Yukon Gold is a Canadian reality television series in the vein of other gold mining series, like Alaska Gold Diggers and Jungle Gold. Described as a “docureality fly-on-the-wall camera series” and produced by Paperny Entertainment, the show follows four to five groups of mining crews during the 4-month Yukon mining season. #YukonGold premiered on History Television on March 13th, 2013, but was also acquired by National Geographic for American broadcasting purposes.
While the first season of #YG featured mining crews led by Ken Foy, “Big” Al McGregor, Bernie Kreft and Karl Knutson, there were changes during the course of the series. Bernie Kreft and Al McGregor were ultimately replaced by Cam Johnson, Nika Guilbault and Chris St-Jean during seasons two and three. However, they do return alongside Foy (and Guillaume Brodeur), Knutson, Guilbault and St-Jean for the current fourth season.
Ken Foy has stated that he was surprised at the popularity of #YukonGold. He tells Huffington Post that he was unsure about the premise when originally approached by producers. He elaborates that, “we were like, ‘Man, who would want to watch what we do?’ But as the taping went on and on, I think we got more of the feeling of ‘OK, what we’re doing out here is pretty unique”.
And indeed, the series has captured the interest of viewers everywhere. The fourth season of YG premiered on the History Television channel on February 17th, 2016 with an episode entitled “Homecoming”, featuring Big Al’s wheelchair-clad return and Chris’s reunion with Nika, amongst other events. Foy has said that he is “super stoked” in regards to Big Al’s fourth season return. Earlier seasons portrayed Al and his wife’s simultaneous battles with cancer, and Foy says that, as such, “[Al’s] got a story that needs to be told. It’s an amazing comeback for him.”
In regards to criticism, that enjoying #YG requires some level of suspended of disbelief. This is because, as a reviewer has noted, “if there were still serious gold to be mined in the Yukon, you can bet your house mortgage that the big mining companies would be all over them there hills in less time than it takes to sign the deed on a new mining claim”.
Despite this fact, YG seems to have become History Television’s top-rated Canadian docu-series. It has garnered decent ratings (currently sitting at a 6.3/10 on IMDb) as well as a large following including a Facebook page with approximately 34,000 followers. Yukon Gold has additionally received numerous 2014 Canadian Screen Award nominations, including best writing and photography in a lifestyle or reality/competition series, and best factual program series overall.
Many popular reality television series stars admit to “re-enacting” real scenes that have occurred. While this has become the norm, Ken Foy has stated that absolutely “nothing is ever acted” in Yukon Gold. If a film crew is not on-the-ball when recording an event, that event is gone forever. “We’ve never re-enacted,” he repeats.
Foy has additionally stated that all of the mining teams are “excited for this year. The price of gold is up and fuel is down,” and as such, “[season four] could be the makings of a really good season”. This is especially true when one considered that the
It is unclear at this time whether or not History Television intends to renew Yukon Gold for a fifth season. The series is filmed during the Yukon mining season which lasts approximately June through September. Therefore, if a fifth season is coming up, it will not be filmed until at least June of this year, and consequently, will likely not be airing until at 2017.