How Does The Alaskan Bush People Family Earn Its Money?

Discovery's Alaskan Bush People has captivated viewers since 2014, with the Brown family first generating buzz for living off the grid in Alaska. But as the seasons progressed (Season 11 kicked off in December 2019), the Browns — including patriarch Billy Brown, matriarch Ami Brown, and their kids Matt Brown, Joshua "Bam Bam" Brown, Solomon "Bear" Brown, Gabriel "Gabe" Brown, Noah Brown, Amora "Birdy" Brown, and Merry Christmas "Rainy" Brown — drew more attention for their complicated family dynamics and personal issues. One particular area of drama? Money. Not only were some of the Browns accused of theft, but one sibling caught heat for seemingly trying to crowdsource funds for his honeymoon. Sheesh.

Understandably, the growing tension surrounding the Brown clan's finances has some people wondering: Where does the Alaskan Bush People family get their money? Although it might seem obvious thanks to their successful careers in reality television, there is more here than meets the eye. 

It pays to be on reality TV

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Ami and Billy's complicated financial situation, it's important to first get the elephant out of the room aka Discovery, Inc. Although the network hasn't shared any information regarding how much each family member is paid per episode, some general reporting about reality TV salaries from Business Insider puts their earning potential into perspective. "For those docu-ensembles, especially if they're nobodies, per episode it ranges from low-end, like $1,500 an episode, to $3,000 at the high end," an industry agent told the outlet, adding, "And then after three years of success, it can go up to $7,000 to $10,000 an episode. After that, you start moving into the Kardashian level."

We doubt the Browns are pulling in Kris Jenner level money, but they've been on TV for six years and 11 seasons. You do the math. And if numbers aren't your thing, just take a look at their spending habits for evidence. Ami and Billy reportedly "gifted" their son, Noah, a $220,000 home in 2017, according to property records obtained by Radar Online. The same outlet reported that after moving to Washington, the couple reportedly rented a $500,000 lakefront home. Prior to the rental, they supposedly stayed in a $2.7 million home in Beverly Hills, California while Ami underwent treatment for cancer, according to Radar Online.

Of course, the Brown family is able to spend their money however they choose — as long as it's actually their money, right? 

Are the Alaskan Bush People grifters?

Despite their supposedly large income, the Brown family has had some issues with money. A perfect example? When Joshua "Bam Bam" and Billy Brown were sentenced to 30 days in jail for allegedly falsifying information on Alaska state forms, according to Anchorage Daily News. What happened is this: Billy and Joshua, along with matriarch Ami Brown and three of the other Brown children, were charged with "60 counts of first-degree unsworn falsification and first- and second-degree theft" connected to 2010 – 2013 applications they submitted for Alaska's Permanent Fund, an "annual dividend that is paid to Alaska residents from investment earnings of mineral royalties," according to the Alaska Department of Revenue.

The clan raked in $20,000 from the fund, even though they allegedly didn't live there for the required three years (2009-2012). Alaska law dictates residents must live year-round in the state to receive these funds, so the Browns made a massive mistake when they allegedly fibbed on their forms. Only Joshua and Billy served time — house arrest, actually — because of a deal they supposedly made with prosecutors in which they each pleaded guilty to one of the second-degree unsworn falsification charges. 

Another odd thing? Noah Brown faced backlash when he reportedly launched a crowdfunding page (via Traveler's Joy) to help cover his honeymoon expenses. After a bit of online backlash, the couple reportedly "did damage control by explaining on their Facebook page that the request was intended for wedding 'invitees only,'" per Radar Online, however, that post has been deleted. Still, it's kinda weird, especially when you consider the reality stars could probably afford the trip outright.

So although the Browns seem to be well off thanks to reality TV, you have to wonder what's really going on with their finances in light of these strange incidents. Want to learn even more about this wilderness clan? Check out their untold story here