‘Survivor’ Countersuit Is Challenged by Judge


A Los Angeles judge on Monday deflated the $5-million breach-of-contract lawsuit against former “Survivor” cast member Stacey Stillman, who alleges the wildly popular CBS television program was rigged.

Stillman contends, in a lawsuit filed in February, that she was deprived of a chance to win the $1-million prize because the executive producer of the series, Mark Burnett, manipulated the voting. Burnett’s production company, SEG Inc., filed a countersuit, alleging defamation and breach of contract.

On Monday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ralph Dau indicated he probably would rule against SEG, saying that confidentiality agreements should protect trade secrets, not improprieties.


“A contract not to disclose discreditable facts about another is generally void,” Dau wrote in a preliminary opinion. “Manipulation of votes, if it in fact existed, is not a trade secret.”

Stillman’s case against CBS and Burnett was bolstered by testimony by Dirk Been, another participant in the show’s first season. Been said Burnett suggested whom he should vote off the South China Sea island by “dropping hints.”