Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People is not canceled. Why?

Alaskan Bush People Ryan Berenz

Do the Alaskan Bush People get paid? We asked! Read our interview with the Brown family.

Alaskan Bush People Season 1 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | The Wild Life

Season 2 Recaps: Episode 1 | Episode 2Episode 3 | Episode 4Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8  | Wild Times | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13 | Episode 14 | SHARK WEEK! | Episode 15 | Episode 16 | Lost Footage | The Wild Year

NEW! Is Alaskan Bush People Fake? Does It Matter?

Alaskan Bush People
There were a lot of things about Discovery Channel’s unscripted series Alaskan Bush People that didn’t pass the smell test. Now there’s more foul air surrounding the Brown family, and it’s very likely we’ve seen the last of them on TV.


Commenter Talkeetnachris tipped us to this:

Billy brown was just charged with stealing over $13000 filing fraudulent PFD claims in Alaska. His near life will be in prison. A few other family members were also charged. This guy and his family are frauds. I have lived off the road system for years and these people won’t last a year. You have to be self sufficient. Hell, I even had to stitch a band cut on my leg once. Many of these shows only have entertainment value with no real practical lessons on what really living on your own is about.

Many commenters doubted that the Browns were actually living off the land, as the show depicted. Instead, it appears the Browns may have been living off of fraudulent Alaskan Permanent Fund Dividend applications. According to Anchorage’s KTUU, patriarch “Billy Brown alone faces 24 felony counts and is accused of illegally obtaining $13,080 in dividend cash for himself and others. The charges do not describe why investigators believe the Brown family was not eligible for the dividends that some members received between 2010 and 2013.” Also indicted were five of Billy’s seven children: Amora Jean Snowbird, Joshua “Bam Bam,” Gabriel “Gabe,” Solomon “Bear” and Noah.

This will come as disappointing news to the many fans of the show who appreciated the Browns’ family values and the off-the-grid lifestyle that they claimed to represent. The credibility of Discovery Channel and Park Slope Productions has to be questioned, as they apparently weren’t diligent about checking the Browns’ backgrounds (even before these indictments came to light) and then aired a special episode with the family defending their authenticity. And personally, recapping Alaskan Bush People has been great fun, and I’m going to miss writing about it and reading all of your comments.

I’m so mad, I could punch a fish.

Update: Get this. Discovery Channel says they are “currently filming new episodes.” From the Alaska Dispatch News:

Stair said that between October 2009 and August 2012, the family did not meet the “physical presence requirement” to receive PFDs. This means the state believes the family spent more than 180 days a year living outside of Alaska and lied about it on their applications, Stair said.

Sean Martin, director of communications at Discovery Channel, wrote in an email Thursday that “we don’t divulge our actual shoot dates, so cannot let you know when filming concluded on season one, but can confirm that we are currently filming new episodes, but have not announced those air dates yet.”

I don’t even…



  1. This “family” does not live in “the bush.” They are staying in a lodge in Hoonah, AK – a small island community near Juneau. They are carted around town by locals, hired by the production crew, to take them everywhere they need to go – like the grocery store, where we see them almost every day. They boat down the bay about 30 minutes away, film, and then come back to town. The only “reality” to this show is that these people are filming their show in Alaska. Period.

    • So Hoonah Steve, What is the verdict in Hoonah? What are the locals saying and how do they feel? Where do they live when not filming? Do tell Please!

      • What I mean when “not filming” is when they are not filming for the season and it’s a “Wrap” where are they living? Are they only in the lodge while filming? Sorry for all the questions but would like the “local” info.

        • Most locals think they’re a joke. As to where they are really from and where they go when not filming – I don’t know. Most of us avoid them like the plague, for fear of being part of a mockery of what it is really like to live and work in SE Alaska.

  2. What really ticked me off was the cabin building/trapper shack episode. They need a generator and barter, barter, barter! The generator they are bartering for is a broken down looking 5000 watter or something with a rusted frame. The generator Gabe loads into the SUV after all the bartering looks like a Honda EU Series portable! Brand new will run you about $1000 or so and they walk off with it for a cord of wood that may cost about $300 delivered depending where you live! Then last night on the season premier they walk off with two working boats, a cabin cruiser and a s weet looking 24ft or 26 ft Osprey fisherman model with a ton of Navigation gear all from doing odd jobs in Ketchikan for a few months of putting money in a jar! There are ten year old Osprey Fisherman models in BoatTrader right now running about $40,000. Either the producers are totally ignorant or they just script this together whether it is believable or not and take us for fools! I have also read the oldest son was in episodes of Bering Sea Gold. The rest of the new season will go like this, They will finally get to where they are going with mishaps on the way, then Ami Browns rotting teeth will get so bad they will have to pull stakes and go back to Ketchikan because if they don’t she will die! Mark my words! Yes Sir!

  3. The Brown Family is not fake. The reality tv show is not fake. Reality TVs exist. The family exists. They are not figments of your imagination.

    That being said, I am not stating that what you are watching is a documentary on these people’s lives. Don’t be so incredibly naive.

    As in any Reality TV show, much of it is scripted. Events are often re-enacted. The timeline is often skewed. Clips are reused and rearranged in order to prevent a certain cohesive and more interesting narrative. Sometimes producers are outright lying. This is true of essentially every reality tv show. Even shows like Top Chef play serious games with the order of events and the timelines being portrayed. People’s comments are often edited and re-worked in order to make episodes more suspenseful as well. This is the nature of the show.

    Parts of the show will be about things that might have actually occurred – reality is often stranger than fiction – but parts of it will likely be completely from the minds of the production team. The TV Shows that are about the day to day operations of a mine or feature a contest will amp up the drama while filming what really happens as often as they can. The less “events” that you can count on to film, the more shenanigans you will find with development. By the time they are filming, they have a lot at stake. The channel will not simply take a bath on a show because life wasn’t naturally exciting that day. These people are real. The shows are real. The events they depict might not be real. Even when they are based on reality, they are re-worked enough to be effectively unrecognizable by the time they air.

    If you want to hate on what you see on the show, aim that hate at Discovery or the real people who put the show together. They are the ones playing mind games with those of you who are stupid enough to want to believe what you see in their channels. This family is full of real people and real people often face hardships and do what they can to survive. That sometimes ends up meaning fraud of criminal behavior is a part of their lives. You can judge them for breaking the law. That is fair game, especially this law in particular – Alaskans take this issue very seriously. Please don’t extend that hate into pure idiocy, however. Anyone who is prepared to debate whether or not this show or the people on it are “real” is a total moron.

    • How about the part where they claimed that they were being shot at by locals and that it wasn’t safe to live in the Copper Basin anymore? Yeah, I’m a local and these people and their producers are pathological liars.

        • That’s the theory isn’t it. When they were filming I was always wondering why they were down in Chitina when everyone knew they were actually behind the Grizzly a few miles south of Copper Center. If you can find a fact in any part of this show (besides the clans names) I’m impressed with your abilities as a journalist.

  4. I like the first season a lot. This is only the first episode for the 2nd season and it’s bugging me that they have NO money. I can’t believe they have NO money because the show must be paying them a good deal of money to follow them around. I wish reality TV would just give it up already. NO MORE STUPID REALITY TV PLEASE!!!!

    • This issue pops up a lot with poor people who have now landed a tv show. Every single second season of every “reality” show ever would be about what it is like to suddenly have money and be famous. The producers are the ones who are specifically not allowing the money they have paid the stars of the show to make an appearance on the show itself. They make a very clear decision to try to keep the show as close to its original concept as possible. If every reality show was honest, the shows would be about how dramatically their lives have changed since they began their tv shows. Do you actually want every reality tv show to be about what it is like to be on reality tv? That meta tv experience is not interesting or unique. Discovery isn’t interested in that, and if you are honest with yourself, neither are you.

  5. We live in the “boonies” but CAN drive to our house. One doesn’t have to be dropped from space into the woods to be considered living in the bush. It amazes me at how many experts on “bush Living” are giving their comments. When they shoot off, it’s easy to tell that the closest these fools have ever been to living in the woods is when they fall down in somebodies flower bed and can’t get out. Stupid talk!!!

  6. Hey, I know it all seems real and they probably really do live in the subdivision mentioned in the newspapers, but at least it is better than “Naked and Afraid.” What a complete waste of time and money. Talk about idiots. Hey I live in the country myself and I love the outdoors but why would I want to have my naked body exposed for the world to see? At least the Bush People wear clothes.

  7. I do enjoy most of this show but what upsets me is the lack of medical and dental care. I realize that the cost might be an issue but, surely they have received compensation for last years shows. Now the mother has serious health issues with her teeth and the oldest daughter should also have dental care. Our family have been living on our homestead for 35 years now and although we are not completely off grid there is always a lot of work to keep ourselves going strong. I see too many “soft” looking hands with this family. I realize that most of it is played out for TV so I will enjoy it as entertainment.

    • What I can’t stand about this show, it is all a bunch of lies and made up encounters. when the brown’s boat was in trouble they said they where close to Meyer’s Chuck and they show them coming into our Dock here in Coffman Cove. Then the Brown’s Trespassed on Private land and went a camped there and pooped there, they had a gun with them to protect them from bears that aren’t here. they camped right next to the city harbor parking lot. WE have a nice RV and Camping park in our town we have a rest room at the city dock parking lot which is kept clean daily. I was going fishing the next morning and encountered Bear Brown running on our dock as though he was on fire , I asked him to stop and he just kept on running. We true Alaskans take pride in where we live , we live and help the community improve. Coffman Cove has 150 residence it is located in rual Alaska. The other show that has been filmed here is Axe Men, it is all Scripted it Makes all loggers look bad. we didn’t log that way when Ketchikan Pulp Co or Valentine Logging was here! Please quit show these people. If you want to know about Alaska Come up and see it for yourself!

      • thank you so much for that info knowing you are from the area of the filming. i knew the show was all staged but its better to hear it from a person who actually lives there. im sorry that reality tv has given your people and home places a bad name.

      • That makes me sad, I literally watched the season 2 premiere and fell in love. Bear and Bam are my favorites… Are the accusations of pretty much the entire cast, true? I hope not…

        • Total farce. Bear, “I can see houses over there” can only see more mountains. Chitina is about 5 miles from where he said it, on the other side of a mountain.

    • I find it very odd that they would barter Dental work with “spawned” salmon! Everyone knows you leave spawned salmon alone and let them live out their lives and finish the cycle and replenish the stocks plus the meat is no where near as good as salmon that has not spawned. If I was the Dentist I would have been absolutely insulted that I bartered dental work for somebody’s loved one and then they bring me spawned salmon! Ridiculous! But I will keep watching just to laugh and pick it apart off my DVR so I don’t have to watch the commercials which is what Discovery would rather I do anyway!

  8. Hey just because they live out side does not mean they are not clean. God you people they aren’t frigging cave men. I like the show. I live the outdoors. I am a wilderness enthusiast. If I could I would live out side all the time. Lay off and leave them alone. So what if it’s fake. At least it’s not some stupid city resort enter drama rules their lives…

    • Reality shows where it’s nothing but boyfriend girlfriend drama it’s all stupid. Live a little. We aren’t all rich. Some of us have lost it all and work like crazy for the rest of our lives to gain it back

    • Yes myia,sure as hell beats real housewives of ny,la,atlanta.with people that are addicted to more and more,the only way to stop that is to relize you have enough right now.i love the show if anything they live within there meens ,which is a breath of fresh air.

    • I know, I’ll show up with a camera crew in your neighborhood and make you appear to be hostile, ignorant and backward by lying about you while turning a few quick bucks. When you complain, Ill just tell you not to watch the show. Problem solving for the simple minded.

  9. Dad says “no one can stop the Browns” one has to..they will destroy themselves from within… NO ONE will EVER procreate with them & live like that! Lol…Hence, no more Browns to carry on the ‘legacy’..

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only one that had a problem with this show. The first time I watched it, I was really high so I thought my mind was playing tricks in me. Now I know this show is some kind of scam. Can’t wait for season 2 lol!

  11. Not being sarcastic, but if they have a “bush” med for the womens/girls “time of month” they need to let us all in on it….FOR REAL

    • lol, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of that. It would be miserable. But I guess if the discovery crew is there, maybe they just stay whereever they are

  12. I like the show. I can see a few discredited things during the show but I’m sure the cameramen can’t catch everything and they have to recreate some things that happened. The only thing i really question is how can one family catch that much bad luck. I’d like to know the time frame from forest episode to last one

  13. Thank God some people are smarter than the discovery channel gives them credit. These people are so fake and are using the system I never see the father doing anything, he wants others to provide all they need. I hope this reality(not) doesn’t last.

  14. They seem too clean and well groomed to be living in the bush, all that beautiful hair for one. And the accent and dialect seem only to affect the brothers and they didn’t get it from the parents and the sisters don’t have it either.

  15. I very much enjoy this show.

    I’ve lived in Alaska while in the Navy. It’s a big state with vastly different climate and requirements depending where you are. It is clear to me that a person from Texas considers 5 acres in the Copper River valley to be “bush” living and so would I, compared to Texas or Anchortown. You can find worse; somewhere along the Yukon River upstream or down from Galena for instance (I’ve been there, too).

    My wife and I noticed that Boy Scouts would in some cases be better prepared; but that’s the POINT I think — how exciting is it going to be to have a highly prepared family doing everything right and not having any problems to solve?

    Alaska’s “bush” is pretty much anything not Anchorage or Fairbanks or Juneau; if you have no electricity and no flush toilet it’s “bush” but on the other hand some people have very stringent definitions that include you can get to it without a float plane, or there’s roads, it is not “bush”.

    It is more of an attitude than a place; a desire to be free of social fetters, doing but not being told what to do. Considerable risk comes from that choice.

  16. LOL, what a lying sack of shit who wrote this article. Now he looks like a complete and utter fool. Notice he put update new season January 2nd..LOL! No buddy, you failed!

  17. Where do they take baths and the one I want to know the most is where do they keep their change of clothes? They have to have a lot of them don’t you agree? Especially the women they don’t hunt Grizzly every night and skin them for a change do they? And where is their stick house this week? Anyone who thinks these people are real off their rocker Lol!!

    • First things first, There are plenty of reasons to doubt what we see on reality tv. Much of it is scripted. Events are often re-enacted. The timeline is often skewed. Clips are reused and rearranged in order to prevent a certain cohesive and more interesting narrative. Sometimes producers are outright lying. This is true of essentially every reality tv show. Even shows like Top Chef play serious games with the order of events and the timelines being portrayed. People’s comments are often edited and re-worked in order to make episodes more suspenseful as well. This is the nature of the show.

      That being said, people like you who just want to jump on the bandwagon of hate and can’t make valid observations to save their life should just shut up. Point out an actual issue on the show if you must be negative about it. Enjoy it for what it is or enjoy making fun of it if you want. Make no mistake, you are not a smart person. Maybe you’re high right now. Maybe you’re just really young. I don’t know your situation and I don’t want to know it. The people who star in reality tv shows might play up their own positions and feelings sometimes because they know being boring will not allow them to continue to be on the show. The vast majority of issues with reality tv, in actuality, are the fault of the production crews. I am so sick of people spewing hate on people they see on TV. You don’t have to watch anything you don’t want to. Be as upset as you want about Discovery, History, NatGeo and all of these other stations going downhill. I know I deeply lament the changes they have made.

      You are a complete moron. Absolutely nothing you “point out” is a legitimate argument. Have you only caught a commercial or something? There is no confusion whatsoever about their clothes, their showering capabilities or their trapper shack. Look at the way these shows are presented. We are not seeing a carefully recorded 24/7 documentary about a family’s lifestyle. You’re watching a summary of events that uses specific scenes over and over again. Even given this extremely obvious fact, the show still felt the need to spoon feed people like you these answers: There are scenes wholly dedicated towards washing themselves and their clothes. There are scenes about the building and abandoning of their “stick hut.” It is also mentioned that such shacks are completely temporary and are built, abandoned and rebuilt frequently. Every single issue you have with the show is a non starter. Use your brain, if you have it, and examine the real issues for once!

      It is bad enough reading half baked comments from people who want to tell us all about how much more hardcore and authentic their own families are. People like you who are stupid enough to be the legitimate target audience of such heavily edited programs are barely smart enough to be able to comment on them in the first place. I guess I should be proud of you for merely figuring out how to work out the reply form in the first place.

      Now for the people who honestly feel the need to not just publicly question the authenticity of such programs (No kidding! You sure are a pile of geniuses!), but also feel the need to admonish the stars of the programs: I guess you all don’t have producers who require you to not talk about the money they pay you to be on the show. I guess every word you say hasn’t been edited to hell and back. I bet the words you say aren’t the response to specifically pointed questions that are never presented on the program you are featured on. I bet they aren’t presented as a wholly original thought of your own. Oh, what’s that you say? You aren’t currently featured on television? It’s almost like it isn’t even remotely fair to compare your private experiences to the heavily edited, manipulated and forced situations that a television channel has put you in to.

      Bravo, you all spotted that there was something fishy about reality tv! I enjoy it. I do not assume that what I am watching is a documentary. Even if it was presented as such (hint hint: it is not), I would never be so naive that I would actually get upset once I found out I had been “lied” to. Grow up. Christ.

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About Ryan Berenz 2052 Articles
Some thing I like (in no particular order): Sports, Star Wars, LEGO, beer, 'The Simpsons' Seasons 1-13, my family and the few friends who are not embarrassed to be seen with me. Why yes, I am very interested in how much you like 'Alaskan Bush People.' #LynxForLife