Tonight (Friday, Feb. 22), Discovery’s hit reality series “Gold Rush” ends its third season with a live, two-hour finale coming from a set built in a warehouse in Portland, Ore.
Series executive producer Christo Doyle took some time out from planning for the big finish to answer some questions about the men populating the gold-mining show — especially Todd Hoffman, leader of the show’s first mining crew — and his relationship with them.
On why there’s a live finale:
Doyle: “I opened my dumb mouth at the beginning of the season. I pitched that we do ‘Gold Rush’ live to kick off the season. But it would have been October in the Klondike, and it’s roughly negative 20 degrees there. It just didn’t make all that much sense. So I said, ‘You know what, we’ll just do it at the end of the season.’ And they held me to it.”
On what viewers can expect to see:
Doyle: “Normally in a season finale, we reveal the gold total for each crew, in the actual show. We are going to not be doing that. We are going to be revealing the gold totals live from Portland. The big one is, who hits the motherlode, and do the Hoffmans get the 1,000 ounces that Todd Hoffman told me he was going to get?
“Two, each one of our crews makes a pretty earth-shattering announcement about what they’re doing next season. … It’s kind of a dream come true for us. We have very dynamic story for season four.”
To those who think that the miners do Doyle’s bidding:
Doyle: “I would love to be deciding what the miners do next year. People write on Twitter, ‘Oh, it’s all scripted, blah blah blah.’ I try to take a deep breath and don’t write what I really want to write, and then I say, ‘You know what, if this show was scripted, don’t you think I would have had them find gold in the first season?’
“Todd Hoffman found 14 ounces of gold his first season. That’s pathetic. I can’t tell these guys where to gold mine, because, one, I don’t know where to gold mine, and two, gold mining is not easy. To find gold is much harder than it looks.”
On his on-screen and online feud with Todd Hoffman:
Doyle: “Todd has a lot to say, and he gets under my skin sometimes. Todd and I have a power struggle. Todd thinks he’s in charge of everything. The foundation of our argument is that I’ve always told Todd, ‘Look, dude, you stick to finding the gold; I’ll stick to making the show.’
“When I cross that line, we get into it; when he crosses that line, we get into it. He fancies himself an executive producer, and I fancy myself a gold miner.
“I really like Todd. That’s important to say. We have a lot of respect for each other. I consider him a friend, and like a friend or a brother, you’re going to have some battles.”
On whether teen-age miner Parker Schnabel of the Big Nugget mine is inspiring young people:
Doyle: “Absolutely. Everyone always thinks the youngest generation is lazy. Parker is showing that generation that hard work really gets you somewhere in life. He’s a smart kid.”
On being responsible for bringing miner “Dakota” Fred Hurt and his son, Dustin — a k a “The Dakota Boys” — together:
Doyle: “I think the show is. I don’t know if I am. Fred Hurt has had a lot of tragedy in his life recently. How many guys you know that are 70-some years old, that are retiring to gold mine in Alaska? That’s what he’s doing.
“Fred asked Dustin to join him and be a part of this thing. It’s pretty cool that it’s brought them together. Last season, they fought a lot, and this season, they didn’t. They worked it out. If the show can help those two get along, I’m all for it.”