Hoping to match the formula that generated a ratings bonanza for Discovery Channel's Gold Rush, Jungle Gold and Bering Sea Gold, The Weather Channel is entering the testosterone-laced, strike-it-rich genre with the March 26 premiere of Prospectors.
Like its gritty competition, the nine-episode Prospectors follows the real lives of hardscrabble, blue-collar miners in their relentless pursuit of the mother lode.
But, unlike the gold-obsessed characters on the competing network, these miners will be searching for gemstones, such as topaz, aquamarine and rhodochrosite, at an altitude of 14,000 feet in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. The prospectors risk life and limb as they face vicious storms, falling rocks, thin air and other perilous conditions in every step of their pursuit.
They use picks, sledgehammers and dynamite to send Volkswagen-sized boulders spinning out of control down the 60 percent grade mountainside. They open holes, looking for veins of brilliant red, blue and green crystals. And the right pocket, extracted correctly, can bring a million dollar payday or more.
The Discover Channel's series of top-rated prospecting shows have confounded some critics, who find it hard to believe that they consistently draw more male viewers in their time slots than anything else on television — and that includes the broadcast networks.
The Weather Channel's Prospectors features nine 30-minute episodes, with back-to-back episodes on premiere night, Tuesday, March 26 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET.