July 17, 2013 10:30am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
'Gold Rush: South America' Premiere Date, Details Revealed (Exclusive)
The Gold Rush crews have taken their prospecting to South America.
Discovery Channel is set to premiere Gold Rush: South America, a limited summer series featuring the crews from its hit series, at 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
The series will feature gold-mining crew leaders Todd Hoffman, Dakota Fred and Parker Schnabel as they make big changes and break new ground in preparation for the next season of Gold Rush, which returns in the fall.
Meanwhile, a new episode of The Dirt, hosted by Gold Rush executive producer Christo Doyle, will air from 8-9 p.m. Aug. 2. In the special episode, Doyle will recap the previous season of Gold Rush, give viewers updates on the gold-mining crews and offer a preview of Gold Rush: South America.
Doyle tells THR that the idea to do the limited series was a "no-brainer."
"I'm always saying to folks here, the stuff that happens on the off-season is almost as interesting as when they're mining," Doyle says. "All the crazy stuff they do to get ready for the season is incredibly compelling. When Todd announced to us that he was looking around in South America for better ground, it was a no-brainer for us."
Three of the hourlong episodes will focus on the Hoffman crews as they trek through Chile, Peru and Guyana. At the end of the third episode, Hoffman will be forced to decide if he wants to return to the Klondike or more his entire operation to South America.
Other episodes will focus on the Dakota boys, who are searching for virgin ground in Alaska, where they must find and navigate a route up to the rugged, remote mountains of Cahoon Creek, the source of all Porcupine Creek's gold; and Schnabel, who leaves the comfort of his parent's home, strikes out on his own and begins to carve out a new future for himself and his crew in the Klondike under the watchful eye of his mentor Tony Beets.
For Hoffman, last season proved especially fruitful, as his crew took home 803 ounces of gold, worth more than $1.2 million. Asked whether he feels any pressure to top himself, Hoffman tells THR: "We found $1.2 million in gold last year up in the Klondike, and no one can take that away from us. But the jungle is full of secrets and wealth only told of in stories. I have heard these stories and have dreamt about them since I was a kid. It's a chance of a lifetime to see for myself what is fact and what is fiction."
Hoffman adds that he and his crews head to South America with "no housing, no equipment, no nothing" and says their prospecting trip is "unlike anything ever before seen" on Gold Rush.
"South America is far more dangerous than I thought," he reveals. "On our six-week quest, we had a very scary car accident, I almost got robbed, I drove over a snake on my motorcycle (it looked like a stick) and I almost got killed by a falling tree. But the real challenge is being away from my awesome dysfunctional family. Love 'em."
Doyle, meanwhile, praises all the crews for what they do for a living -- and how hard they push themselves.
"As executive producer, I'm thrilled these guys have such elaborate plans this year," he says. "Every single one of them -- they're not complacent, they're really pushing it and trying to do big, bold, exciting things. It's an executive producer's dream come true."
Asked if Discovery might do more of these limited-run series related to Gold Rush, Doyle replies that's a possibility.
"These guys are ambitious, and if they come up with these kinds of wild plans in the future, I'm sure we'll be ready to follow," he says.
Watch a preview of the South America-set series, which is exclusive to THR, above.