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Why the Lewis family is no longer on The Last Alaskans, and where they are now

Why the Lewis family is no longer on The Last Alaskans, and where they are now
The Lewis family in front of their cabin (Photo via The Last Alaskans Instagram)

Any insight into why the Lewis family isn’t returning [to The Last Alaskans]? Cool guy with neat family. Those girls seemed like such good TV role models. —Joe

Ray and Cindy Lewis, and their daughters Molly, Emma, and Sarah, were on the show’s first season, which aired on Animal Planet, and on its second season, which shifted the series to the Discovery Channel.

The season-three announcement, however, didn’t mention them, and they weren’t in the show.

They did not return for season four, which is now airing (and previously covered the death of another cast member, Bob Harte—though his legacy lingers, as you can see in this clip from the Jan. 6 episode “Finding New Trails”).

While there’s a lot of curiosity about the Lewis family—judging by searches online and conversation on social media—their absence hasn’t ever been addressed on television.

So, I asked the network, and now we have a definitive answer as to why the Lewis family is no longer part of The Last Alaskans cast, despite being beloved by viewers and the show’s production company.

The Last Alaskans, Ray Lewis, Cindy Lewis, family
The Last Alaskans season 3 won’t include Ray Lewis, Cindy Lewis, and their daughters. (Photo by Discovery Channel)

A Discovery Channel publicist told me this:

“Producers and the network love the Lewis family.

As viewers saw, one of Ray’s passions became the houseboat that he built and we featured in [season two].

As the family spent increasing amounts of time on the houseboat, they spent less time in the refuge.

Since the show is focused on life in the refuge, unfortunately, it was hard to feature the Lewis family and stay true to the show.”

In other words, real life took the Lewis family away from the show’s focus: the people who spend their lives in the few remaining cabins that are located within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

And so The Last Alaskans moved on without them.

Where The Lewis family is now

The Last Alaskans, Emma, Sarah, Molly Lewis, Ray and Cindy Lewis
Ray and Cindy Lewis’ daughters, Sarah, Molly, and Emma. (Photo by Discovery Channel)

What’s happening with the family now that they’re not on television?

Ray and Cindy are living on their houseboat.

Sarah, Ray and Cindy’s youngest daughter, is still living with them on the houseboat, according to the Discovery Channel.

Molly, the oldest Lewis kid, is working as a wilderness guide in Oregon.

Emma is actually connected to a current Last Alaskans cast member, Charlie Jagow. According to a Discovery Channel publicist, she is:

“working with Charlie Jagow’s sister Joanna training and racing sled dogs. She’s into sled dog racing and had already helped Joanna with the Yukon 300 race.”

That sounds like a reality show to me: A spin-off focusing on Emma and Joanna and their sled dog racing.

The Last Alaskans
An image from The Last Alaskans (Photo by Animal Planet)

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

Discussion: your turn

I think of writing about television as the start of a conversation, and I value your contributions to that conversation. We’ve created a community that connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

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Happy discussing!

Beverlee Richardson

Wednesday 26th of April 2023

The Last Alaskans show states in the opening monologue that there are only 7 permits left. My question: how many were the most permits in it heyday?


Thursday 9th of December 2021

I'm kind of obsessed with this show. Thank you for the update (I'm seeing it two years later though :-).