It’s been the top rated show on the Discovery Channel for 69 episodes – drawing such a consistently vast audience that a pre-show program titled The Dirt was introduced to deliver extra footage and interviews – and now, Gold Rush is heading back to our screens with more crews, more gold, more drama and, presumably, even more viewers.
Following a variety of mining teams as they dig for gold placer deposits, the reality series has followed the teams on mining expeditions through Alaska, Klondike (Yukon, Canada) and Guyana (South America) over the years. Now, as season five begins, some crews are reaping the rewards of good fortune, while others are facing the harsh consequences of bad choices.
When it first aired in 2010, the series followed six men from Oregon choosing to tackle the economic downturn by travelling to Porcupine Creek, Alaska to dig for gold. With little or no experience, they had to learn on the job, but now, five years on, it’s a whole new ball game.
From the Discovery Channel press release:
“This season, everything has changed – new miners, new claims, new machines and new ways to pull gold out of the ground. But, will big risks lead to even bigger rewards?
Returning this season is 20 year old Parker Schnabel who proved himself in only his rookie season mining the Klondike – raking in over 1,000 ounces of gold, worth $1.4 million. Parker is taking off his ‘training wheels’ this year, setting an unprecedented goal of 2,000 ounces, worth more than $2.5 million… If Parker can hit his lofty goal, he could be on his way to becoming a Klondike legend. If not, it will become clear that his first season was simply a stroke of luck.”
Competing with Schnabel in the gold mining game is Todd Hoffman – still reeling from some bad decision-making in season four:
“Last season, Todd Hoffman rolled the dice and fell flat on his face. He hit rock bottom after braving the jungles of Guyana, South America, in an attempt to make a fortune… This year, Todd is back at square one… Will he rise from the ashes and turn things around? Or will this be the season that Todd throws in the towel once and for all? One thing is for certain – Todd will not go down without a fight.”
Taking an entirely different strategy is ‘The Viking,’ Tony Beets:
Meanwhile, Tony Beets and his crew dive in full-time to take on the unthinkable. Tony… buys a million dollar, 75 year old floating gold dredge. But to resurrect the gold catching monster, he needs to take it apart, piece by piece. The 210-foot dredge hasn’t been used in over 30 years, and is a risky proposition. Can The Viking resurrect the machine capable of pulling millions out of the ground, or will he be left with 1,000 metal pieces of junk?”
As an audience, our fascination with extreme vocation based reality shows, such as Gold Rush, is seemingly unending, and is perhaps centred on the fact that these individuals are taking their fate into their own hands. At a time when average families are dealing with financial strain and struggle, the idea of a person uprooting their life to pursue a dangerous career that has the potential to be highly lucrative, is a romantic notion indeed. But, romantic though it sounds, these miners are determined in their work and aspirational in their nature – and that’s why they have such a large fan following.
Gold Rush makes its triumphant return on October 17th at 9pm ET/PT on Discovery Channel. No top rated reality show would be worth a nugget of gold without its lead-in pre-show program, though, and host Christo Doyle tends to that need with the return of The Dirt – going behind-the-scenes with our favourite miners and showing never-before seen footage – at 8pm ET/PT, just before the Gold Rush season premiere.