Discovery is bringing the controversial Brown family back to TV. And that has some bonafide Alaskans on alert.
The Browns are back when Alaskan Bush People returns to Discovery Channel on November 11th at 9 PM ET/PT. With close to 5 million viewers an episode last season, Alaskan Bush People was the #1 original series on all of television – including broadcast – on Friday nights across P25-54, M25-54, P18-49, and M18-49.
Last Season, Billy Brown, his wife Ami and their seven grown children – five boys and two girls – finally settled down, having built their dream home on the remote Chichagof Island, Alaska. Making their house a home, the Browns worked to source consistent food staples along with “bush comfort” – a homemade clothes dryer constructed from an oil drum, old metal fencing, and heated by an open fire.
But not everyone is buying their “storyline” and fabricated existence for Reality TV cameras.
Craig Medred of Alaska Dispatch News writes:
Reality TV as defined in the north these days is Aesop’s Fables written by someone sent on a trip by questionable acid. Reality TV is the so-called “Alaskan Bush People” running around in the green light of a night-vision lens trying to confront fictional shooters in the night in the woods near Glennallen and then supposedly fleeing for their lives.
Actual reality — which is waaay different from TV reality — is the Bush People getting busted on charges of falsely filing for Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends. And never mind what people can get away with on that phonied up “Alaska State Troopers” show; there are some realities Alaskans take seriously. Lying about living in Alaska in order to collect a PFD is one of those realities.
This is the crime of which six members of the Brown family — better know as simply the “Bush People” — stand accused. A Juneau grand jury indicted chief Bush Person Billy Brown and children Amora, Snowbird, Joshua, Bam-Bam, Solomon, Gabriel and Noah on multiple counts of second-degree theft and unsworn falsification for fibbing on their PFD applications.
As if any Alaska reality TV star would ever fib. C’mon, it’s not fibbing if it could be real.
So for you lower forty-eight folks, if you did not know, the Alaska Dividend, properly called the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), is a very generous yearly dividend, financed indirectly from oil revenues, paid by the state government to every citizen who lives in Alaska—including all men, women, and children. Since 1982, Alaskans have received that yearly dividend, reaching a high of $3269 (including a one-time supplement of $1200 financed by that year’s state budget surplus), which comes to $16,345 for a family of five in 2008. The PFD has recently been reported between $1000 and $1500 per person, which comes to between $5000 and $7500 for a family of five. Not bad for extra income if you are the type who likes free money for just being in the right place at the right time.
The local Alaskans in the media are calling out the Browns over this alleged fraud, as the new season sees the family put in all sorts of camera friendly situations.
In the season premiere, Billy realizes that in order for Browntown to thrive, he must give his kids more responsibility maintaining life at home and stocking up for winter. It’s time for Brown town to grow and grow up.
ALASKAN BUSH PEOPLE is produced for Discovery Channel by Park Slope Productions. Terrence Sacchi, Paul Reitano and Elana Wertkin are the executive producers for Park Slope. Joseph Schneier is the executive producer and Meagan Davis is the producer for Discovery Channel.