'Gold Rush' EP Previews Season 5: "More Gold Than We've Ever Had"

Gold Rush returns next week with a new miner, new machines — and the most gold ever.

The Discovery Channel series returns with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17. It will be preceded by the return of preshow The Dirt at 8 p.m.

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Ahead of the season five premiere, executive producer Christo Doyle — and host of The Dirt — gave The Hollywood Reporter a preview of what viewers can expect this season.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season?

We worked very hard, as much as we can, with these guys to just freshen the show. We always keep it a bit spiced up, and we have some new miners, new machines, new ways of getting gold out of the ground, and it results in having more gold on the show than we've ever had before. Right out of the gate, in our two-hour premiere, there are twists and turns and things that I think will really shock the audience. I think we worked hard to make sure those thing were featured early on so we could really get people talking.

Can you reveal how much?

I can't share figures, but I can say it's a pretty significant in terms of the numbers that we've gotten in the past and what we get this year, which makes me very happy. I've always been kind of annoying these guys to get more gold. It's easier said than done, but I always felt like it really helps the show. Whenever we get gold on the show, we see a little spike in the ratings. I was pushing them to give us a little bit more and they really came through.

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Can you share some details on the new miners and the new machines?

We have more machines that we've ever had, and that usually just leads to more gold. Gold mining is not the sexiest thing in terms of filming that you can imagine. These guys are moving a heck of a lot of dirt. The more dirt you move, the more you pay, the more you process. We have a new miner this year that was a crowd favorite last year, and we decided to take a leap with him. Tony Beets is a legend up in the Klondike, and his nickname is "The Viking." He looks like a Viking. He's a no-BS kind of guy, and he buys a [million dollar, 75-year-old floating gold dredge] that hasn't been used in 30 years in the hopes he can [dig up] an amazing amount of gold. He hatches a crazy plan, and I think he will really invigorate the show.

What's going on with Parker Schnabel and Todd Hoffman as the season starts?

Last season, Todd had an epic failure in the jungle and emerged with only two ounces of gold and a handful of tiny diamonds, so Todd begins the season a very broken man. His crew leaves him, and he's left with just his dad. The question is, what's Todd going to do? He either has to quit gold mining or rise from the ashes. Parker had a very impressive rookie season — over a thousand ounces in gold, over a million dollars in gold — and he's kind of the "million dollar" kid. He's a little cocky. But the question with him from the beginning of the season [centers on] his beloved grandmother. What does he do next? He has to decide whether to go back up north or stay down south. It's hard for him to leave.

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The Dirt also returns this year. Anything new that viewers can expert?

One of the things we're trying to do a little more is engaging the superfans, both socially and also by having some of them come on the show. We're launching a contest in which one lucky superfan will be able to come to the Dirt set and meet some of the miners. All we're asking people to do is submit videos and wacky pictures; it will be fun to see people mocking me or Todd or Parker or Tony Beets. We also love to show the side of the show that doesn’t make it into the show, the humorous side, what guys do in their off time. Really fun stuff.

Why do you think Gold Rush still connects with viewers?

It's still No. 1 on Discovery, No. 1 among men on all of cable and often beats the networks, which just blows my mind. I think it fits all of the boxes at Discovery Channel, which is unique, phenomenal characters. I also think people have their favorites, so they're pulling for Parker or Todd and this year Tony Beets. And then the man vs. nature aspect. It's also very spiritual. I think it's also a co-viewing show; you can sit down with your family and watch it.

Watch an exclusive sneak peek of the season five premiere above.