Interview with Christo Doyle, producer of the hit show “Gold Rush”


We love Discovery Channel and all the adventure they bring to our living room. From Bear Grylls to Mike Rowe, The Discovery Channel has shows that will keep you glued to your television every week. One specific show Family Review Guide enjoys is Gold Rush. We had an opportunity to talk with Christo Doyle, producer of the hit show and we’d love to share it with you. Click here for our interview with Todd Hoffman.


Interview with Christo Doyle from Gold Rush

L: Hi, this is Leif Potter with Family Review Guide.

C: Hi Leif, Nice to meet you.

L: I did an interview with Todd Hoffman last time so I don’t think we’ve ever spoken.

C: God help you (laughing).  It’s Good to talk to Todd.

L: Todd is a hoot.

C: He is. He sure is.

L: I must say the post call editing was fun.

C: Oh yeah, oh yeah. You should see my texts.

L: Yeah, I had to make the copy look good. Don’t talk to him about religion or politics.

C: Oh gosh, no. We have to cut around that when we make the show too, by the way.

L: Yeah, I’m sure you do. So how’s it going? I saw the screener, looked great. Looks like you’ve got a lot of craziness going on already this season.

C: Good to hear. Yeah, the gift that keeps giving.

L: Yeah.

C: Yeah, I mean you never know what’s going to happen when these guys finish mining from one season to the next. There’s always a lot of stuff that unfolds and they had a wacky off-season and it’s translated into quite a season.

L: Yeah, You have a Parker thing. I’m a fan. I watch the show fairly religiously.

C: Great, great. Well, it’s good to hear. It’s good to hear. Always like to know that people love what’s out there so.

L: But watching Parker and all the stuff from the screener, he’s got his hands– his work cut out for him this year.

C: Yeah, he’s had a very rough season as you know. He had a huge gold total last season, but he’s paying a price for it, you know. He’s a rough kid to work for, he can be kind of mercurial. You know, he’s the first one to admit that he had a rough time last year and he wasn’t the best manager, best boss and you know a lot of the grownups on his crew just didn’t want to put up with it anymore so they kind of left him high and dry and created quite a lot of havoc for Parker heading into the season.

L: Yeah, he’s going to have his hands full. And the Hoffmans have a double of the gold total to hit this year?

C: This is the first year in I think two years– two seasons that Todd is actually coming back to a mine from one year to the next. You know the last couple of years he’s been relocating, rebuilding a mine from scratch and he has a huge advantage this year. If he had listened to me and not gone to South America, he would have never been in the situation in the first place but he has to– you know, he has to– you know, it’s a luxury. He gets to spend the off season tweaking his mining plan rather than moving giant equipment around and starting from scratch, which is a gigantic, gigantic advantage for Todd and it was fun to talk to him in the off-season because he was truly excited and he was just– he has very lofty goals this year and he was just trying to get his ducks in a row so he could hit that goal.

L: Yeah, and they have the opportunity of hitting that vein if they hit their goal and hitting the old– the old river mine.

C: Yeah, you know if you’ve watched the show Jack Hoffman always has something in the back of his mind. He’s not– Jack’s not content with you know, getting the kind of gold they’re getting. He’s not content with 50 to 100 ounces a week or what their goals have been so far. He wants to find a big chunk of undiscovered gold. That’s what he was after when he was down in Alaska, kind of cooler heads prevailed and they went up north to get more consistent gold but Jack’s always dreamed of that big find and El Dorado, a vein above El Dorado, the source of all the El Dorado gold, millions and millions of dollars of El Dorado gold has yet to be found and Jack has never stopped thinking about that. So Todd is motivated to hit their gold this season so that he can get access to El Dorado and you’re just going to have to see how it plays out. It’s pretty incredible.

L: Yeah, I’m looking at that piece of quartz that he pulled out of there with the gold just sitting right in there. You wonder where that is and if they’re going to be able to find it.

C: You know back in the day, they didn’t have the technology to– or the knowledge of geology that there’s a giant vein somewhere that’s been slowly eroded over time and then created all this gold in the El Dorado valley and we now know that and we now have the means to try and get at that– at that faultline so– and whatever that– wherever that vein is. So, you know, it’s something. It’s definitely possible and Peter Tallman, the McKinnon Creek goldmine owner and the guy who owns the claims in El Dorado, is the– that’s where the idea came from. So it’s not a Hoffman pipe dream, it’s real.

L: Yeah. Yeah, it’s going to be back to your technology point we didn’t really need the technology back then because you could walk down the stream and find the gold pretty easily back in those days.

C: Yeah, you could, you did relatively little digging and moving of streams and you could get, you know, just down several feet and you’d come across a bunch of gold. Those days are long gone so now you’ve got to get– we’ve got to get more creative and that’s what Jack’s thinking.

L: Yeah, get the technology up there. So how did this– how did this show come about? How did you come up with the concept for the show Gold Rush”?

C: Well the concept for “Gold Rush”, it’s kind of a long story but Raw TV, the company who makes “Gold Rush” was casting for a show in Alaska. A completely separate show, a completely different show, and Todd Hoffman saw the casting call and reached out to Raw and said, “Hey look, I’ve got a better idea for you.” And Raw luckily had saw enough in this concept in Todd’s pitch that they went and shot what we call a taster tape so just an idea– you know, you get a sense of what the show could be. And that taster kind of blew us all away, absolutely blew us all away. We immediately bought the show and you know the rest is history.

L: Yeah, six seasons strong.

C: Yep. Not easy to do these days in TV, you know, less cable TV and we’re really proud of it. It’s the number one show on Discovery Channel. It’s often the number one show on Friday nights and regularly beats the network so it’s a big show and we’re really proud of where it’s gotten to.

L: Yeah, fanbase speaks for itself so. Why do you think it’s the number one rated show right now? Or where it goes back and forth a little bit but why do you think it’s so popular?

C: I think “Gold Rush” has, you know, it’s not just one thing. There’s several things it has going for it. I think we’ve got first of all a phenomenal story. People deciding to quit their jobs, you know, not goldminers, not experts in that field heading north so it’s to fulfill a dream. You know, it’s got family aspects to it, it’s got brotherhood, you know, working for your crew, you know a lot of teamwork there. We also have just big characters. Big characters that the audience can really relate to, which is a very big deal for us. And then lastly it’s got huge stakes and that’s something that’s very important to all of our shows. You’ve got to have something, you know, something at risk when you’re doing these things. So whether you’re out on the Bering Sea fishing for crab or you’re gold mining or you’re flipping cars, you’ve got to have things– something at stake. You’ve got to have something– you’ve got to have kind of your neck on the line here and these guys do big time. And then I think you can’t underestimate the environment. You know, the environment’s incredibly sexy and cool, the Klondike, Yukon, Alaska, and we’ve got giant machines so it kind of taps into the little kid in all of us. It’s just got so many different facets to it and I think that’s why it’s done so well. It’s just very– I mean a multi-dimensional show.

L: Yeah, a primal kid fantasy of treasure hunting.

C: Exactly and in real Tonka toys, you know? I mean that’s the– let’s be honest, these guys are playing around in big toys.

L: Yeah they are. Heck of a lot of fun. So where do you see it being in keeping it relevant for families and stuff going forward?

C: I think luckily these guys, and I say this a lot but hopefully the miners don’t get too mad, but luckily these guys aren’t that good at gold mining. You know, I think we’re going to be in real trouble if these guys get too good because it’s– honestly, I’ve been up there, I’ve seen it numerous times. The big mines where they’re incredibly good at gold mining, you know, it’s like a factory. It’s just not all that interesting so the fact that these guys are scraping, clawing every season and, you know, buying dredges and buying new ground and looking for new gold and having crew problems, you know, and so forth and so on creates a wealth of story for us. And I think the other thing that has made this show work and made it something that’s attractive is the fact that you can sit down with your family. You can sit down with your wife and your kids and you can watch it on a Friday night and there’s a lesson to it. If you work hard in life and despite all the obstacles thrown at you, despite all the hardships, the breakdowns, the crew problems, you can persevere if you work hard and put your mind towards something. And I think that redeeming quality is something that comes through each and every season and it does so naturally which is just such a gift for us.

L: Yeah, it works well. Speaking for myself, I’m a big fan of the show since the first season and my 10-year-old son is constantly saying  on Fridays, “Is “Gold Rush” on?”

L: So we watch it together, it’s one of those shows that you know he’s allowed to stay up late and watch sometimes so it’s actually a really cool– you know, it’s treasure hunting, it’s fun, it’s crazy, it’s like you said, big personalities and-

C: I think it makes– I have an 11-year-old so it makes my so it makes my son, you know, my son lives in, you know, metropolitan Washington, D.C.. It makes him think differently about the world. It makes him open his eyes, wow there’s– that’s out there? There’s like just one avenue of possibility that it opens up, opens kids and I think adult’s eyes to. I always say there’s two types of “Gold Rush” fans. There’s the person sitting down on the couch or the chair, whatever, watching and thinking, “You know what? My job is driving me crazy. I don’t love my job. I want to do what these guys do. I want to drop everything, I want to quit. I want to go north and I want to do what I want to do.” There’s that kind of viewer and then the other kind of viewer is the one who’s perfectly comfortable with sitting on their couch and living vicariously through these guys and they’re fine with their job. But it’s aspirational and it taps into both types there.

L: Yeah, it’s fun. We’ve been up, we have some family in Juno and we’ve actually gone up gold panning on some little forks and rivers and so I’m a little bit connected to the show that way, where I’ve actually had some experience doing it on a very tiny scale, but I have a little piece of gold from the Klondike.

C: Once you do it, you do it. I’ve been up there and I’ve seen the machines and everything and there is such a thing as gold fever. You know, I think you do– you do catch it. I got it when I was there and once you see that gold it’s you kind of understand what happened back in 1898.

L: Oh sure.

C: That got people so crazy.

L: Yeah, I mean when they were pulling news articles and everything else, it was pulling hundreds of thousands of people up there.

C: Yep. Absolutely.

L: And after that it was– I mean, there weren’t many people made rich except for the bar owners.

C: Very– yeah, very few. The outfitters got rich, the people who supplied people, you know?

L: Yep. All the major ones, some of them which we still know today so.

C: Yep.

L: Cool. So what do you guys see playing out next season, season seven? Is it too early to start talking about that?

C: That’s  funny you say that. You know, the mining season up north is starting to wind down already. Weather’s always what closes us out and this is when we– I’m halfway through watching this season, the cuts come in for this season and we’re already starting thinking about next season. So we’re not too far down the line but we’re– there’s a lot of ideas out there that I’m talking to the guys about and I’m pretty sure you’re going to be surprised again to hear what these guys end up deciding to do. It never ends.

L: Awesome, well hopefully it’s not another South America run because that was boring.

C: I agree with that. [laughing]

L: Awesome. Do You have anything else you want to talk about?

C: No, I just want people to watch on the 16th. It’s a– it’s a massive two-hour show. I think, you know, I’m truly excited by this season. This season has really been a dramatic, dramatic change from past seasons. We have I think two to three times more gold than we’ve ever had in “Gold Rush” and we have just curveballs left and right and you’ll see that play out in the two-hour premiere on the 16th.

L: Yeah, and I think it’s seeing that at the end of the season, you almost want to have that at the end of the season like stacked up in a big pile of each of the groups of miners so you can compare how much that actually is.

L: Really show it in pans and they show it in stuff but it would be wild to show that at the end like “here’s what they actually produced for the whole season next year.”

C:  I would love to do that if these guys would ever let us close enough to their gold.

L: [laughing] That’s true.

C: There’s no chance they would let us see all their gold like that, let alone get all their gold together in a room with the other miners. Like Todd would never want Parker near his gold and vice versa.

L: Yeah, it’s probably bad karma.

C: It’s just against the old gold mining rules, never let another goldminer near your gold.

L: Yeah, that’s true. It’ll end up gone, yeah.

C: Awesome.

L: Well best of luck with the show.

C: Thank you very much.

For more info about the show, visit Gold Rush on Facebook.


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