Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gold Rush Alaska on Discovery Channel: Behind the Scenes

Gold Rush Alaska is Discovery Channel's latest foray into Reality TV. It's a show about gold fever infecting a group of down-on-their-luck naively religious people who think they can accomplish anything with prayer and hard work. North to Alaska with heavy machinery, let's git that gold!

The show was filmed last summer and is now airing on Discovery Channel through early 2011. I recently mined the Internet and dug up these behind-the-scenes Internuggets:

The Glory Hole - Miner Jimmy Dorsey blogs about his experience on the show with brutal honesty:
Beaver (not Gold) Fever at the mine…(episode 4)

"Filming was cumbersome as the crew’s morale continued to sink. Leadership could not be expected from the production company as the camera crew was experiencing the same treatment as I was from Todd. My relationship to Todd was deteriorating at a incredible pace and tension was peaking with Greg Remsberg. I ended up staying away from Greg as he kept slapping my ass and saying inappropriate statements to me. All of us were getting sick. I started building an outhouse.

The days consisted of reading scripts written by someone back at the editing suite and cutting new scenes to help the first two episodes. More power plays between all of the men for camera time and who gets to use the tools or who drives what truck was getting old. Lunches mainly consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or leftover bear surprise accompanied with Giardia infested Tang."


Heather Lende is a resident writer and blogger from Haines, Alaska, nearest town to the filming location. Lende reviews each episode with friends and family, including juicy local flavor from those in the know:
Gold Rush Alaska, Episode III

"Overall, the men tend to think the show is entertaining, but the women are not as amused. There were fewer man hugs this time. Tensions were high especially between Jimmy Dorsey and Todd Hoffman. (There is a fight coming that we know about because that was in the paper this summer after they called Trooper Josh, who suspected it was staged for the show, and wouldn't let them film him talking to them. Roger thinks the fight is real, but that's leaping ahead to a future episode, no doubt."

Gold Rush Alaska II

"We all agreed that 90 year-old gold miner John Schnabel (the neighbor) stole the show, that the scenery was great, and the bear phobia was kind of funny. A few times (okay, a lot) I questioned reality, especially the whole grab the guns and chase the bears out of camp part. (They did not seem to know a black bear from a brown bear, which they called grizzly bears, something we don't do here. Coastal grizzlies are brown bears.) But then Chip reminded me that it is television. It's a show. It is entertainment not a documentary."

Gold Rush Alaska, A Local Review

"Last summer the Discovery Channel filmed the Hoffman family and friends from Sandy, Oregon attempting to gold mine in Haines, up near the former (and long gone) gold rush town of Porcupine, about thirty miles out the road from Main Street on the Porcupine River. They set up camp on a claim across the creek from 90-year-old John Schnabel 's Big Nugget mine with, it seems, more hope of striking media gold than the real thing. We watched the show with his son Roger and Roger's wife Nancy, (who are our daughter JJ's godparents) Krista, a reporter for the Chilkat Valley News, Pizza Joe, and Kim, a longtime resident who runs a daycare. It was about 10 degrees and blowing snow, but my husband grilled moose burgers on the back porch."

Made-for-TV miners make debut Friday
- Tom Morphet provides this spoiler in the Chilkat Valley News:
John Schnabel, a Porcupine miner for 25 years, said he heard the Hoffmans’ crew found 16 ounces of gold, or about $20,000 worth.

"They were more interested in making a movie than they were in finding gold," Schnabel said. "They didn’t get their machinery going until afternoon and sometimes not until evening. They had cameras going all over the place."

newsminer.com - Made-for-TV Alaska mining venture promotes gold rush mentality
"The marketing plan for the show plays up gold fever, which is not good for the image of the mining industry in Alaska...

...The mining took place on property where there is some gold, but probably not enough to support seven families and a big investment, according to a veteran placer miner quoted in the Haines newspaper in July."


Anonymous said...

I watched the whole soap opera and was amazed that not once anyone had anything to say about the disaster that took place at this mining site: a stream bed diverted and destroyed, erosion, destruction of wildlife habitat, and contamination of ground water. In my mind this show has not ended until everyone involved has restored this site to its natural state! Discovery Channel should be sued for this kind of reckless behaviour. What a tragedy!

John Moore said...

I couldn't agree more...It's insane what those losers are doing to the environment, all in search of a little gold. The true dollar value that should be discussed, is the value associated with destroying the ecosystem and Mother Nature. The premise of this show is disgusting.

zigzzagz said...

That's what gold mining does to the environment. You've got to break a few eggs to make an omlett. They should be restricted to doing as little damage as possible though, but you can't expect things to be the same a they were before. That goes for any type of mining or industry, but we need the work and the products so what can you do.

That being said, this lot sounds like a bunch of clowns. It seems they're just mucking about and trying to mine discovery channel reality show cash, and the gold is just the way they decided was the best way to do that. So basically under that theory, the area is a filming site and the gold mine is no more than a prop. In that instance they should absolutely return the site and any damage they caused to the condition it was in before they arrived.

Anonymous said...

You bunch of cry babies !! The environment? Please I bet you all have gold jewelry in your house somewhere! How do you think that was made ? From thin air ... Get a life you tree huggers

Anonymous said...

Tree huggers? Why dont you live on a land fill if you dont like trees faggot.

Anonymous said...

ANYTHING for a goddamned dollar! It's not just Gold Rush, it's the plethora of other shows on other channels showing the extermination of animals. Is THIS what we've become? We call THIS *entertainment*?? I'm sorry but we should be getting MORE civilized...not LESS. Anyone who is *entertained* by this dross will burn in hell for it..

Goldless said...

" Anonymous said...
You bunch of cry babies !! The environment? Please I bet you all have gold jewelry in your house somewhere! How do you think that was made ? From thin air ... Get a life you tree huggers

January 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM "

I don't have gold in the house :/