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Gambling site suspends betting on "The Apprentice'

An offshore bookie has suspended betting on the winner of the second season of NBC's The Apprentice, citing an "unusual betting pattern on two contestants" from accounts originating in New Hampshire.

"We don't know if this is some kind of link to the contestants or some way involved with the production," wagering director Stuart Doyle told the Associated Press Tuesday. "When this has happened before, it's because someone has known the outcome."

This is the fourth reality-TV-related incident on which has suspended wagering because of unusual betting patterns. Last year, CBS's Survivor: Pearl Islands winner Sandra Diaz-Twine received numerous wagers from Vancouver, British Columbia, before the first episode even aired. Similar incidents occurred during Survivor: The Amazon and the second installment of ABC's The Bachelor.

"We are considering not offering betting on reality shows that have been pretaped," said Doyle. "It simply seems impossible not to have to suspend them very quickly."

Unlike the Pearl Islands incident where the suspicious wagers occurred near the winner's home in Fort Lewis, Wash., none of the Apprentice candidates seem to have New Hampshire ties, according to their NBC bios.

Melissa Etheridge to star in proposed ABC sitcom

Melissa Etheridge is crossing over to television as the star of an ABC sitcom, reports Billboard Online.

To be written by Linda Wallem, the untitled project from 20th Century Fox TV is described as a nontraditional family comedy and as a reversed Will & Grace with a kid. It centers on a gay woman (Etheridge), a music teacher who lives with her best friend, a straight man. The two are raising the daughter of another friend.

Wallem is executive producer on the project, and Etheridge is producer.

_ Times wire services