“Gold Rush” was the highest rated show on television Friday night

Gold Rush cast photo from The Discovery Channel

It looks as though Discovery Channel has hit it rich with their reality series Gold Rush! (formerly Gold Rush Alaska) The hour-long reality series came in as not only the highest rated show on cable Friday night, but on all of television! (Based on the industry’s all-important Adults 18-49 rating.)

With 5.38 million total viewers the show ranked behind NBC’s Dateline (6.11 million) and CBS’s Blue Bloods (6.704 million) on the night, but crushed the competition with a 2.1 Adults 18-49 score. (The next highest was NBC’s Grimmm with 1.5) And in case you were wondering what those numbers mean, it’s the percentage of total television viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 – the key demographic for advertisers.

The show is just the latest cable success story for a reality series based on “extreme” professionals that follows in the footsteps of shows like Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, and Swamp People. It documents a group of men down on their luck who have risked everything in hopes of striking it rich looking for gold in Alaska.

Jack Hoffman Gold Rush

The crew is led by the burly goateed Todd Hoffman, who left his job in the aviation business amidst a flailing economy to try his hand at gold digging – something his father and fellow crew member Jack Hoffman (above) had tried once before in the 1980s.

The rest of the crew includes James Harness (The Mechanical Genius), Dave Turin (The Rock-Moving Expert), Greg Remsburg (The Foreman), Jim Thurber (The Safety Officer), Chris Doumitt (The Carpenter), Fred Hurt (The Owner’s Man), Parker Schnabel (The Young Master), and Blue (The Dog). Congrats to all of the hard-working, treasure-seeking cast members of Gold Rush! Even if they don’t find much gold at the bottom of that infamous g|ory hole, they now know they’ve found tons of it in the form of ratings Friday nights at 9/8c on the Discovery Channel!

Here’s the official press release from The Discovery Channel, which also includes some positive news from their other Friday night show, Flying Wild Alaska:

Discovery Channel’s GOLD RUSH was the #1 program in ALL OF TELEVISION on Friday night among Persons and Men 25/18-49 ratings & delivery

GOLD RUSH and FLYING WILD ALASKA had their highest rated episodes of ALL TIME
December 19, 2011

* Discovery was #1 in all of television Friday night, December 16th, beating all of broadcast including ABC, CBS FOX and NBC among Men (M25-54/M18-49 ratings and delivery).

* Discovery Channel’s primetime line-up on Friday night, featuring an all-new premiere of GOLD RUSH “On the Gold” and an all-new premiere of FLYING WILD ALASKA “Top of the World,” as well as an encore telecast of last week’s GOLD RUSH “Gold at Last” finished as the #1, #2 and #3 non-sports cable programs among M25-54 ratings and delivery on Friday night. Discovery Channel was also the #1 cable network Friday night among Persons and Men 25-54 / 18-49 /18-34 ratings and delivery (#2 among W25-54).


* The December 16th episode 8 of GOLD RUSH was the #1 program in all of television during primetime (no exclusions) among Person and Men 25-54/18-49 ratings and delivery, beating out all broadcast and cable programs.

* This week’s premiere telecast, “On the Gold,” earned a 3.71 HH / 2.80 P25-54 AA% and was watched by an average of 5.38 million people (P2+).

* “On the Gold” was highest-rated premiere telecast among P25-54 (2.80 AA%) in the history of the series. This week, the series achieved its highest-rated individual telecast ever among HH, P2+, P18+, P/M/W25-54, P/M/W18-49 and P/M/W18-34.

* Since its second season premiere on October 28, GOLD RUSH has been the top program in several key demos; this week it finished as the #1 cable program (no exclusions) among HH, P2+, P18+, Persons/Men/Women 25-54, Persons/Men 18-49 and Persons/Men 18-34 ratings and delivery

* This week’s telecast ranks #14 (among Men 25-54 delivery) out of the more than 20,000 telecasts aired in the history of Discovery Channel.


* The 10PM premiere telecast of FLYING WILD ALASKA, “Top of the World,” earned a 1.81 HH / 1.17 P25-54 AA%, delivering an average of 2.51 million viewers (P2+).

* This telecast was the highest-rated in the history of the series among P/W25-54 and P/W18-49.

* “Top of the World” was the #2 non-sports cable program among P/M25-54 ratings and delivery, on Friday night.