Is 'Alaskan Bush People' real or fake? 6 things to know about the Brown family


Alaskan Bush People season six premieres on the Discovery Channel on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 9 p.m. Eastern, reuniting viewers with the entire Brown family — Billy, Ami, Matt, Bam Bam, Gabe, Bear, Noah, Snowbird and Rain. A promo video for the new season tease that "it's time to get back to things of the Bush." But what exactly does that mean? We're breaking down what's real and what's fake about the reality series family.

Source: Discovery/YouTube

Their real names

Some members of the Alaskan Bush People family have "wild" names. But those are not their legal names. Bear Brown's real name is Solomon, and Bam Bam Brown's real name is Joshua.

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Alaskan Bush People
Happy holidays from our family to yours! https://t.co/GgHHNrpRUZ
The holidays are a great time to look back at our favorite family memories! https://t.co/k5kNyRdbfZ #TBT https://t.co/cfcimTocIO
Hear from Matt about his homemade shelters TONIGHT on a special #AlaskanBushPeople! https://t.co/iEHtTYncUg
Happy birthday to our favorite inventor, tai chi master, and Mr. Fix-It, Noah! #AlaskanBushPeople https://t.co/Xh0JB2BNKe
Family is an anchor in rough waters #AlaskanBushPeople https://t.co/rkKAeKqmqi
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Billy Brown, Ami Brown and Matthew Brown speak onstage during the 'Animal Planet: Alaska Bush Family' panel discussion at the Discovery Communications portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Billy Brown, Ami Brown, Matthew Brown and Gabe Brown speak onstage during the 'Animal Planet: Alaska Bush Family' panel discussion at the Discovery Communications portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Billy Brown, Ami Brown, Matthew Brown and Gabe Brown speak onstage during the 'Animal Planet: Alaska Bush Family' panel discussion at the Discovery Communications portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Billy Brown, Ami Brown, Matthew Brown and Gabe Brown speak onstage during the 'Animal Planet: Alaska Bush Family' panel discussion at the Discovery Communications portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on January 9, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
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The truth about Billy Brown

Brown family patriarch Billy is not originally from Alaska. Although he knows the ins and outs of the land, Billy was actually born in Texas. According to Alaska Dispatch News, Billy and Ami moved their family to the state in August 2012.

Scandal in the Bush

Source: Discovery /YouTube

Billy and his son Joshua found themselves in some legal trouble in 2015. The duo lied on a form for their Permanent Fund Dividend, claiming that they lived in the state from 2009 to 2012. People reports they were actually living in Seattle during those years. In November 2015 Billy and Joshua entered a plea deal agreeing to repay the state the money owed ($20,938), as well as serve two years of probation and perform 40 hours of community service. The judge rejected that plea deal, and in January 2016 they were sentenced to 30 days in jail. The family was also fined a couple thousand dollars.

Karryna Kauffman

Source: Discovery/YouTube

Don't worry if the name Karryna Kauffman doesn't ring a bell. The young woman appeared on a season four episode of Alaskan Bush People as a love interest of Noah's. The youngest Brown son claimed to have met her while on a trip to the lower 48 states, however, there is some speculation about whether their encounter was real or staged. Karryna is an actress with an IMDb page, and competed for the title of Miss California in 2012.

Billy Brown's book

There are reports the Discovery Channel series is based on Billy Brown's 2007 novel,One Wave at a Time. In a video posted on the Nicki Swift YouTube channel, Nicki Swift explains that Billy moved his family down to the lower 48 in the hopes of selling his story. A production crew allegedly followed the family back to Alaska and recreated the lifestyle described in the book.

Bam Brown's rumored love life

Brown matriarch Ami is always hopeful her sons will get married and expand their family in the Alaskan Bush, and Bam may very well be on his way. There are rumors Bam got married to Allison Kagan, a supervising field producer for the reality series. Those rumors have not been addressed by the network or the family.

RELATED: The highest paid TV hosts:
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The highest paid hosts on TV
17. Anderson Cooper: $9 million to $11 million

Cooper has been hosting his CNN show "Anderson Cooper 360" since 2003.

(Photo: Getty)

16. George Stephanopoulos: $10 million

The "Good Morning America" host renewed his contract with ABC in 2014According to TV Guide, Stephanopoulos signed on for a five-year deal.

(Photo: Getty)

15. Chelsea Handler: $10 million

It pays to move to Netflix. The former E! host reportedly signed a $10 million deal with Netflix consisting of several comedy specials and a talk show for the streaming service. Handler previously made between $8 million and $12 million for her E! show.

(Photo: Getty)

14. Shepard Smith: $10 million

The Fox News anchor renewed his contract in 2013 in a multi-year contract, which changed his role to managing editor of Fox News' breaking news division and hosting "Shepard Smith Reporting."

(Photo: Getty)

13. Robin Roberts: $10 million to $14 million

The "Good Morning America" cohost received a big pay bump in the last few years. In 2013, it was estimated she made $6 million per year. Roberts has been an anchor on "Good Morning America" since May 2005. 

(Photo: Getty)

12. Conan O'Brien: $12 million

O'Brien's switch to TBS has proved more profitable than some of his late-night network competition. He has been hosting "Conan" since 2010 on the network. In May 2014, O'Brien signed a deal to stay on TBS through 2018.

(Photo: Getty)

11. Pat Sajak: $12 million

In 2013, Sajak told The Huffington Post he may be nearing the end of his time hosting the game show "Wheel of Fortune." But his time at the wheel isn't over just yet. Last year, Sajak renewed his contract through the 2017-2018 season.

(Photo: Getty)

10. Jimmy Kimmel: $13 million to $15 million

The king of "Celebrity Mean Tweets" renewed his contract with ABC earlier this year through 2019.

(Photo: Reuters)

9. Jimmy Fallon: $13 million to $15 million

Since taking over "The Tonight Show," Fallon has been dominating in the ratings against other late-night hosts.

While Fallon is making more than he was during his last "Late Night" show, his reported pay still isn't quite the $20 million David Letterman was said to be making during his run. 

(Photo: Reuters)

8. Adam Levine: $13 million to $15 million

Adam Levine has been on "The Voice" since season one back in 2011. Though it began as a spring TV series, it now airs another season in the fall. The show recently started its 11th season.

(Photo: Reuters)

7. Miley Cyrus: $13 million to $15 million

The new celebrity judge on "The Voice," Miley Cyrus is reportedly making just as much as Levine.

Cyrus' salary is reportedly less than that of Jennifer Lopez's $17.5 million when she was on "American Idol."

(Photo: Getty)

6. Megyn Kelly: $15 million to $20 million

Kelly is set to make $15 million in her last year at Fox News. The cable news network reportedly offered her more than $20 million to renew her contract. Despite being courted by rival news organizations, including NBC News, it became clear that they could not match Fox News' money, according to the The New York Times.

That likely means that NBC lured over Kelly with a broad, multi-year deal that would make her a star on its broadcast network — and hence give her a wider audience — with a salary landing between $15 million and $20 million.

(Photo: Reuters)

5. Kelly Ripa: $16 million to $20 million

Ripa took over hosting duties on "Live!" in 2011 after the departure of Regis Philbin and is currently searching for a new cohost after Michael Strahan's recent exit to host on "Good Morning America" in April. 

The morning show was renewed through 2020 in January.

(Photo: Reuters)

4. Bill O'Reilly: $18 million to $20 million

As of 2015, "The O'Reilly Factor" continues to hold the No. 1 spot in cable news ratings.

(Photo: Getty)

3. Matt Lauer: $20 million

In November 2016, the "Today" host renewed his contract with NBC News for two more years for a $20 million salary, according to Fortune.

(Photo: Getty)

2. Ellen DeGeneres: $20 million

Now in its 14th season, DeGeneres' syndicated talk show "Ellen" was recently renewed through 2020.

(Photo: Reuters)

1. Judge Judy: $47 million

Judge Judy is still the highest-paid celebrity on TV. Now in its 21st season, Sheindlin's "Judge Judy" continues to be the highest first-run syndicated show during the week with an average of 10.3 million viewers. In 2015, Sheindlin extended her contract with CBS through 2020.

(Photo: Getty)

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