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HOME > Survivor > Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains

Judge denies Richard Hatch's request to participate in 'Survivor 20'

By Christopher Rocchio, 07/13/2009 

Richard Hatch has had his Survivor torch snuffed back out without even getting to return to the game.

Judge William E. Smith has denied Hatch's request for a leave from his current home confinement stint so he could travel to Samoa to participate in Survivor's twentieth season and "10th anniversary edition," the Providence Journal reported Monday.

The federal judge denied the travel request in an order issued Friday, instead ordering Hatch to serve the final 90 days of a 51-month sentence in his Newport, RI home following his January 2006 tax eviction conviction for failing to pay taxes on the $1 million prize he received for winning the show's first season.

Hatch's home confinement is currently slated to end October 7.

Survivor's offer to have Hatch participate in the show's twentieth season in Samoa was made in a June 23 email in which casting director Lynne Spillman noted his participation would be "particularly significant" because it "coincides with the 10 year anniversary of the series" and his victory in the show's initial Survivor: Borneo edition which aired in Summer 2000.

Spillman had asked that Hatch keep the offer confidential and his July 7 filing had requested the court seal his motion from the public, however Smith reportedly rejected the request -- which the United States Attorney's Office had opposed -- as part of his Friday order, resulting in the public disclosure of the court filings, which were obtained by NBC's WJAR-TV affiliate in Providence, RI.

The attorney's office had objected to Hatch's request that the court seal the motion as part of a July 9 response filing in which it opposed allowing him to participate in the show, which he had claimed would help him pay the would help him pay the $400,000 in taxes -- not counting additional penalties and fees -- he is estimated to still owe from winning Survivor the first time around.

In their July 9 objection, the prosecutors had noted that except for the destination, Hatch's new travel request was pretty much the same as his previously rejected request that he be allowed to travel to Argentina (the home country of his Argentine husband) for personal and business matters.

Although Hatch apparently won't be participating in it, his request would appear to confirm former Survivor: Palau castaway Coby Archa's recent claims that the twentieth edition will be an all-stars edition which will feature a "Heroes vs. Villains" theme and include some former contestants who already previously returned for the show's Survivor: All-Stars or Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites editions.

CBS ordered Survivor's nineteenth and twentieth editions for broadcast during the upcoming 2009-2010 season in February and formally announced Samoa as the setting of the show's nineteenth season at the conclusion of May's Survivor: Tocantins reunion show.

Last month, host Jeff Probst revealed that the show's next two installments would be filmed back-to-back this summer.  The following week, The Los Angeles Times reported that both seasons would take place in Samoa and cited "budget cuts" as the reason for the scheduling.

The production scheduling will represent the first time Survivor has ever filmed back-to-back seasons and be the first time the show has produced consecutive seasons in the same country since Fall 2003's Survivor: Pearl Islands and Spring 2004's Survivor: All-Stars were both filmed in Panama's Pearl Islands.

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