If you’ve been keeping tabs on Survivor, or really even if you haven’t, news broke a while back the upcoming series would be bringing a lot of popular contenders for its upcoming “Survivor: Winners At War” edition. Among the lengthy list, one name is notably missing and that would be none other than Season 1 champ Richard Hatch.
Obviously, Richard Hatch has had a bit of a storied past, but Survivor host Jeff Probst did confirm that every former winner on the show was at least given a curtesy call, but he did also reveal that Hatch being Hatch was maybe why he won’t be back. Per Probst:
I don’t know if we didn’t ask him because I think we called every single winner about returning, and the fact that he was the first is a fair point. But the bigger consideration was ‘Where is the show now?’ and ‘Do these 20 winners represent the show today?’ In that sense, we didn’t feel that Rich fit into the equation.
Richard Hatch has been a reality show figure for years, winning Survivor and also competing on Celebrity Apprentice, not to mention popping up in stints on The Biggest Loser and Family Feud. In some ways he’s a quintessential Survivor player, but in other ways, Jeff Probst told US Magazine the reality contestant’s past history on the show has been fraught.
For example, there was that time Richard Hatch returned to Survivor in 2004 and had to be asked to leave after running a challenge naked.
Given his history on our show, it did not seem appropriate. We were in a different time and different culture back then and we would never let him run a challenge naked now. Looking back on it, it just didn’t seem to fit. It’s not a slam against Richard Hatch. He’s just being Richard Hatch.
Then there’s the fact that Richard Hatch has been in trouble with the law in recent years, notably thanks to tax issues related to his winnings on Survivor. Hatch spent time in jail in 2006, 2009 and 2011 for allegedly not paying taxes on his winnings.
All of these things led to the decision to not bring Hatch back for one more round on the CBS reality competition series, as Jeff Probst also noted in the interview that Survivor is trying to “inspire kids” this season, also mentioned he “didn’t feel comfortable” about bringing back Richard Hatch given the parameters.
Survivor will, however, be bringing back 20 previous champions. This includes Boston Rob, Kim Spradlin-Wolfe, Natalie Anderson and many, many more.
Jeff Probst, outside of these comments, has seemed really excited about the upcoming season and has even shared his two cents regarding who he is most excited to see compete.
Survivor: Winners At War has already filmed and is scheduled to hit CBS very soon, with a premiere on February 12 at 8 p.m. ET. To find out more about what is headed to the schedule this winter, take a look at our full guide to premieres and returns.