It’s been a long while since “Gold Rush” premiered in 2010 on Discovery, but surprisingly the show’s popularity hasn’t died down regardless of the years, and spawning a long list of spin-offs and special episodes throughout the years.
However, just like gold mining, the reality TV genre isn’t exactly the most stable to work in, especially when it comes to sticking with the same people all along. “Gold Rush” is no exception to this rule, having left behind many of its famous stars including Todd Hoffman, who was one of the show’s original cast members before his exit in the eighth season.
While recent rumors about Todd Hoffman being cast in a new mining series have awakened his fans’ hopes of seeing him on their TV screens again, is that really true or are these speculations unfounded? Is there any chance of him returning to “Gold Rush”? Keep with us to know it all!
Will Todd Have His Own Show?
It’s been a while since Todd Hoffman left “Gold Rush” in 2017, and we know for sure you’ve missed seeing him on your TV screen. So it’s good news to say that Todd is returning to television with his own show “Hoffman Family Gold”, set to premiere in late March 2022.
Though his new series counts as a spin-off from the original “Gold Rush”, some important details set it apart from it. For starters, the regular “Gold Rush” cast won’t make an appearance in it, as the show’s focus will mainly be on Todd, his father Jack and son Hunter, in addition to Jim Thumber, who was a safety officer in “Gold Rush” before leaving in the eighth season, and new faces such as Andy Spinks and Randy Hubler.
Another important change to expect from “Hoffman Family Gold” is in its production company, choosing to be with Pilgrim Media and ZUM Media instead of with Raw Television, which has been producing “Gold Rush” since its beginning.
Todd’s mission in “Hoffman Family Gold” isn’t simple though. After being away from the mining business for several years, he’s needed to turn around a remote mine operation which has been spiraling down for a while. All of this while facing the upcoming winter conditions, a lack of financial resources, and trying to ensure his family’s future.
What Happened To “Gold Rush”?
Now that you know Todd and the family Hoffman are returning to TV after so long, you might be wondering what happened to “Gold Rush”, and if this new show is hinting at an upcoming cancellation.
Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about. By the time “Hoffman Family Gold” premiered in late March 2022, 12 “Gold Rush” seasons had aired, the last wrapping up early in the month. Moreover, the possibility of a renewal later in the year is quite strong, especially considering how successful the franchise still is, despite how long it’s been on air.
To make matters more interesting, the “Gold Rush” especial “The Dirt: The Hoffman Story” aired in October 2021 as a tease for the upcoming Hoffman show. The three-episode long special was centered on the family’s revived operation 316 Mining, which was set up in 2013 but was inactive for quite some time. All in all, it seems that the “Gold Rush” franchise is doing as well as ever.
Why Did Todd Leave “Gold Rush”?
After being in “Gold Rush” for eight seasons, no one really expected Todd Hoffman and his father Jack to leave permanently, even though they had good reasons to do so. As Todd admitted through the special “Gold Rush: Live”, his decision to say goodbye was influenced by several factors, including how the show had taken ‘a toll’ on his family’s dynamic, due to the long and harsh filming times.
Although Todd assured he ‘wasn’t done mining’, his focus was far away from Alaska at the time, as he was mostly interested in pursuing his singing career. While this professional choice might sound unlikely for a miner as tough as Todd, everyone who had been carefully following him through the years knew his artistic aspirations were well placed. Since 2015 Todd had already been sharing singing sessions on his YouTube channel, even accumulating over 14 million views of his 2017’s video cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s song “The Sound of Silence”.
Moreover, in 2016 Todd co-founded Gold Standard TV with Jose Behar, producer of TNT’s series “The Librarians”. Nowadays the company goes by the name of ZUM Media and is apparently partially in charge of producing “Hoffman Family Gold”, making it clear that his choice to pursue a career in entertainment was pretty logical.
Besides his stint as a producer and singer, Todd also started his podcast “The Hoffman Report”, and the merchandise website 316 Mining Prints And Apparel.
The Hoffman Family: Who Are They?
Though you know them thanks to “Gold Rush”, you’re probably still missing a huge amount of information about the Hoffmans.
Starting with Todd, many people might remember that he wasn’t an expert miner at all. From the show’s premiere in 2010, Todd was sincere about his lack of experience, not only in managing a mining operation, but also admitting to being a total rookie when it came to getting his hands dirty to find the precious gold.
That being said, Todd learned his way in gold digging throughout the years, even if in the process he committed several mistakes, such as leading his team to a failed season in Guyana.
As Todd admitted in 2018, he joined mining as a dreamer, and despite the difficulties, he has been well compensated both in experience and financially, by digging up ‘almost $10 million in gold’.
Todd’s father Jack was one of the few people in his son’s team who actually knew about mining, even though he wasn’t that successful at it in the past, and had been away from a gold operation for several decades by the time he debuted in “Gold Rush”. Hunter is also quite new to the mine, more used to designing for his clothing brand, as seen on his social media. However, he has been on board “Hoffman Family Gold” since the start, giving his best to contribute to the family’s business.
What Other Spin Offs Have Aired So Far?
Despite not being the most knowledgeable miner in “Gold Rush”, Todd Hoffman’s will and enthusiasm to strike gold gained him the hearts of a huge part of the audience.
Knowing that, it’s not surprising his return to TV and mining was welcomed with open arms by his fans.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the first time that the “Gold Rush” franchise has hit the jackpot with a well-thought out spin-off. Here are some of the most successful ones so far:
More than a spin-off, “The Dirt” is more of a series of special episodes showcasing behind the scenes shots, exclusive interviews, and even social media features.
Though what makes “Gold Rush” special is its emphasis on the mining teams’ struggles, “The Dirt” is a welcomed addition to the franchise for giving the audience a deeper insight into what the cast is up to when cameras are off, leaving behind the toughest part of their life to focus on their simpler and more normal human side. Since its premiere in 2012, “The Dirt” has premiered uncountable episodes, including “Pay Dirt”, “Home Edition” during the pandemic and “The Hoffman Story”.
The latter gave us one of the most memorable moments in the series, when Todd Hoffman admitted that he didn’t trust his former co-star and talented miner Parker Schnabel.
This is a continuation of a years-long feud between the two miners, whose rivalry in the past hasn’t been forgotten: ‘I remember when Parker started saying some things about me. Things that you see afterward, you see them play out, and you don’t wanna get into that TV stuff’, he said in “The Hoffman Story”.
Despite it being only a hour-long single episode, “The Jungle” is definitely one of the most popular of “Gold Rush”s spin-offs. Premiered in August 2012, “The Jungle” followed Todd Hoffman as he and his crew adventured into Guyana’s wilderness for the chance of digging up a fortune in gold, or returning home empty-handed.
Unsurprisingly, Hoffman’s endeavor wasn’t successful enough. Initially, the team planned on only following the leads to a gold claim they were told was big enough to guarantee them a fortune if they explored it, but they were disappointed to find that the first place they explored wasn’t the right one. After being forced to leave, Hoffman’s team found the right claim, and saw that they weren’t lied to about its potential, but they were ultimately deterred from setting an operation there due to the high costs.
Regardless of having to deliver the bad news back home, the trip was an entertaining adventure for any keen “Gold Rush” fan.
Gold Rush: South America
While the short-stint in South America was expected to discourage Todd Hoffman, he wasn’t going to give up that easily. That’s why he enrolled in a second adventure, featured in the spin-off “Gold Rush: South America”, premiered in August 2013.
The six-episode long mini-series shows Hoffman’s mining explorations in Peru, Chile and Guyana. Despite having previously explored some of the latter country’s mines, Hoffman gave it another chance, only to find that the explorations there were mainly unprofitable. Nonetheless, other challenges such as Peru’s very competitive mining business, and Chile’s harsh weather conditions, made this second trip worth watching for the audience, but above all, a life’s lesson-learning experience for Hoffman: ‘You have to find some way to take that fear and realize, if I don’t get over this, I’m never going to take that step out’, as he told Men’s Journal back then.
Considering how wildly popular Parker Schnabel is, it’s unsurprising his own series went on the same path. Premiered in 2017 as a four-season mini-series, “Parker’s Trail” originally followed Parker’s and Rick Ness’ daring adventure on the Klondike Trail, the same legendary place where the 1987’s gold rush started.
True to the trail’s fame, Parker and his team faced a lot of difficulties, such as terrible weather and the risk of hypothermia, while trying the same path up the Yukon River walked by over 100,000 prospectors almost two centuries ago.
While the experience was tough and probably the wildest one lived by Parker and his team at the time, the next year saw Parker enrolling in another adventure, but this time to Guyana. There his attempts to find the so-called “El Dorado” put him and his team at risk when not only nature and wilderness got in their way, but a land dispute turned his arrival at the Marudi’s mines into a lost endeavor.
A third season saw Parker going further away, to explore Papua New Guinea in order to find his late grandfather’s trail in the country. Finally the fourth “Parker’s Trail” season, premiered in 2020, showed Parker’s new operation in Australia, where he was joined by the cast of the also mining-focused show “Aussie Gold Hunters”. All in all, it has been not only a wild experience for Parker, but also a successful experiment for the “Gold Rush” franchise.
Dave Turin’s Lost Mine
Many long-time “Gold Rush” fans remember Dave Turin from the early seasons, as he was a vital part of Todd Hoffman’s crew. While his expertise in the mining business greatly helped Todd in achieving his goals, Dave ultimately left the show in 2017 due to personal problems with a crew member.
Many people missed seeing Dave in the show, but he surprisingly returned with his 2019 spin-off “Dave Turin’s Lost Mine”, which followed him as he explored some of the most potentially profitable mines in the US. Visiting places such as Yukon, Nevada, Virginia and Arizona, Dave’s expertise ended up helping to resurrect many of those mines.
The following years saw the next two “Dave Turin’s Lost Mine” seasons go by, though the last season was shadowed by the death of the well-liked crew member Jesse Goins, who was found unconscious near the show’s set, and later pronounced dead. The episode entitled “Forged in Fire” was premiered in Jesse’s honor.
Is “Gold Rush” Real?
Whether a reality show is indeed real or not is a question every fan of the genre has asked themselves at least once. “Gold Rush” has also been the subject of this type of questioning, especially after the show’s former miner, Jimmy Dorsey affirmed that the show was edited to portray the cast in ways untrue to the real them: ‘It’s scripted from the beginning. They knew exactly what they wanted to see out of the program’, he told the Oregon Gold. after leaving in the first season.
Regardless of Jimmy’s words, the impact of “Gold Rush” is undeniable. Whether it’s the cast, their experiences or situations, the show’s uncanny ability of feeding the gold fever fantasy makes the show’s success easily explained.