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The Untold Truth Of Gold Rush's Todd Hoffman

In a time when the American dream seems to be fading away, Todd Hoffman proved that with enough courage and ambition (along with a decent amount of initial collateral), truly gargantuan goals can still be accomplished. Though it's true the bold businessman was fortunate to have the means to get into the mining industry, it was his incredible drive that made "Gold Rush" happen — he helped push his crew to achieve the amazing feat of extracting relatively minuscule treasure worth thousands of dollars from enormous mounds of dirt with almost no experience.

Most who are aware of Hoffman know him as a miner and TV personality, but there is so much more to this fascinating individual. From establishing a production company to his philanthropy and his fledgling career as a rock star, he is remarkably busy even when not pursuing gold. Here are some of the more obscure tales from the life of the man who made mining mainstream for modern audiences.

U.S. monetary policies convinced Todd Hoffman to mine gold

Before Todd Hoffman became famous on "Gold Rush," the U.S. economy was rocked by the Great Recession in 2008. His business of leasing hangar space for aircraft took a huge hit, so he began to consider other options. It helped considerably that his father, Jack, had experience mining gold, but there was another major reason why he made the shift. He told Business Insider: "I'm no rocket scientist, but when you start printing money, start doing the things we're currently doing... you can't debase gold, it's common sense."

When speaking with Men's Journal, Hoffman made a similar comment. "You have a metal that has a worldwide value," he said. "A dollar bill in your pocket is a perceived value. You can tell when you go to the grocery store — it hurts." The ambitious businessman was right to point out that as the government massively expanded the printing of money, the price of gold would go up dramatically, because it cannot simply be increased at will. According to Reuters, the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar has decreased by 86% since 1971, while in that same time gold went from around $40 per ounce to a staggering $1,900, especially after the unprecedented spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

A London-based production company made Gold Rush happen

Making the transition into gold mining was essential to Todd Hoffman's new business model, but it was not the only part of his overall gameplan. The prospective reality showman emailed the London-based production company Raw to pitch his idea for the reality series "Gold Rush." Raw jumped at the concept and quickly filmed enough footage of Hoffman's crew in Alaska to present to Discovery, which greenlit the show shortly after.

The collaboration was a great success for all parties involved. Only 12 months later, "Gold Rush" was one of the highest-rated series on air and Hoffman was a reality TV star. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Discovery and Raw had worked together since 2001, but "Gold Rush" took their relationship to the next level. The massive popularity of Hoffman's show was a major reason for Discovery Communications acquiring the smaller, talented production company in March 2014.

The Sound of Silence ignited his music career

Todd Hoffman has shown himself to be a talented vocalist. After releasing his hugely popular rendition of "The Sound of Silence" in 2017, he told Monsters & Critics that the Simon & Garfunkel cover and his other songs were reaching 50,000 to 100,000 downloads a day. In 2022, Hoffman gave an update on his progressing music career.

"I have a rock band called Sandy — our town — and Mule, Sandy Mule," he said. "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." According to Hoffman, Sandy Mule is very popular in Sweden. "I don't have any idea what to do with that," he added.

On top of Sandy Mule, Hoffman has collaborated with Heidi Grisham on a cover of "Close My Eyes Forever," and has mentioned that he is very open to working with other artists as well. Years ago, he hinted at the possibility of collaborating with a well-known country music star, but he couldn't say who. More recently, he talked about plans to work with a big actor. "I'm supposed to do something with Dennis Quaid pretty soon," he said in 2022. "He's a singer too."

He co-founded his own production company

With firsthand experience producing a top-rated show, Todd Hoffman decided to expand upon that and become more involved in the decision-making process of productions — including his music projects — while also still doing the mining he loves. "I own a piece of a production company," he told Monsters & Critics. "My partner is Jose Behar, [it's] called Zum Media. I am kind of a smaller partner in this because I'm always out gold mining. Behar runs Zum Media and I am actually a minority partner."

Hoffman also started a new production company with Behar. They called it Gold Standard TV and revealed that their goal was to not only create new reality TV shows, but to develop scripted entertainment as well. "After creating 'Gold Rush' and spending thousands of hours on crafting entertaining and inspiring stories, as well as unforgettable characters on television, we are excited to launch Gold Standard TV to produce projects with the same worldwide appeal," Hoffman said in a statement (via Variety). He revealed that they were working on a Wild West drama featuring a Manhattan gangster called "Prodigal."

Behar is a solid partner in this endeavor — he has extensive experience producing shows like "Leverage" and "The Librarians" for TNT.

He wants to help others find gold

Of all the new shows Todd Hoffman might create someday, the idea he seems to like the most is a reality series that would give aspiring miners who cannot afford the expensive machinery a chance to find gold. "Picture this: Fifteen ['Gold Rush'] fans with their bags, and there's a pile of equipment," he said during an interview with Monsters & Critics. "They're standing on gold under their feet. What are you waiting for, guys? Because you're going to take that gold home. Or you're going to get fired trying." The reality TV star said that this would be "the best show on television by far" if it came to fruition. "I don't think that you could beat that show on TV ever. Cable, Netflix, Amazon. It doesn't matter."

In October 2018, Deadline reported that the tentatively titled "Greenhorn Gold" series was in early development. However, no new updates on the project have been released in the following years, and information about the possible show has been removed from the Zum Media website, leaving the status of the project unknown at this point. Instead, it appears as if the reality miner is almost entirely focused on his latest series, "Hoffman Family Gold." He said: "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.'"

He apparently lost his millionaire status a couple of times

Given the various business ventures of the reality TV star and owner of the 316 Mining company, it is no surprise that Todd Hoffman has an estimated net worth of $7 million. Though, in a revealing interview with Men's Journal, the talented businessman admitted that he has not always succeeded in his ventures, which has caused his wealth to fluctuate massively a few times. Hoffman even implied that he lost his millionaire status at least twice in his life.

"A lot of millionaires, they'll have a string of failures, even if they don't like to talk about it," the now prosperous mining operator told the magazine. "I throw Hail Marys. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. You try to learn from the ones that didn't work, and you try to position yourself to get back in there and throw another."

The Hoffman family took a much-needed break from the limelight

One of the most appealing aspects of "Gold Rush" is watching family members working together to overcome huge challenges. This is especially true with the Hoffmans — the show featured three generations in Jack, Todd, and Hunter. They are a close-knit bunch, but their unique lifestyle put a lot of pressure on them. By 2018, the tension had gotten to the point that leaving the show was the only option. They needed some time away from the cameras to heal and mend relationships.

Todd explained the situation to Monsters & Critics, saying, "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." Thankfully, the Hoffmans are happier than ever nowadays.

He established a drug and alcohol treatment center

Leaving "Gold Rush" gave Todd Hoffman the chance to spend quality time with his family, but the break also gave him the opportunity to pursue a truly altruistic project. As a deeply religious person, he felt that it was important to give back to society, so he invested some of his considerable wealth to help those who are suffering from substance abuse. When describing what he was up to after his last episode of "Gold Rush," Hoffman told Monsters & Critics: "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."

Hoffman is not only a co-owner of the facility (which is located in Portland, Oregon), but also a member of the team as a marketing director. The official website states: "Todd has a heart for helping people. Being part of SLO Recovery Center has opened up an opportunity to explore new ways to get involved in the sober community."

Todd Hoffman is not even a casual drinker

Todd Hoffman has never been very fond of alcohol due to his religious beliefs. In an interview with The Christian Post, he revealed that he decided he wasn't going to drink when he was still a teenager. "I feel like maybe my faith really got cemented around 15-16 when some of my buddies decided they wanted to go drink and do certain things like that," he said. "So I just took a path on my own, and it was lonely. I got to be honest with you." He went on to say that being a Christian isn't an "easy path," but his faith got him through those tricky teenage years.

The mining operator may not partake himself, but he does not force abstinence on his crew. In an interview with Maxim, he was asked if the Hoffman team preferred liquor or beer, and he said: "I don't drink, but I think the other dudes drink Crown Royal." He made sure to add that no one ever got crazy in their short periods of downtime during "Gold Rush" filming. When asked if there was any partying at the site, Hoffman said: "No, not really at our camp. I'm sure at the other camps. Nobody wakes up with their underwear on their head. We're pretty exhausted by the end of the day."

He wants to mine for gold on an asteroid

From Guyana in South America to the Klondike in the far north, the Hoffmans and their crews have experience mining in very different, remote environments. When asked what he thought about mining for gold on asteroids in space, Todd Hoffman joked enthusiastically with Family Review Guide. "As soon as they've got it figured out I think we'll be one of the first — we'll put our peg on a reality show up there," he said. "I think I'm going to figure out mining in the north first, you know? But, yeah. If they can get gold and something up there, that would be incredible. I'd love it."

Hoffman may never actually mine in space, but one of his descendants or other adventurers may be tempted to try in the future. In 2021, NASA announced that it would explore an asteroid named 16 Psyche potentially made up of valuable metals like gold, nickel, and iron worth an estimated total of $10,000 quadrillion. "That's way more than the global economy," said Forbes. "16 Psyche is thought to be the exposed metallic iron, nickel, and gold core of a protoplanet."

He has an impressive collection of automobiles

The many risks that Todd Hoffman has taken in his various ventures have certainly paid off, so he has rewarded himself with a rather expensive personal collection of cars. Working on vehicles is not just a hobby for the mining star — more importantly, it's another way to connect with his father. In an interview with MotorTrend, Hoffman said: "We like to fix up old trucks. My dad's doing a 1959 Chevy Apache truck. And I just finished a 1949 Chevy truck 3100 five-window, and I turned it into a lowrider."

One of Hoffman's most prized possessions is his 1972 Chevy Camaro, which he prefers to the newer models. "I would never buy a newer Camaro, but I sure like the older ones," he said. "There's a style that I like on the old trucks. I like an old-patina truck that looks like it came out of the barn, has all the scratches and the old paint, but then it's got brand-new running gear, brand-new engine, [and] the interior's all fixed up nice, but you leave the outside the way it was. The best of the old and the best of the new."

Along with his classic Camaro, Hoffman has a 1949 Chevy 3100 Five-Window Truck. He also has some newer vehicles, including a 2017 Ram 2500, and a 2011 BMW X6. His cool set of automobiles might grow in the near future, as he has his eyes on a Porsche 911 Turbo.

Todd Hoffman was not pleased with Jimmy Dorsey's interview

One of the most controversial moments on "Gold Rush" occurred early in the show's run when a fight broke out among the crew members and Jimmy Dorsey ended up leaving. Afterwards, the disgruntled former employee was interviewed by Oregon Gold and he made some highly controversial comments — he claimed that the series was scripted and that it was filmed and edited in a way that did not genuinely reflect reality. Additionally, Dorsey mentioned that he was slightly underpaid by Todd Hoffman and also said about his ex-boss: "To be honest, today I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry that he threw away a lot of relationships that he has ruined in his pursuit of fame and gold." According to Dorsey, the mining operator wanted as much time in front of the camera as possible.

Hoffman was clearly not pleased with the interview and initially gave a curt response when the same publication reached out to him. "All my interviews have to run through Discovery," he said. "Your story with Dorsey was not only false but totally uncool." Shortly afterward, he elaborated and said: "I can't tell my side of the story because the real story would hurt him and I'm not interested in a p****** match, I don't need it. If you're going to post trash like that, more power to you. You can read a good article by Garret [Romaine] coming out in [Gold] Prospectors magazine that I did recently. Good luck to you."