AOL says that “nearly 10 million” people have participated in its Mark Burnett-produced, interactive online game/reality series Gold Rush, which will conclude next week. An AOL spokesperson tells reality blurred those are unique players who have played since the debut almost two months ago.
While the game’s 13 rounds have taken place online, the three-part finale will air both online and on TV. Entertainment Tonight will air the four-part finale during its broadcasts next week from Monday to Thursday, when the winner will be announced. On the finale, 18 people will compete: the first 12 finalists, and the six finalists from the final round. The winner gets $1 million.
In an earlier press release, Mark Burnett said he was happy with the show so far. “Gold Rush has garnered amazing results. And, I am eagerly anticipating the dramatic culmination of this pop culture phenomenon,” he said.
Despite that optimism and the large number of players, Media Week reported earlier this month that “media buyers say they are surprised by the lack of buzz surrounding Gold Rush.” That may be because the game unfolds in such a different way: It’s not like Burnett’s other series, with casts of characters to follow over a number of weeks, but instead an interactive trivia competition. Perhaps airing earlier episodes on ET would have generated more offline buzz. Online, though, it’s doing okay: Media Week later reported that mentions of the show accounted for “.017 percent of all messages on various message boards, blogs and various other Web outlets” through early October.
AOL Gold Rush Buzz MIA and AOL Gold Rush Builds Buzz on Message Boards [Mediaweek]