Like its name suggests, Gold Rush is centered around small mining companies mining for that precious metal. Its initial name was Gold Rush: Alaska because the people featured on the series were prospecting in Porcupine Creek in the state of Alaska, but since said individuals have since searched in a much wider range of places, the name was changed to just Gold Rush for the second season. Regardless, since the series is on its eighth season, it is natural for people to wonder about how the whole thing got started under the oversight of its initial executive producer Christo Doyle, who has worked on a wide range of series for Discovery Communications.
How Did Gold Rush Become a TV Show?
To understand the origins of Gold Rush, it is important to remember that it started up in 2010, which was a time when the memories of the Great Recession were still fresh in the minds of viewers. In fact, the people who were featured on the first season of Gold Rush were people who had lost their jobs because of the economic downturn, which convinced them to take a huge risk by heading to Alaska to prospect for gold even though they had either no or next-to-no experience in the field. As a result, as Doyle has stated in an interview, Gold Rush was something of an aspirational series in the sense that it reflected what a lot of viewers were wanting at the time. This resulted in a natural sympathy for the people featured on the series, which in turn, made it that much easier for it to build up a fan-base who wanted to see said individuals succeed. Something that contributed much to its earliest successes.
Of course, Gold Rush has more to recommend it than an excellent sense of timing. In a real sense, its core narrative evokes a popular component of American self-identity, which is to say, the idea of making one’s own way in the world by living out on the frontier. There might be fewer and fewer frontiers in the world, but this particular idea has not died out, as shown by the sheer number of series that are set in the state of Alaska, which has a popular reputation in the rest of the United States as being the Last Frontier. Something that gets romanticized by a fair percentage of the population on a fair percentage of the time.
Finally, Gold Rush managed to make it onto the TV screen because its basic premise is one that generates a great deal of drama. In part, this is because of the theme of man versus nature, which remains one of the most popular and one of the most often-used conflicts in stories. However, it should also be noted that the circumstances of the series result in a natural level of tension between participants, meaning that the series offers a fair amount of man versus man conflict as well. Combined with the other mentioned factors, these two sources of narrative potential provide Gold Rush with a fair amount of momentum, meaning that its success is no coincidence.