Real or Fake? What to Know about Discovery's 'Expedition Unknown'

Has Josh Gates ever found anything on 'Expedition Unknown'? Is the show real or scripted? Here's the scoop on all things 'Expedition Unknown.'

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Jun. 15 2022, Updated 4:58 p.m. ET

Josh Gates, 'Expedition Unknown
Source: Discovery

Get ready for more worldly adventures! Expedition Unknown chronicles archeologist Josh Gates as he travels around the world in search of lost cities, treasures, and artifacts. The Discovery Channel show aims to uncover the mysteries of numerous legends, and fans certainly can’t get enough of the real-life Indiana Jones.

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Although the show has been running for ten seasons and counting, some still question if the docu-series is real or made up. Has Josh Gates ever found anything on Expedition Unknown? Here's what we know.

Josh Gates, 'Expedition Unknown.'
Source: Discovery Channel
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Has Josh Gates ever found anything on 'Expedition Unknown'? 

If you're a fan of Expedition Unknown, you know Josh always aims to uncover something when he sets off on his adventures. Whether he's attempting to track down centuries-lost cities or focusing on more localized legends, promotional material for the show always seems like Josh is on the brink of a huge discovery.

Josh Gates, 'Expedition Unknown.'
Source: Discovery Channel
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Though Expedition Unknown typically results in Josh not finding anything, he sometimes finds at least one artifact or clue. In 2019, Discovery documented a live mummy unveiling on Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live. The two-hour live event saw our host exploring the 2,500-year-old mummy of a high priest.

“This has been such an amazing experience,” said the host during the broadcast. “There aren’t many people who can say they’ve gone down into unexplored ancient tombs, especially with a living legend like Dr. Hawass. We were able to document spectacular artifacts and mummies and bring viewers along in real time. It was the thrill of a lifetime.”"

He continued, “Never in my 50 years in archaeology have I experienced something on such a grand scale as this.” 

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Is Discovery Channel's 'Expedition Unknown' real or fake? 

Because Expedition Unknown is technically classified as reality TV, some fans are curious if the show is fake. Audience members have expressed their skepticism for the show after being let down episode after episode, while others argue that the "expedition" part of the show is the point. After all, the show previously aired through the Travel Channel before switching to Discovery in 2018.

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Josh Gates in 'Expedition Unknown.'
Source: Discovery Channel

“It takes 2 brain cells to notice the pattern of almost figuring out the secret and how everything he finds is planted,” wrote one person in a Reddit thread.

As another Reddit user wrote, “The odds of making a discovery on a TV show must be astronomical. I think the viewers of this show like to live vicariously through Josh.Try to enjoy the show for what it is; something which uncovers unknown parts of the world to most people, explores interesting cultures and history, and lets you escape on an expedition for [an] hour every week.”

Whether you believe the TV magic or remain skeptical, catch new episodes of Expedition Unknown on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on Discovery Channel. You can also catch up on episodes on Discovery Plus.

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