Richard Hatch (Season 1, Survivor: Borneo) — Hatch returned for Survivor: All-Stars (but did not fare very well), and was asked back for both Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains and Survivor: Redemption Island but could not participate in either due to being under house arrest and not being able to get a visa, after he served around five years in prison for tax evasion. Hatch didn’t properly pay taxes on his winnings. He also didn’t return because, well, it’s a different culture now and given how he treated Sue in season one, CBS would rightfully get raked over the coals for having him back.
Tina Wesson (Season 2, Survivor: Outback)— Wesson was actually on the shortlist for Season 40 and producers checked in, but ultimately she didn’t make the cut. The first female winner is still watching the season.
Vecepia Towery (Season 4, Survivor: Marquesas) — The only Black female who has ever won Survivor has apparently never been invited back, either. Since her time on Survivor, however, Vecepia has survived breast cancer twice and remains grateful for the opportunity she had to play the game.
Brian Heidik (Season 5, Survivor: Thailand) — Heidik is a very unpopular winner, and seldom spoken of fondly by anyone, either viewers or other players. He also lied and said he was a used car salesman before he began the game when in fact he was a softcore porn-actor with his then-wife, against whom he had to take out a restraining order the week before the airing of his Survivor finale. In 2006, Heidik was also arrested for shooting a puppy with an arrow.
Jenna Morasca (Season 6, Survivor: The Amazon) — Morasca didn’t return for Winners at War, but she did play in the All Stars season, but left to care for her dying mother. She dated season 3 winner (and current player) Ethan Zohn for several years, playing Amazing Race with him in 2011. Two years ago, however, Morasco was also arrested for DUI and possession after she was discovered passed out in her car and had to be revived with Narcan. She bit the police officer during the ordeal (she was not, according to her, ever charged).
Chris Daugherty (Season 9, Survivor: Vanuatu) — Daugherty worked as a construction worker before his win, and after his win, he apparently went back to Ohio, got married, and continues to work in construction. He was actually a really good winner, very personable, and I’m not sure why production has never invited him back.
Tom Westman (Season 10, Survivor: Palau) — Westman returned for season 20’s Heroes vs. Villains and did OK in an alliance that got decimated early on. He has since retired as a firefighter and he is now a motivational speaker. Probst said that he was in the mix for this season, but there just wasn’t space for everyone.
Aras Baskauskas (Season 12, Survivor: Panama) — Aras also came back for Blood vs. Water along with his brother (who was kind of a dick). Aras now operates a yoga studio in California and released an album under the stage name Odd Us in 2011. He’s doing just fine.
Earl Cole (Season 14, Survivor: Fiji) — Cole says he was invited back for Fans vs Favs, Blood vs Water, Heroes vs Willains, and Game Changers but had to decline due to work. Cole established and runs a nonprofit dedicated to kids with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. He also turned down Winners at War due to a family matter — his newborn daughter had just gotten out of the hospital after an extended three-month stay.
Todd Herzog (Survivor: China) — Todd is one of many Survivor players to have dated other Survivor players (Spencer Duhm, in his case). He suffers from alcoholism and several years ago was intoxicated on Doctor Phil. He seems to be doing very well now, however, and is engaged.
Robert “Bob” Crowley (Season 17, Survivor: Gabon) — Mainer Bob Crowley wrote a book and retired from teaching in 2009. He started a Yurt business locally. Not sure why he wasn’t invited back, but it might have something to do with the fact that the oldest Survivor winner is almost 70 now.
J. T. Thomas, (Season 18, Survivor: Tocantins) — J.T. came back for both Heroes vs. Villains and Game Changers. There’s nothing out there suggesting why he wasn’t asked back, although he has played several times recently and did not fare particularly well in his second and third outings.
Natalie White, (Season 19, Survivor: Samoa) — White, an Arkansas native, won against one of the most notorious players ever, Russell Hantz, and has always been kind of overshadowed by that. Jeff Probst himself has stated that White didn’t deserve the win that season. Since her win, White seems to have mostly withdrawn from public life.
Jud “Fabio” Birza, (Season 21, Survivor: Nicaragua) — The youngest ever Survivor winner, Fabio did some modeling after Survivor. The reason why he may not have been asked back is because he wasn’t a particularly good or compelling player, either. He kind of backed into his victory. This is him, however, on the cover of this Mortal Instrumnents book.
Mike Holloway (Season 30, Survivor: Worlds Apart) — Mike’s been in a relationship with Meg from Big Brother for several years, and he attended the wedding of Survivor players Joe and Seira. I’m not entirely sure why he wasn’t invited back, but several years ago, he did tweet out something Islamophobic that has since been deleted (but it’s the Internet, so it will always be around).
John Cochran — Cochran is probably my all-time favorite Survivor player, and he’s very popular. He’s not back for one reason only: He did not want to come back. Probst said they would have given him a slot, but Cochran feels very good about the way he left the show. “I feel bad saying this but I don’t think that I would [return]. I don’t think I’d do as well. I’m aware of my limitations. I’m aware that I lucked out a lot this time, that a lot of stars aligned, the timing was perfect, everything was great. And I had such a great time in addition to all that. I really enjoyed it.”
Chris Underwood (Season 38, Survivor: Edge of Extinction) — Survivor: Winners at War was already filming when Underwood’s finale aired, and it would have been impossible to add him without telling him that he won his season. I loved Underwood, though. Doing the fire challenge himself remains one of the ballsiest plays ever.
Tommy Sheehan (Season 39, Survivor: Island of the Idols) — Tommy’s win also came too late to be eligible, which is fine by me, because he was the definition of rewarding mediocrity.
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