James Harness recently did a local newspaper interview for the local newspaper in Bend, Oregon. The whole article is available for .75 cents at The Bulletin. Here is an excerpt from that article:
REDMOND — A few years ago, James Harness had nothing.
“I had tried to save a failing business that I had started. It got to where I couldn’t even work, my pain levels were so high. I had no doctors, no medication. And I just folded. All the walls came crashing in and I was down to nothing,” he said.
Harness, 55, is faring better now, having become a star on the Discovery Channel reality series “Gold Rush,” which follows a group of men from Sandy as they hunt for gold in Alaska.
Just a couple of years ago, it was a far different story. “I was on my last legs. Didn’t have a lot of money. I had applied for disability (compensation).”
He was living in Sandy, where he was presented with a chance to be on the show.
“I was mainly doing stuff for the Hoffmans just to have a place to stay. And then they came up with this other deal, going gold mining. Because they knew I was down and out, they offered it to me, and I didn’t have a lot of other choices,” Harness said. “They came to and asked me, ‘Can you build this stuff?’”
If you’re familiar with “Gold Rush,” you know who the Hoffmans are: Todd Hoffman, who secured the claim at Porcupine Creek and is the leader of the mining project, and his spirited father, Jack Hoffman, who mined gold in Alaska in the 1980s.
Harness knew the men for about four years before heading to Alaska with them and other members of the crew.
In spite of chronic back pain — partly from being rear-ended in a car accident — he went. Harness would be the crew’s mechanic, playing a crucial role in building and keeping machinery functioning.
Because Todd Hoffman had reached out to a production company looking for reality show ideas, the venture would become the Discovery Channel reality series “Gold Rush Alaska,” condensed to “Gold Rush” for the just-concluded second season.
According to the Discovery Channel, it’s the No. 1 show in the 9 p.m. time slot on Fridays — that’s including both cable and broadcast TV — scoring especially high ratings among men.
In Alaska, the Hoffmans and crew found some gold over two seasons, falling just shy of a stated goal of finding 100 ounces this year.
A third season has been announced. Harness has no plans to be part of it.
The Bulletin met with Harness two days before the airing of a “Gold Rush” special titled “Revelations.” A teaser clip Harness had seen hinted at someone’s departure and left him very concerned about how the show may depict his exit.
“It insinuated that Todd fired me, which never happened,” Harness said. “It shows him making a comment that ‘I guess this is where we part ways.’ Yet I’m not in the frame. I’m not there.”
Harness and the rest of the cast don’t see episodes before they air, and Harness said he had no plans to watch “Revelations.”
In fact, he said, he hasn’t watched a full episode since the series premiere in December 2010, so different was it from the reality he remembered.
“It truly is not the way I remember it, and it distorts my memories … I get mad, because it’s different from what I remember. The real important things I feel should have been in there weren’t.
“For every 40 hours of filming, you might see two minutes of it,” he added. “And sometimes it’s what you leave out that’s important.”
Christo Doyle, the executive producer of the show, told The Bulletin, “We capture the story and tell it as 100 percent honest as we can, and that’s what plays out (in the special).”
“Throughout season two, Harness and the rest of the Hoffman crew had a lot of fallings out. There was tension there, and what we do is we capture the story as it unfolds.
“They were not getting along, there (were) a lot of issues there. We captured those issues, and what you’re going to see in the special … is those issues play out.”
Doyle and others associated with the show are often asked if “Gold Rush” is scripted. The answer is no, he said. “We do not script a single thing. We’re a fly on the wall telling the story here.”
Yet, Harness said, “I don’t care if it’s falling down or killing yourself, they want to see it again and get two shots of it. … It’s really hard to have a competitive business and put everything into that — trying to make a profit you built out of the ground — and yet try to do a TV show at the same time. They collide constantly. It slows you down so much, there’s no way to succeed. You’re doing two different things at the same time.”
No matter how it’s put forth on the program, Harness is adamant that his departure was by choice. He’s not coming back for a third season because, he said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
This confirms what Jimmy Dorsey told OregonGold.net in a recent interview and backs up other evidence that OregonGold.net has uncovered.