Exclusive: Todd Hoffman talks Hoffman Family Gold, Tony Beets, Parker Schnabel, and new perspective

Todd Hoffman
Todd Hoffman is back on a new Gold Rush spinoff for Discovery. Pic credit: Discovery

Todd Hoffman is not here to grind an ax with any former Gold Rush cast members. The opposite, in fact. Hoffman spoke to Monsters & Critics today about the resurrection of the father, son, and holy rolling gold miner; many have a strong opinion about, good or bad. 

Hoffman knows this, and his attitude is gratitude to Discovery for letting him back on the network with a retooled look at mining shows and what they could aspire to, other than being what he calls “a highlight reel.”

It has been four years since we heard from Hoffman, and he walked away after regrouping on what he wanted to be doing. This fallout was on the heels of his stunning breakout video where he sang Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence” in a viral video that went bonkers.  

Now, Hoffman has channeled all that musical prowess into a band. For whatever reasons, his rock-leaning band Sandy Mule (named after his hometown of Sandy, Oregon) is big in Sweden, according to him.

Now, Todd is returning to Alaska with his father Jack and his son Hunter to help a friend earn the ultimate payday. But he is pleased to be slotted in when Discovery’s #1-rated show Gold Rush typically airs and vows to fans that this is not the same-same, but a heightened and more profoundly personal look at what being a miner is all about. 

Todd is banking his future mining career on turning around a flagging mine far off the grid 80 miles north of Nome, Alaska. With Alaska’s mercurial nature—unforgiving weather, unseasoned crews, “torn up” equipment— this new mine is a sure bet that the Hoffmans wager on, and if they get the mining rights for the next decade, it could build a new family legacy. 

The bigger question is whether grit, God, and gumption form the trinity of tenacity for Hoffman to make it, or will he implode and the series be a one-season fluke? 

Hoffman wants you to bet on him, his new perspective, and have faith in his intentions for the latest Gold Rush spin-offs.

Exclusive interview with Todd Hoffman

Monsters & Critics: On March 15, you asked fans that follow you on Twitter for prayers. Is everything okay with your family?

Todd Hoffman: Everything’s okay with my family. We’ve just had an illness. And we’re working through it right now, so yes, we’re moving in the right direction, and it’s going well. 

And I ask people to pray for me because I’m an open book. So, I do have a lot of people of faith that follow me, and I believe in the power of prayer. And so yes, why not?

M&C: In the promo, your voiceover, you say you lost your focus as a family in the promo teaser for the show. And I was hoping you could expand on that.

Todd Hoffman: So, if you picture my kids, they grew up on a TV set slash goldmine. And so that can be good in many ways. 

It can also be unhealthy in a lot of ways. There was some strain between Hunter, myself, and the TV show, the production crew. We were tired and a little bit jaded. 

We’d felt like we were pushed in the corner of the show that we created. And it was time for us to have a break, and, three years during that, my kids, we were able to repair our relationships. 

There was maturity, both in my life and Hunter’s life, but I also got a chance to start a drug and alcohol treatment center. And we helped five hundred patients get off of drugs and alcohol. 

So there are many different things that I think I need to be doing right then. So our family is better for it. So coming back with Hoffman Family Gold was cool because Discovery Channel learned that I had this opportunity to mine. 

Discovery Channel and I came together, and I said, I would like another crack at this thing. I want a slower-paced show. I’d like to have more faith and more family.

Gold Rush is a huge hit, but it is a highlight reel. I want people to feel like they’re with us, almost, it’s not documentary style, but a slower pace where you feel like you’re part of it and making decisions and part of being in the cleanup room with Jack and Thurber while they’re bickering back and forth and having fun. 

And there’s more joy in it. That’s the pace, that’s it. Discovery Channel was gracious enough to say yes. We see your vision. Let’s do this. And so that’s where we are. They gave us a poll position, tomorrow night, we’re on at 10 PM following Gold Rush, but we’re at eight o’clock the following week. 

So they have a lot of faith in us to give us the number one time slot on Friday nights. Pretty cool. I want people to get back on the train, get on this adventure, crack open a beer, and travel with us. And that’s the crux of it.

M&C: You’ve got three generations of Hoffmans working together and starring on this show, but what does Hunter bring to the table for you? And conversely, what does Jack bring to the Hoffman business model?

Todd Hoffman: So I’m the guy who has to do the dirty work. I have to make everything. I have to pay the bills, figure it out. I take a lot of the TV hits. Hunter brings enthusiasm, energy, and youth, and he’s one of the main reasons we’re doing this now. And Jack, he’s the heart and soul, and he’s the dream, he’s the guy that got us all doing this. 

During COVID, he was out building a wash plant out in the parking lot. And I knew my dad’s not done gold mining. 

So I started working towards finding an avenue of how we can take our little tiny company—and that is all we are—is a little company. We have no machines anymore. We have no wash plants. 

So it’s my job to see if I can put all this together. And that’s what you’re going to see. Do we put it together, or is this just a flash in the pan? And, it is genuinely our last shot at gold mining again. My dad is heart and soul. Everybody loves Jack, and my dad is such a good father. He set the bar high. 

Anything I can do to help my dad live out his dreams and finish his life, I’m the guy, right?

M&C: Both you and your old castmate, Tony Beets, now have granddaughters. Do you ever speak to or see any of the older cast from the original show?

Todd Hoffman: Well, occasionally Tony Beets. I put Tony in the show. He has had my back. People will talk smack behind my back, but Tony won’t do that. He’ll tell people not to because I helped him a lot.

And pretty much everybody, the whole [Gold Rush] show. A lot of people don’t know that I hired Dakota Fred. And they don’t know that helped Dave Turin and his show, and I even gave him his nickname. 

I found Freddy Dodge off the internet. So I talk to Freddy a little bit, occasionally to Dave, but we’re all now doing our things, and there’s no big beef there. 

Dave was upset with me for a while on some decisions I had to make. But I’d make them exactly the same as I did last time. 

So sometimes your decisions will go against what your friendship is, but the decision needs to be made in such a way that you have a responsibility to the whole team, not just one person. 

So when you throw fame and all these other things in the mix, things can get weird, but I’ve always enjoyed my time with Tony Beets. You don’t want him to do your taxes, but he’s a solid guy. If you get a chance to hang out with him for an hour or two and trade stories, you should take advantage of it. He’s just an interesting character. 

People don’t know this, but he has a brother that looks just like him, but black hair. And he’s even bigger and even meaner looking. He is a scary guy. But early on, I used to run into his brother out there. But Tony has been there forever. He’s a Klondike legend, so to speak.

M&C: In the teaser, you mentioned an Alaska rescue, you got a call from a friend. What were the circumstances of this call for you to help your friend?

Todd Hoffman: Well, it’s an old friend. And what was happening in Alaska that year was the most rainfall that had ever been recorded out of Nome, Alaska, and there were floods, there were a lot of things that happened. 

My buddy’s like, ‘Hey, I’m in trouble up here. I need some help.’ And so what you’re going to see [on Hoffman Family Gold] is us attack that problem. 

I told him that I was not going up there for my health. So I say, ‘okay, I’ll do this. But [I told him] if I go and do this, you better do what you say you’re going to do. And I need ground. Okay? I want to mine.’

So that’s the deal. So if we can perform, his end of the mine will perform. And so, everything in life usually starts with a handshake. And let’s get on with it. And that’s the experience: can we help out, and can we get a mine? We are basically season one all over again. We’re trying to see if we can put our little company back together. We’re not gold miners. We’re from the city.

M&C: Well, you just previously mentioned that you didn’t have any equipment. How are you going mine? Are you going to rent these?

Todd Hoffman: I did. He’s got a bunch of gear there, but it isn’t good. It’s been worn out, all his equipment. And there’s one piece I was able to lease, which was a godsend, but you’ll see in the show, there’s something special that happens through this year never before seen on gold mining TV. 

I think the viewers will get a treat, and I think they will get a breath of fresh air because I want a slower pace. I don’t want it to be “boom, bang, boom,” the truck falls over, and a guy throws a wrench. We’ve already seen all that. Right?

I want you to see what goes on. I want to hear Jim Thurber. He’s like the funniest guy you’ve ever been around. So I want to know their heart. I want to know the decisions made on the mine in a way where I feel like I understand what the hell is going on. 

Discovery Channel believes that we hit that vibe because they’re thrown in behind us again. And it’s, it’s a nice feeling. I can’t believe they let me back in the doors. So we’ll see what happens.

M&C: Would you have done anything differently when you were in the original Gold Rush cast?

Todd Hoffman: I think this time I have a better perspective. I believe this new attitude of having what we’ve gone through this time around is different. And I think we’re a different crew. We make better moves. Better decisions. 

Our equipment is worse than we’ve ever had, except for seasons one and two [Gold Rush]. But no, I don’t think so. I’ve always treated everybody. I treat everybody right. I gave out more gold to my guys than Parker Schnabel ever gave out.

I treated my guys better than any other miners ever treated their team. And that is important to me. This sounds a little weird, but how we get our gold is more important in the amount of gold that we get. 

Because if you live with the philosophy, if you live with the belief structure, you will be accountable to God for how you do business and how you treat each other.

You live a different way. And that is what we want to show the world is yes, we’re getting gold. Yes. We’re doing this. Yes. We get in fights. Yes. We have to say we’re sorry. But, we love each other, and it is important in our relationships. And that is what we want to show the world.

M&C: You have a beautiful voice. You did a great music video when we spoke last.

Todd Hoffman: I have a rock band called Sandy—our town—and Mule, Sandy Mule. We just did our very first album, and all the songs are Rock in the genre, but they’re some bouncing into the nineties. 

And our style is just different, but we have a full-fledged rock band, man, with guitars, drummer, and bass. We practice once a week, and we get offers to open for people. 

And we are becoming a big deal in Sweden. And I don’t have any idea what to do with that. I love being in a band. I mean, I’m supposed to do something with Dennis Quaid pretty soon. He’s a singer too.

Hoffman Family Gold premieres tomorrow, Friday, 3/25 at 10 PM but it moves to its regular time starting Friday, April 1 at 8 PM on Discovery Channel.  

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2 years ago

Shave off your beard Todd
Dare to be different than the rest of the miners?