NEW YORK – Survivor 3 has just finished shooting in Kenya — and bits and pieces of information about the top-secret show are leaking out.
Among the news: the site of the Tribal Council is a gigantic man-made tree constructed in the middle of a barren plain.
The tree has "spiraling staircases leading up to a wooden platform," where contestants will meet each week to decide who among will be voted off the show, according to Futurizmo.com, a Web site that has been accurate in the past in digging up inside information about the hit series.
To vote, the contestants must climb up a branch through thick leaves to the edge of a long branch. "When voted out, they would cross a rope bridge to a treehouse on another tree," the site reports.
Suvivor 3 — again hosted by Jeff Probst — will also see a major change in the structure of the game.
In the past, tribes have merged into a single unit at the halfway point — when the two tribes are whittled down to eight players.
In the new scenario, Futurizmo.com reports, instead of a merger after eight weeks, the last remaining players will be split again — into three tribes, each with an even number of contestants.
That way, the ability of Survivor contestants to align themselves with and against each other will be severely limited.
There are even reports that spies will be used in Survivor 3 — players who eavesdrop on one team and reveal what they learn to the other tribe.
A list of probable contestants has also leaked out yesterday, showing the usual group of mostly young, active professionals from around the country — with a few older hands thrown in for variety.
We seem to know the most about a contestant named Lindsey Richter, a photographer from Oregon.
The local newspaper said her audition tape showed her cavorting nude with a dog.
Another source, the Web site survivornews.net, says that Richter was once engaged to a minor-league baseball player named Trent — most likely Trent Durrington, who had a short stay with the Anaheim Angels.
Lindsey's nickname, apparently, is "Insano" — because of her outrageous behavior, reports the site, which also describes her as "very flirtatious" with "mostly male friends."
CBS declined to confirm any of the information that has been leaked, including the identities of the contestants.
The show was videotaped in a national game preserve in Kenya, the same place where the Born Free movies were made. It debuts Oct. 11.