I holler about Gold Rush
No… Gold Rush is not fake nor is it scripted. However, each member on the show does receive a payment per episode and they also get a lot of freebies. For example, I believe the new Volvo equipment seen on Season 3 was given to the show simply for the marketing value it brings Volvo Corporation. See also, The Todd Hoffman Motif.
Though there isn’t a script, there are certainly times where Todd may explain something to Dave Turin. Though they likely already had the conversation – they go through the conversation again slowly with the cameras rolling. This helps the viewing audience have a good understanding of what is happening at the mine.
Though the show isn’t fake/scripted it certainly isn’t 100% reality either. The money provided to the miners by Discovery Channel, along with equipment subsidies put these miners in a position to continue mining while losing money.
One also has to consider that the fame of the show has attracted private investors that have placed capital in the operation in hopes of getting a profit. Though the miners never seem to make any money… just the popularity of the show might cause an excited (less intelligent) wealthy individual to drop cash on the mining operation.