By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 18, 2002 01:00 PM
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As “Survivor: Thailand” prepares to make its CBS debut Thursday night, all sorts of rumors are swirling around the latest installment of the reality show. But don’t believe too many of them.

Series producer Mark Burnett confirms to New York’s Daily News that, despite claims on various “Survivor” Web sites, he did not divide the show’s tribes along gender lines.

“The first five to eight minutes are a very new beginning for the show,” he told the paper, explaining that the opening will detail the selection of members for the two tribes, which are decidedly coed.

Meanwhile, show host Jeff Probst, 40, tells the New York Post that several of the “Survivor 5” contestants nearly came to blows over the course of their adventures. Viewers can expect to see a sample of what he’s talking about during the third episode.

“It showed the contestants were playing for real,” he said.

Elsewhere in the world of reality TV, ABC has ordered 15 episodes of “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” an American version of a British series, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The premise involves dropping eight celebrities into a harsh environment and seeing how they get by. The show will likely run during February sweeps next year.

Finally, USA Today reports that for the November sweeps, Fox will offer a show called “Experiment: Gay and Straight,” consisting of five gay and five straight housemates who are filmed for a week. “By the end,” says executive producer Mark Saxenmeyer, “they leave emotionally exhausted, and there is evolution.”