Survivor: Russell Hantz’s Top 100 Greatest Survivors Ever (10-1)

Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /
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Survivor: Richard Hatch
Richard Hatch arrives at the CBS “Survivor” 10 Year Anniversary Party (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) /

5. Richard Hatch (Borneo, All-Stars)

There’s no Survivor without Richard Hatch. Period.

I could end Richard’s section with just those two sentences, but obviously I’m going to give him his due diligence because he’s the original king of Survivor, winning the first ever season and inventing a key aspect of the show that’s now common knowledge known as alliances.

When the 16 castaways set forth for Borneo in 2000, no one knew what to expect. People were voting people off based off of various reasons, but strategy was not one of them. Richard immediately formed an alliance of him, Rudy, Sue, and Kelly, which was half of the Tagi tribe and therefore gave them the majority after the first vote.

These four stuck together after the merge, at least in the early votes, and picked off the former Pagong members one by one. Richard and his Tagi alliance are responsible for why Pagonging is a common term in Survivor these days.

I’m a little surprised that Richard isn’t ranked higher simply because of him winning the first ever season and setting the bar for how the game should be played. He was playing a cutthroat game before anyone knew that was how to be played.

Richard was eliminated early on All-Stars due to being a former winner and he was slated to be included on Winners at War, but was removed from the cast list due to what had transpired between him and Sue Hawk in All-Stars, as the Dan Spillo removal in Island of the Idols had just occurred and it wouldn’t have been a good look.

Had Richard been on Winners at War, however, he surely would have been an early target for his legacy alone. All I have to say is “I’ve been bamboozled!”