survivor: The Amazon final two contestants.
Most recently, last fall's Survivor: Pearl Islands was plagued by a disclosure that, even before it premiered, a large number of newly opened accounts originating from Vancouver, British Columbia had been placing bets on Sandra Diaz-Twine, a 29-year-old U.S. Army veteran who worked at Fort Lewis in the Puget Sound, Washington area. More than one online wagering site was effected by the activity, with BetWWTS reporting that nearly 95% of all the pre-premiere money that had been wagered on the show's outcome had originated from new Vancouver accounts that were betting on the same contestant. While Sandra did prove to be the show's winner via a 6-1 landslide vote, a third gambling site, Intertops.com, did ultimately prove to be woefully off base when it speculated that, as a result of some of the same unusual betting activity, Osten Taylor -- who ended up quitting the game within its first two weeks -- was the other Survivor: Pearl Islands Final Two contestant.
According to BetWWTS, the two Apprentice 2 contestants receiving the unusually heavy betting were Jennifer Massey, a 30-year-old married attorney from San Francisco, CA and Kelly Perdew, a 37-year-old single software executive from Carlsbad, CA. Just like Survivor, The Apprentice concludes filming with the selection of two final contestants, with the winner announced via a live finale. Despite the fact that BetWWTS traced the source of the multiple $300 maximum bets to New Hampshire based accounts, none of the Apprentice 2 contestants appear to have any obvious ties to the state. "When we see a lot of bets with $300 then that's very suspicious," Doyle told the AP, noting that the typical bet is about $25.
In each of the prior betting cases, the "source" for the unusual betting activity turned out to have some type of connection to the show or the contestant. In The Bachelor 2, the location of the heavy betting activity -- Aaron's hometown -- made the connection obvious. In Survivor: The Amazon, as noted, the suspicious bets were traced to CBS employees.
The connection of the betting location to the winner of Survivor: Pearl Islands was first speculated to be related to either Sandra's relative proximity (although 200 miles, across a national boundary no less, is a long way) or the Vancouver area's growing status as a television production center. However, as first revealed by a Reality TV World message board poster (and veteran spoiler dating back to Survivor: Pulau Tiga) from the Vancouver area who uses the "King Oscar" screenname, the true connection was allegedly the husband of runner-up Lillian Morris (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who told a Vancouver-based sheet metal foreman that his wife was in the final two of Survivor: Pearl Islands against Sandra, but that Sandra probably won because she had not made any enemies on the show (which turned out to be true). Apparently Lil's husband figured that someone from a foreign country (Canada) was "safe" to tell about a U.S. show -- and then learned his mistake the hard way.
It is unclear whether the current betting "spoiler" follows any of these patterns or results from yet another type of leak not seen before. Since neither of the final two named by BetWWTS has any obvious ties to New Hampshire, the Bachelor 2 scenario is unlikely. However, we have no idea whether any NBC personnel or potential final challenge participants have New Hampshire ties or whether information may just have leaked to an interested acquaintance located in a different part of the country.
NBC had no comment on the BetWWTS announcement. "We're not going to speculate on the outcome at all," an NBC spokesman told the AP. "The finale is live and there won't be a winner until the finale."
Before the betting was suspended, consulting firm owner Elizabeth Jarosz, 31, had been BetWWTS' favorite to win the program, with 5-to-1 odds. Investment firm partner Pamela Day, 32, had been second with 7-to-1 odds and marketing director John Willenborg, 24, was third with 8-to-1 odds to win.
BetWWTS is unsure if it will continue to offer wagering on previously filmed reality shows. "We are considering not offering betting on reality shows that have been pre-taped," said Doyle told the AP. "It simply seems impossible not to have to suspend them very quickly." "We'll still pay the individuals already involved, but we watch the show with maybe a little more inside information than the average viewer."