Reality tough on reality TV alumni

"Survivor's" Richard Hatch guilty of assault; Vegas' tiger canoodlers give a chunk of change to the relief kitty. Plus: New York, Seinfeld's on the way!

By Amy Reiter

Published September 26, 2001 4:56PM (EDT)

Those of you looking to escape reality by turning to reality TV, be warned: Things aren't going so well for denizens of that alterna-world these days either.

Original "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch, for instance, won't be shaking his blurry booty quite so saucily for a little while. On Monday, a judge in Newport, R.I., apparently found Hatch's ends-justify-the-means routine even less charming than TV audiences did and so found him guilty of the domestic assault charges brought against him by his ex-boyfriend Glenn Boyanowski.

Judge Pirraglia sentenced Hatch to one year of probation for allegedly roughing up Boyanowski and pushing him down the stairs during a confrontation in August.

Hatch, however, has vowed not to give up the fight. "It's a ludicrous ruling," he said in a radio interview after the trial, "and I'm not sure what's behind the judge's personal reasons for it, but it's certainly not objective."

But at least Hatch has happy memories of Pulau Tiga to comfort him. Michael Skupin, the boar-butchering contestant who suffered severe burns during the filming of "Survivor II," has apparently emerged relatively unscathed after another brush with death.

According to the Associated Press, Skupin, his wife, Penny, and the couple's 3-year-old daughter had nothing more serious than scratches and bruises on Sunday after a twin-engine plane they were flying in made a crash landing on a rocky stretch of a Lake Michigan beach. The plane's pilot and three other passengers were all OK, too, though the plane itself ended up in pieces.

"It really is an act of God that we just walked away," Skupin told the press on Monday.

"We knew we were going down," Skupin said of the moments after the plane's engines failed. "I prayed the whole time, nonstop. I had a peaceful feeling. ... I just felt, somehow, that we were going to be OK."

Meanwhile, Mark Burnett and his fellow "Survivor" producers have decided to exercise their free will and call off their plans to film the show's fourth installment in the Middle East. Given the recent terrorist attacks, they're apparently thinking it might be a preferable to film it in Tahiti instead.

And no, I don't know if Richard Hatch's probation will allow him to put in a guest appearance.

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Show some emotion

"I don't blame anybody for showing emotion on the air. I don't think I would trust a reporter, male or female, who didn't show any emotion."

-- Walter Cronkite, defending Dan Rather's right to cry, in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Beneficial bits

Talk about finding relief in humor. Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Colin Quinn, Will Ferrell and George Wallace are set to headline a comedy event benefiting the Twin Towers Fund and the New York Police and Fire Widow and Children Benefit Fund. The event, dubbed "Stand Up for New York," will take place at Carnegie Hall in New York on Oct. 8. Tickets, which go on sale this Thursday, range from $100 to $2,500. Sounds like the polar opposite of the show about nothing ...

Joan Rivers might have boycotted, but the celebrities who went ahead and lent their voices to that all-star rendition of Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," recorded over the weekend to raise money to promote racial harmony in the U.S in the aftermath of the attacks, are feeling right proud of themselves. "Right now, while we are all thinking about the victims of the tragedy of Sept. 11, we need to start thinking about the victims that we're going to create right here in our homeland by people who are just so ignorant, filled with hatred and fear," Montel Williams, who coordinated the recording session, told the press. And Jackson Browne added, "It's a relief to have something positive to do in the face of so much hatred, and to have an opportunity to try and make sure we don't go doing what's been done to us."

And a bevy of stars continue to raise money for families of the victims of the attacks. The $150 million in pledges raised so far by last weeks "America: A Tribute to Heroes" telethon is apparently just the beginning. According to the New York Daily News, a CD featuring music from the telethon, which included songs by Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Celine Dion and many others, will be out in the next few weeks. All the artists involved have agreed to forgo their regular fees so that proceeds from the album can go straight to the United Way's specially earmarked fund.

Speaking of Celine Dion, she's apparently dedicating the time she might have spent fighting those scurrilous topless sunbathing reports to headlining a five-hour show in Montreal to raise even more money for the victims of the attacks. The proceeds from the show, which will be held later this week and will include performances by about 200 Quebec artists, will be administered through the Red Cross.

Also raising money for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund: Siegfried & Roy. The illusionists and big cat canoodlers have announced plans to donate their salaries from this Friday's show at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas to the relief efforts. The casino will follow suit with a $1 million donation on behalf of the show's cast and crew. Way to go, tigers.

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

Amy Reiter

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Celebrity Seinfeld Survivor Walter Cronkite