'Survivor' crew members unharmed by Samoa earthquake, tsunami
By Reality TV World staff, 09/30/2009
Survivor crew members are safe after a massive tsunami crushed the coastlines of Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday morning.
"Our thoughts go out to the people of Samoa during this difficult time. Fortunately the cast and crew of Survivor has not been affected by the earthquake. Thank you for all of your concern," said CBS in a Tuesday afternoon post on the show's Facebook account.
The tsunami was caused by a powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake that hurled waves as high as 15 feet onto the coastlines of Samoa and American Samoa -- killing at least 99 people and leaving dozens missing as of Wednesday morning, The Associated Press reported, adding the death-toll is expected to rise.
The earthquake's magnitude was between 8.0 and 8.3 and struck the South Pacific islands around dawn on Tuesday, The AP reported.
Survivor's nineteenth and twentieth editions were filmed back-to-back in Samoa over the summer, with the twentieth edition -- which CBS has thus far only formally termed a "10th anniversary edition" but will be an all-stars edition featuring contestants from the reality competition's previous seasons -- finishing filming earlier this month.
"We got back last week. It's a bit of culture shock to go from the islands of Samoa, where people literally are walking around with machetes, to Hollywood, where people are walking around with Emmys, but it is good to be home," Survivor host Jeff Probst told People after his second consecutive Outstanding Reality Host win at last week's Emmy Awards ceremony.
Confirmation that Survivor's twentieth edition would feature an all-stars format had surfaced when original Survivor winner Richard Hatchrequested a leave from his home confinement stint so he could travel to Samoa for approximately seven weeks for a "specific job opportunity" Survivor's producers extended him.
Hatch's July court filing included a copy of a June 23 letter in which Survivor casting director Lynne Spillman had invited Hatch to compete on the twentieth edition and 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 Hatch keep the offer confidential and his filing had requested the court seal his motion from the public, however the request was rejected after the United States Attorney's Office opposed the motion as part of its objection to the Survivor winner's travel request.
However Hatch's filing appeared to substantiate former Survivor: Palau castaway Coby Archa's own claims that the edition would be an all-stars format that would feature a "Heroes vs. Villains" theme and include former contestants who already previously returned for the show's Survivor: All-Stars or Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites editions.
"Yes, obviously I wasn't asked," Archa wrote in July 8 message board posting. "Wouldn't even be talking about this if [Lynne Spillman] would have returned my e-mails lol."