‘Alaskan Bush People’: Fakery And Matt Brown’s Alcohol Struggle Leading To Cancellation?

Alaskan Bush People has been a hit show for Discovery Channel for three seasons now, and it seems there is some doubt about whether or not there will be a fourth season. The show has been plagued by scandal, some including charges that it is fake, for months. The most recent is all too real though, eldest son Matt Brown’s struggle with alcoholism. It’s a reality that producers of this reality show have given little air time, instead seeming to focus on presenting a family whose TV lifestyle is widely believed to be fake. Morning Ledger is reporting that due to all the scandal, and because Alaskan Bush People doesn’t provide the quality educational information that Discovery Channel originally set out to provide, it may be cancelled.

Alaskan Bush People first aired on Discovery Channel in 2014. The cable channel’s site describes the show, in part, in this way.

“Deep in the Alaskan wilderness lives a newly discovered family who was born and raised wild. Billy Brown, his wife Ami and their seven grown children – 5 boys and 2 girls – are so far removed from civilization that they often go six to nine months of the year without seeing an outsider. They’ve developed their own accent and dialect, refer to themselves as a ‘wolf pack,’ and at night, all nine sleep together in a one-room cabin. Simply put, they are unlike any other family in America..”

The problem with that description of Alaskan Bush People is that much of it has been found to be untrue. As reported by Alaskan Dispatch News earlier this year, father Billy and son Joshua had to serve time (on ankle monitors) for providing false information regarding their residency on applications for Alaska oil dividends. They were not able to prove that they lived most of the years in question in Alaska. Other people in the family were found guilty of the same charge, but a plea agreement was reached in which only Billy and Joshua had to serve time. The story spurred curiosity about and further investigation into the lifestyle of the Alaskan Bush People clan and it was discovered that a large part of their lives are not spent in the bush at all.

In June, Radar Online reported that the Browns actually live in a hotel in Noonah, Alaska most of the time.


The Morning Ledger reported that Discovery Channel, home of Alaskan Bush People, got a new channel chief last year, Rich Ross. He quickly removed some “fake” shows, including Mermaids and the Megalodon segments during its runaway hit Shark Week. Recent questions about the authenticity of Alaskan Bush People combined with the lack of an announcement regarding its renewal have many wondering if the show will be pulled.

It also seems possible that, as reported by Blasting News, that eldest son Matt may not return to Alaskan Bush People. Some wonder if the show is hurting him as he struggles off camera with an alcohol problem. As Matt’s air time has decreased, Alaskan Bush People producers appear to be shifting their focus to Joshua (“Bam Bam”). In the most recent special, the narrator revealed that about 2,000 hours of footage are filmed for each season, but only a small fraction of those hours make it to air.

Over the seasons, ABP fans have come to care about Matt and wonder about his progress as he works through his alcohol issues. And wondering if some of the footage that doesn’t make it to the airwaves would shed any light on his journey.

Alaskan Bush People airs on Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. ET on Friday nights.

[Image via Discovery Channel]