Get ready Gold Rush fans, as Season 6 of Discovery’s #1 series returns tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 16 at 9pmET/PT) with a two-hour premiere, and it’s looking like we are going to see more gold than ever. Todd Hoffman, Parker Schnabel and Tony Beets are all back at it with bold new goals, challenges and drama (yes, there will be personality clashes and equipment breakdowns but that’s just the nature of the business). We caught up with executive producer Christo Doyle who gave us the scoop on what’s in store for the 18-episode season of Gold Rush, which also includes four specials and the pre-show The Dirt. The series preshow, The Dirt, also returns on Friday, Oct. 16 at 8pm ET/PT. Here are just a few things to look forward to this season.
- Freddy Dodge is back!
Gold Rush executive producer Christo Doyle raves about Freddy Dodge, telling us that he’s the real deal. “He’s absolutely a salt of the Earth kind of guy. He knows more about gold — where it comes from and how to get it — than anyone in the world. I would put him up against anybody. He’s the gold guru. The gold guru will be in Season 6 but I will not say how much or what his role is. I am a huge Freddy Doge fan. … His wealth of knowledge is something we have to have in the show. I’ve gone to dinner with Freddy Dodge and I could listen to him talk all night about gold, how it has gotten to where it is, where it comes from and best ways to catch it. That’s how he lives his life – he’s kind of a throwback. He’s a throwback to 1898.”
- Three Hoffmans are better than two.
You heard me right. We’ve got Todd Hoffman and his dad Jack Hoffman, but now we’ve got Hunter Hoffman, Todd’s 16-year-old son. Sure, he’s been around occasionally throughout the seasons but this time he’s there to mine. “I jumped at the opportunity to have three Hoffmans involved,” Doyle says. “They have gigantic personalities, as you know, and adding a third gigantic personality I thought could give us some good fireworks.”
- Teenagers, by nature, add drama.
“Hunter is the typical 16-year-old kid. His parents drive him insane. He doesn’t talk very much and he thinks he knows how to do everything better than anybody,” Doyle shares. “It makes for great TV and it made for some really good natural scenes that unfolded between Todd and him trying to get things done on the claim. They butted heads.”
- Parker’s past comes back to haunt him.
Parker mined an unprecedented $3 million of gold last season, but it came with a cost. He drove his team into the ground and disrespected his most valuable team member Gene Cheeseman. Now the 21-year-old might face losing him. “I was with him last year when he found out that Gene Cheeseman didn’t plan on coming back and he had big problems with Gene,” Doyle tells us. “Parker was really, really upset. I never have seen him quite that upset. I think last season he learned a lot.”
- Grandpa John. Is there anyone more lovable on TV?!
Parker’s 95-year-old Grandpa John is the sole reason Parker’s mining and is his biggest mentor and friend. Grandpa John has a lot of advice for Parker this season, and is in the show a tremendous amount. “Grandpa John is the most beloved man on TV, I like to think,” Doyle says about Grandpa John being in Season 6. “We try to get him, as much as his age will allow, up to be with Parker and he’s just incredible. Everything that comes out of his mouth is incredible. It’s inspirational. It’s so charming. Their relationship is so special, we try to capture that as much as we possibly can.”
- Tony Beets (aka The Viking) has not changed one bit. And we’re happy about that.
“Tony is a no-BS kind of guy, that’s for sure,” Doyle admits. “But that’s also a breathe of fresh air. He is the way he is. He’s very matter of fact and he’s going to tell you exactly what he thinks and how he feels and what he’s willing to do and what he’s not but he’s very agreeable. He’s a good guy. He’s a really good guy and he’s got a good heart. He’s just very set in his ways. He does his things his way up in the Klondike and that’s why he’s considered a legend.”
- Tony’s still working that dredge. Watch for his alleged killer handshake.
Tony’s million-dollar, 75-year-old dredge is still in the picture and he’s determined to have that thing produce him some pay dirt. He’s a legend in the Klondike and wants to prove his naysayers wrong. He’s also one guy you don’t want to mess with. “He’s probably the most intimidating man I’ve ever met,” Doyle says. “You got to be ready for his handshake. He will rip your arm right off.”
- An intense competition between Parker and Todd.
Who doesn’t love a good rivalry? That’s what we see with Todd and Parker and this season things heat up. “There’s always been a lot of tension between Parker and Todd, and there’s an unspoken rivalry there, it’s actually much more intense than we actually show on the program because these guys tend to clam up when the cameras around,” Doyle shares. “This year what you are going to see is an incredibly intense, organic competition unfold between Parker and Todd.”
- More gold than ever before!
“Every season consistently we’ve had more gold from one season to next. The amount of gold we got last year in total was between 4 and 5 million dollars, I believe,” Doyle tells. “I did not anticipate we’d get as much gold as we did this season. We have two times as much gold in this season as we did last, which is unbelievable, one, and, two, it’s a dream come true for any producer working on the show.”
Gold Rush airs on Discovery Channel Fridays at 9pm ET/PT