Life Below Zero

life below zero

Ever wonder what it is like to live in the remotest parts of Alaska? Thanks to National Geographic's documentary television series, Life Below Zero, viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of subsistence hunters in the freezing temperatures of the Last Frontier.

The groundbreaking series has won a couple of awards, including a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program. But it has also had its share of controversy. In 2017, star Susan Aikens filed a lawsuit against the show after she was allegedly forced to perform dangerous stunts for narratives made up by a producer. 

More recently, Chip Hailstone was arrested and sentenced to 15 months in prison for perjury and making false statements to police. However, that has not stopped fans from tuning in week after week since the show premiered in 2013. 

Cast of Life Below Zero

Cast of Life Below Zero: Next Generation:

  • Johnny Rolfe — An “ethical hunter/gatherer, forager, and nomad” who lives with his dog, Java.
  • Michael Manzo — A member of the Mi’kmaw Nation who went to school for “sustainable studies.” Michael travels around via freighter canoe and dog sled.
  • Alex Javor — A former paratrooper who is now living in the wilderness with his dog, Sipsey.
  • Kaleb and Brittany Rowland — Kaleb is a former commercial fisherman. He and Brittany decided to uproot their family (including their two children) to move to the old mining town of McCarthy, Alaska.
  • Chris and Jessi Morse — The youngest couple on the show, Chris and Jessi are hoping to gain access to fresh water on their land located near the Cosna River.

Cast of Life Below Zero: Northern Territories:

  • Becky Broderick — Becky and her husband left their home in Sudbury, Ontario to move near the Mendenhall River, in Yukon. They have a daughter together, whom Becky wants to raise to be a “self-sufficient badass.”
  • Kim Pasche and Pierre-Yves Duc —  Best friends who have lived in the Yukon for more than 10 years. Live near Silent Lake in Yukon.
  • Mike 'Pike' Harrison — Has lived alone in the woods for more than 20 years. He’s an incredible handyman and is constantly upgrading his cabin located 670 km west of Yellowknife.
  • Bentley Kakekayash — Lives in a remote North Caribou Lake First Nations community called Weagamow Lake. He’s young, but has been living in the bush all his life.

How many seasons of Life Below Zero are there? 

So far, there have been 11 seasons of the National Geographic reality show. The show reached its 100th episode in January 2019 — an impressive feat considering the conditions camera crews are forced to film under. 

"It's a little bit scary right now because lights dropping and we've seen a predator, like a wolf or a bear or a wolverine, so it kind of freaks me out a lot to be here right now," a producer told The Wrap of filming. "I'm fairly certain that those LA producers did not mention this in my clause... so it's like I never want to go to the bathroom while I'm here for the next fourteen days."  

Is Life Below Zero real? 

Current cast member Sue Aikens accused the series of being scripted in her 2017 lawsuit. There she claimed that she was forced to camp at a spot that she was unfamiliar with, and was told she would have to travel there by snow machine, instead of using an Argo ATV. She also alleged that she was not able to take her pet dog with her, which she was upset about because the "series is not supposed to be scripted."

Sue was eventually thrown from the snow machine, and she went on to reveal that producers did not call for a medic right away in order "to film how much pain plaintiff was suffering, and to film plaintiff walking injured."

Glenn Villeneuve has also had problems with cameramen, and sent him packing. "I'm a big believer in arranging things so that I don't have to work or spend time with people I don't like," he explained. "That is a priority for me."

Who narrates Life Below Zero

James Franzo is the iconic voice behind Life Below Zero. James has been the narrator on the show since its premiere and has lent his voice to all 124 episodes that have aired on the National Geographic. You can see him at work here. 

Why did Kate leave Life Below Zero

Andy Bassich's ex-wife, Kate Rorke, left the series in 2015, after the couple split. She eventually opened up about the divorce, and accused Andy of physical and mental abuse. She is currently living back home in Canada, where she gave her fans an update. 

"It's good to be home," Kate said in a video post. "The memories are good, the friends are good, and it's nice to be around people who have known me since the beginning of time it seems as we get older... You guys, you all got me here and you saved my life in a way, so love to you. Over and out." 

How much does Life Below Zero pay? 

Each member of the Life Below Zero cast has a very different net worth. At the top are Sue Aiken and Jesse Holmes, who are worth an estimated $500,000. Next up is Andy Bassich, who has a net worth of $250,000. Glenn Villeneuve's salary is reportedly $200,000 per year while Chip and Agnes Hailstone have an estimated $200,000 in the bank.  

Latest Life Below Zero News and Updates

  • Jessie Holmes
    Reality TV

    Fans Are Dying to Know Whether Jessie Holmes of 'Life Below Zero' Has a Wife

    Who is Jessie Holmes' wife on 'Life Below Zero'? Fans are rooting for him to have someone special, but he's very private with his personal life.
    By Kori Williams
  • Jessie Holmes in 'Life Below Zero'
    Reality TV

    Jessie Holmes' Injury Was a Major Wake-up Call for Him on 'Life Below Zero'

    We're getting a glimpse into how Jessie Holmes' right arm injury has affected his survival skills on 'Life Below Zero'. How did he get injured?
    By Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga
  • Sue Aikens on 'Life Below Zero'
    Reality TV

    You Can Visit Kavik River Camp From 'Life Below Zero' in Real Life

    Kavik River Camp from 'Life Below Zero' is real and you can visit it and stay there yourself. Where is it located? Details inside.
    By Chrissy Bobic
  • Jessie Holmes
    Reality TV

    Take a Look at Jessie Holmes' Life Outside of 'Life Below Zero: Alaska'

    'Life Below Zero' gives fans a candid look at life off the grid, and star Jessie Holmes is making his way through the thick of it. Who is he? Details.
    By Chris Barilla
  • Sue Aikens
    Reality TV

    Sue of 'Life Below Zero' Waited 10 Days for Help After Being Attacked by a Bear

    Sue Aikens knows how close she is to the wilderness living in remote Alaska. So when she was attacked by a bear, she wasn't exactly surprised.
    By Kori Williams
  • Life Below Zero
    Reality TV

    The Stars of 'Life Below Zero' Make More Money Than You Might Think

    How much do the people on 'Life Below Zero' make? The National Geographic show follows people who live in temperatures regularly minus 60 degrees F.
    By Kori Williams
  • Johnny Rolfe
    Reality TV

    'Life Below Zero: Next Generation' Cast Members Test Themselves in the Alaskan Wilderness

    'Life Below Zero: Next Generation' surely has an eclectic cast, but who exactly is on the show? Here's what we know about those who took part.
    By Chris Barilla
  • Jessi and Chris Morse
    Human Interest

    Chris and Jessi Morse From 'Life Below Zero: Next Generation' Don't Consider Money a Priority

    Chris and Jessi Morse are known for their roles on 'Life Below Zero: Next Generation,' but do we know their net worths? Details on their finances.
    By Chris Barilla
  • Oliver Lynch
    Human Interest

    The Truth About The Death of 'Life Below Zero' Cameraman Oliver Lynch

    Oliver Lynch was a cameraman for the first three seasons of 'Life Before Zero.' He died in 2015 — details.
    By Stephanie Harper
  • Kate Rorke

    Former 'Life Below Zero' Star Kate Rorke's Life Has Changed a Lot Since Leaving the Show

    What happened to Kate on 'Life Below Zero'? There have been some major shifts since her departure. Here's where Andy Bassich's ex-wife is today.
    By Distractify Staff
  • Michael Manzo

    Michael Manzo Had a Completely Different Life Before 'Life Below Zero'

    How did canoe-maker Michael Manzo end up on 'Life Before Zero'? The fan favorite was a U.S. soldier for years before his time on the series.
    By Katie Garrity
  • Andy Bassich

    Here's Why 'Life Below Zero' Star Andy Bassich Was Using Crutches

    What happened to Andy Bassich on 'Life Below Zero'? Here's why he had to use crutches, and how his girlfriend is helping post-surgery.
    By Anna Quintana
  • Johnny Rolfe and Java
    Reality TV

    Johnny Rolfe and His Dog, Java, Have Captured Fans' Hearts on 'Life Below Zero'

    Johnny Rolfe is a cast member on 'Life Below Zero,' and he has taken his role on the show rather seriously since joining. But who exactly is he?
    By Chris Barilla
  • Kaleb and Brittany Rowland on 'Life Below Zero: Next Generation'

    Kaleb Rowland and His Wife Are Committed to Teaching Their Kids How to Become Self-Sustaining

    Kaleb Rowland has been living out in the Alaskan wilderness with his wife and two children. Learn more about this 'Life Below Zero: New Generation' cast member.
    By Pippa Raga
  • what happened chip hailstone brother
    Reality TV

    Chip Hailstone's Brother Suffered a Gnarly Injury on 'Life Before Zero'

    What happened to Chip Hailstone's brother Willie on 'Life Below Zero?' Here is everything you need to know about his injury.
    By Mustafa Gatollari
  • rickoe dewilde brother life below zero cover
    Reality TV

    The Dewilde Family From 'Life Below Zero' Has Undergone a Scary Family Tragedy

    Victor, the brother of Ricko DeWilde from 'Life Below Zero' spoke to the death of their sister Riba, from her son Eli Simpson.
    By Mustafa Gatollari
  • sue aikens weight loss

    'Life Below Zero' Star Sue Aikens Explains How She Lost 75 Pounds in One Year

    Sue Aikens' weight loss transformation took place between seasons of 'Life Below Zero' — here's how she did it.
    By Allison Cacich
  • is ricko dewilde married life below zero

    'Life Below Zero' Star Ricko DeWilde Is a Father of Five!

    Is Ricko DeWilde from 'Life Below Zero' married? The expert hunter and Native Alaskan rarely posts photos with the mother of his five children.
    By Allison Cacich
  • jessi chris life below zero

    Jessi and Chris Don't Need Money on 'Life Below Zero: Next Generation' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Meet Jessi and Chris from 'Life Below Zero: Next Generation,' who made a conscious choice to turn their backs on modern life by going off the grid in Alaska.
    By Anna Quintana
  • glenn villeneuve family

    Glenn Villeneuve's Blended Family Steals the Spotlight on 'Life Below Zero'

    Everything you need to know about Glenn Villeneuve's family — from his kids to his wife — on 'Life Below Zero.'
    By Anna Quintana
  • how real is life below zero

    Freeze! ‘Life Below Zero’ May Not be as Real As You Think

    Find out just how real 'Life Below Zero' really is — you might be surprised by the answer.
    By Gabrielle Bernardini
  • life below zero chip hailstone

    In Case You Forgot, Here Is Why Chip Hailstone Was Missing From 'Life Below Zero'

    Here is everything you need to know about Life Below Zero star Chip Hailstone, from prison time to his family.
    By Anna Quintana
  • why did sue aikens move life below zero

    Here's Why Sue Aikens Is Moving to a New Cabin on 'Life Below Zero'

    Here is why Sue Aikens decided to move from Kavik on 'Life Below Zero,' and take a look at her new house.
    By Anna Quintana
  • jessie iditarod life below zero

    Has 'Life Below Zero' Star Jessie Holmes Ever Won the Iditarod Race?

    'Life Below Zero' star Jesse Holmes is known for competing in the famed Iditarod race in Alaska — but has he ever won?
    By Anna Quintana
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