‘Survivor’ Meets ‘X-Files’

Is it a rumor or a sneaky publicity stunt? It could be both. Word is that a hacker who goes by the screen name CAPLOCK has cracked a secret code on the show’s official Web site and supposedly discovered the identity of the winning contestant of the mega-popular, man vs. nature reality TV series.

And the winner, according to the sleuthing cybergeek, is Gervase Petersen, 30, a youth basketball coach from New Jersey.

“We verified the information, and it’s all there, but whether it means anything, who knows,” says Paul Sims, who runs www.survivorsucks.com, where the supposed scoop was revealed Friday. “I’m a bit skeptical that CBS would allow people to know who the winner is in advance.”

The Web page in question is the “Tribal Council Voting History Page” on the “Survivor” Web site (www.cbs.com/survivor). The page features photos of all 16 “Survivor” contestants, with a red “X” superimposed over the seven who have been kicked off the island of Palau Tiga so far.

But this CAPLOCK character says he has found more information in the HTML coding behind the page. He says the faces of all the contestants were secretly coded with the red “X,” except for that of Gervase.

Survivorsucks.com wouldn’t comment as to whether they thought this is evidence that the folks at the CBS web site know who the winner is in advance (after all, the show was taped earlier this year) or if it’s just a weird error.

Meanwhile, CBS officials haven’t yet called us back with their side of the matter, but Sims says his Web site isn’t trying to spoil the “Survivor” surprise, it’s simply reporting all rumors related to the show as a public servce to viewers.

“We got the information from this gentleman last Thursday, but asked him not to go public with it. But when he told us he was going public, we decided to post it.”