Disney's board of directors have become concerned that the company's CEO search is rigged in favor of president Bob Iger so much so that Chairman George Mitchell has told management to tamp down its public campaign on behalf of Iger, The Post has learned.

At the same time, a source close to the matter said that the board is sharply divided on the succession issue: three board members, including Eisner and Iger, unequivocally back the company president, while three directors are said to be against his appointment.

The remaining six directors, the source said, are more open-minded and are waiting to consider candidates from outside the company.

Meanwhile, some outside candidates have been privately griping that they believe the search is fixed, and are worried that the board will not give full consideration to candidates other than Iger, a source said.