AOL’s Gold Rush announces host, rules

Mark Burnett’s first online series, Gold Rush, has announced its host and rules, and the series won’t follow the typical Mark Burnett reality show model. Instead, the series, which unfolds online, is highly interactive and somewhat nonlinear; twice a week, six people like you or I will be flown from their homes to compete for $100,000. That’s more possibility than I get from wasting an hour on The Apprentice every week.

Essentially, the first round of the game allows anyone to search for a dozen gold bars online. Most of the other rules on the show’s new site involve suggesting participants use various AOL tools in their search, from AIM to their branded Internet Explorer browser. In other words, its even more shameless product placement than Jeff Probst holding up an ice cold Mountain Dew in the middle of an island.

Finding bars will necessitate participating in “pop-culture challenges, some which lead to clues found in various commercials, magazines and CBS shows,” according to TV Guide. “Twice each week, three participants will be momentarily pulled away from their computers and flown to a special locale in America to battle for $100,000 (your choice of cash or handy gold bars).”

The show’s host is Entertainment Tonight anchor Mark Steines, who says that the challenges “will all be based in your pop-culture knowledge.” Ultimately, after a final challenge, one person will win $1,000,000.

The contest begins Sept. 13 and continues for seven weeks.