Richard Hatch asks judge to let him travel to Samoa for 'Survivor 20'
By Christopher Rocchio, 07/13/2009
Rumors about Survivor's twentieth season serving as another all-stars edition are apparently true.
Richard Hatch has requested a leave from his current home confinement stint so he can travel to Samoa for approximately seven weeks for a "specific job opportunity" extended to him by Survivor's producers, according to documents filed in federal court last week and obtained by NBC's WJAR-TV affiliate in Providence, RI.
The original Survivor winner is currently serving the final 90 days of a 51-month sentence in his Newport, RI home after 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.
Survivor's offer to have Hatch participate in the show's twentieth edition in Samoa was made in a June 23 email in which Survivor casting director Lynne Spillman had 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 the request -- which the United States Attorney's Office opposed in a July 9 objection filing to Hatch's motion -- was apparently not granted.
While CBS isn't commenting, Hatch's court filing 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. Villians" theme and include some former contestants who already previously returned for the show's Survivor: All-Stars or Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites editions.
"I can't say who I think should go because I already know who was asked... [but] spread the word people Heros [sic] Vs Villians lives!" Archa Survivors-start-today.html#reply-4627853">wrote in July 8 message board posting. "And yes, obviously I wasn't asked since I was neither lol. Wouldn't even be talking about this if Lynne would have returned my e-mails lol."
"I think it was the only way they could jusitfy [sic] inviting 3rd timers back," he added in a follow-up post.
The twentieth's production season will begin around August 1 and conclude September 20, according to the Spillman's email, which was included in Hatch's filing and obtained by WJAR-TV. Hatch's home confinement is currently slated to end October 7.
In his filing, Hatch stated that participating in Survivor's twentieth edition 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.
"If permitted to participate in this opportunity, funds earned by Hatch could be applied first to any U.S. tax obligation (once determined)," Hatch wrote in the filing, which he filed on his own without a lawyer.
In addition, the filing states that Hatch is "especially eager" to pay the taxes he owes and also characterizes previous concerns about him being a "flight risk" as "unwarranted."
The United States Attorney's Office subsequently objected to Hatch's travel request, as well as his request to seal the motion and keep it private. In its July 9 objection, the attorney's office stated that except for the destination, Hatch's new travel request is 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.
"Judge (Ernest) Torres found that Hatch was in need of supervision, including mental health counseling and that Hatch perjured himself extensively during the trial," the government said in the filing obtained by WJAR-TV.
"[This motion] is essentially the same as [Hatch's] previous motion, except that he now requests permission to travel to Samoa for an employment opportunity, rather than to Argentina."
In addition, the government noted its concern that Hatch "will have a strong incentive not to return" to the U.S. and thus "circumvent the substantial financial obligation" he owes.
Last month, Probst revealed that the show's next two installments would film back-to-back this summer while explaining why his new Live for the Moment reality series was left out of CBS' recent 2009-2010 primetime programming schedule announcement. The following week, The Los Angeles Times reported both seasons will take place in Samoa and cited "budget cuts" as the reason for the back-to-back 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'sSurvivor: All-Stars were both filmed in Panama's Pearl Islands.
While Survivor's fall editions traditionally film during the summer, the show's spring editions are usually filmed in November and early December and wrap production just prior to CBS' broadcast of the fall edition's finale.