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'Gold Rush' executive producer Christo Doyle on huge changes ahead in Season 4 -- EXCLUSIVE

The third season of Discovery’s smash series Gold Rush, which has been averaging 4.85 million viewers (P2+) and winning the cable race on Fridays, wrapped up tonight with a live two-hour finale that may or may not have set a record for use of the word “smelting.” Discovery has confirmed to EW that the show will definitely be back for a fourth season, so it makes sense that tonight’s finale contained its very own mother lode of bombshells to keep viewers interested while it is away.

Sure, we got the gold totals — the Hoffman/Turin crew took home 803 oz. of gold, worth $1.28 million, while Parker and Fred’s smaller teams found 191 oz. and 163 oz., respectively. Not too shabby! Remember in Season 1 when no one even made it to 20 oz.?!

But the biggest revelations of the night were all about the future. Viewers learned that Todd Hoffman has been prospecting for gold “down South,” and that he may not be returning to the Klondike at all. Plus, we learned that Dakota Fred plans on mining a new, almost-impossible-to-access glacial claim, and that Parker Schnabel has been planning a whole new adventure with Tony Beets. But what do all these developments mean for the future of the show? We talked to Gold Rush executive producer Christo Doyle to get the scoop on what to expect in Season 4.

Here’s what’s happening with the leader of each crew:

TODD HOFFMAN

“Todd has had a rough go of it this year,” claims Doyle. “As a result, he has decided that he is going to look at South America.” That’s right, the show that was once called Gold Rush Alaska is about to get a whole lot more international. “Todd is taking a trip that will be captured in an off-season run of episodes we’re calling Gold Rush: The Off-Season,” explains Doyle. “There will be six episodes there in the summer, and it will be Todd and crew prospecting in three different countries looking for a spot that he thinks holds more gold.”

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'Gold Rush' season 3 preview -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

Discovery’s No. 1 show, Gold Rush,¬†returns Friday (9 p.m. ET), and we’ve got your first look at the premiere’s cold open, which sets up a season of big changes, competition, and straight-faced usage of the phrase “glory hole” (as in, “At Porcupine Creek, the Dakota Boys pick up where they left off…. on the hunt for the millions in gold they are sure sits at the bottom of their glory hole”).¬† READ FULL STORY

Discovery renews 'Gold Rush,' 'Flying Wild' -- EXCLUSIVE

gold-rushImage Credit: Discovery ChannelDiscovery is renewing two freshman reality shows that have delivered big ratings: Gold Rush: Alaska and Flying Wild Alaska.

Both will return for second seasons, says Discovery President and GM Clark Bunting.

The Alaskan duo have averaged 3 million viewers for Gold Rush and 2 million for Flying Wild on Friday nights, the latter ranking as the highest-rated new series premiere in Discovery history. Gold Rush airs its season finale tonight. The network will also air a one-hour behind-the-scenes special, Full Disclosure. Flying Wild continues through next month. READ FULL STORY

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