Gold Rush made $25 million and cost $10 million; Mark Burnett wants to patent its formula

AOL and Mark Burnett’s Gold Rush, which concludes this week online and on TV, “cost $10 million to make and took in $25 million in advertising,” according to a story in Newsweek.

The magazine also reveals that creator Mark Burnett “says he plans to seek a patent on the underlying ‘format’ of ‘Gold Rush.'” He says he will, however, let others use it for a fee. “I came up with something unique, and I intend to protect it. But I am willing to license the idea to many other people,” he said.

The show has been a success for AOL and its advertisers; Newsweek reports that “WaMu, formerly Washington Mutual, had a 21 percent jump in new free checking accounts in the third quarter”; its president cites participation in the show as the reason.

Besides that news, Newsweek spends the rest of the article giving Burnett a 1,119 word hand job, showering him and the series with praise in the form of rich, unnecessary adjectives. Johnnie L. Roberts writes that the online game/reality show “a major triumph” and is “another home run for reality-TV king Mark Burnett.” The show “managed to sprinkle gold dust on the third-quarter earnings of AOL,” he writes, and is “notable for a number of firsts,” is “remarkable for holding audiences’ attention,” and “has also taken product placement to new extremes” with “advertainment.” Since we’re making up words, here’s an example of advernews: Newsweek: Hello, You’ve Got Game Show! by Johnnie L. Roberts.

Hello, You’ve Got Game Show! [Newsweek]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.