'Moonshiners' Star Jim Tom Hedrick Dead at 82

Jim Tom Hedrick of "Moonshiners" has died ... TMZ has confirmed.

A family member of JT's tells us he passed away Wednesday morning in Robbinsville, NC -- although the exact circumstances are unclear. What we do know, per the relative, is that JT had kidney cancer and was receiving dialysis for a long time.

We're told Jim was in a nursing home for the last year, and photos of him in a hospital bed had been posted in recent months.

A statement from Sugarlands Distilling Co reads, "Jim Tom dedicated much of his life to the art of moonshining, becoming a legend in Appalachia along the way. Jim Tom’s well-earned reputation as one of the most skilled moonshiners in the South earned him a role on the hit television program Moonshiners, where his colorful personality endeared Jim Tom to the hearts of millions."

SDC goes on to say Jim Tom was one of the veteran moonshiners in the area who embraced them when they opened their doors ... and his stamp of approval went a long way.

Jim Tom appeared on several seasons of the long-running Discovery reality series -- which chronicles moonshiners running their illegal booze biz all throughout the Appalachian mountains. He joined during Season 2 in 2012 and stuck around through 2017.

He was known for his unique personality and manners of speaking -- not to mention his storytelling and, of course, his pristine skill at making homemade alcohol out in nature.

He was 82.


'Shark Week' Get Ready for 'Alien Shark' Sex Tapes!!!


Wildlife biologist Forrest Galante is literally diving into the unknown to explore bizarre and rare sharks -- and while the potential danger is high, he says the never-before-seen footage they captured makes it all worth it for him.

That video will be front and center next week for Discovery's "Shark Week," and Forrest joined us Friday on "TMZ Live" to give us a peek at what he found off the coast of South Africa ... including some frisky, and violent mating habits.

Forrest's special is called, "Alien Sharks: Strange New Worlds" ... and he says it shines a light on sharks that don't get the publicity of great whites, hammerheads and tiger sharks.

While he swears most of the sharks in our vast, mostly unexplored oceans are harmless, he admits humans truly don't know what all is down there -- which, frankly, sounds pretty scary.

There's a happy ending here though -- Forrest and the Discovery crew came back to the surface with some historic footage ... pyjama sharks having sex on camera!!!

No word if these striped sharks have an OnlyFins.

'Gold Rush: White Water' Dakota Fred Hurt Dead at 80

Dakota Fred Hurt, one of the stars of the Discovery show, "Gold Rush: White Water," is dead after a brief battle with brain cancer.

Dakota Fred died Tuesday, according to a statement from his family ... this only 4 months after he was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. The fam says Dakota Fred fought his cancer battle "courageously" and died with loved ones by his side.

Dakota Fred's loved ones say they are remembering Dakota Fred as someone who "touched many lives and was loved and supported by many" ... while 'Gold Rush' says "his joy for life and adventure was contagious."

Dakota Fred got his start gold mining in North Dakota way back in the day, and that's how he ended up mining for gold in Alaska on 'Gold Rush.'

He appears in the show's first 4 seasons.

A fan favorite, Dakota Fred and his son, Dustin, returned to the franchise in 2018 with their own spinoff show, "Gold Rush: White Water," this time dredging for gold in whitewater collection pools at the base of Alaskan waterfalls.

Dakota Fred was 80.


Holly Madison & Zak Bagans We're Dating Again!!!

Zak Bagans and Holly Madison are officially back together ... rekindling their romance nearly two years after they broke up.

Sources close to the couple tell TMZ ... Zak and Holly are an item again and, actually, had never really fallen out of touch. You'll recall, it was an amicable split back in 2021 -- and our sources say that proved to be true because they've been communicating on and off ever since.

Holly and Zak had known each other for years, but their romance didn't start until after her May 2019 visit to Zak's Haunted Museum in Las Vegas.

We're told Holly travels back and forth between L.A. and Vegas because of her kids, and Zak travels a ton for the filming of his show ... but they still find time to see each other almost every week.

The couple have kept their relationship mostly out of the public eye and have rarely been photographed together. Last month Holly wished Zak a happy birthday on IG with a photo of a clown birthday cake.

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We broke the story when the "Ghost Adventures" star and former Playboy model ended their relationship after 2 years of dating.


Both of them have a lot to celebrate these days -- Discovery Channel renewed Holly's show "The Playboy Murders" for a second season and Zak's "Ghost Adventures" series was recently picked up by the network.

Holly famously dated Hugh Hefner, while starring on the reality show "The Girls Next Door." She went on to marry Pasquale Rotella, with whom she had 2 kids, before he filed for divorce in 2018.

'NAKED & AFRAID' CONTESTANT My Penis is Still a Working Unit ... Survived Flame Exposure!!!


The "Naked And Afraid" contestant who burned the tip of his penis on hot coals has a very positive health update ... especially if you're his wife!

Sam Mouzer, a survivalist featured on the Discovery series, tells TMZ ... his penis is fully working again after his grueling -- and super cringe to watch -- medical emergency.


TMZ broke the story ... Sam's burning moment was captured as he filmed his episode for the new season -- an ember popped from the campfire, scorched his family pride and prompted him to scream out in pain.

Sam tells us he and fellow contestant, Lilly, were getting peppered with hot coals that fateful night in New Mexico ... and it was only a matter of time before one landed in the wrong spot.

Bullseye!!! He says it actually felt like putting out a cigarette on bare skin.

Sam says the pain was sudden and sharp, then the discomfort deepened and his penis started throbbing. Heard enough?

The good news ... Sam's back home in the United Kingdom after surviving 21 days in the Wild West, and he's having sex with his wife again. He also says the wound didn't get infected, so he's got a special 'thank you' for the show's medical staff.


Sam says he did come home with a little souvenir ... a very small blemish on the tip, which he refers to as his "Naked And Afraid" tattoo. Sounds like lots of contestants have them, he was just unlucky enough to get his in a very delicate area.

Given the chance to do it all over again, Sam's choosing a cup as his survival item. 😭


The family of the late "Street Outlaws: Fastest in America" star Ryan Fellows claims both TV networks and studios put his life at risk for financial gain by having him race on an unsafe stretch of road ... and now they're suing over his fatal crash.

According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, the Fellows family is going after Warner Bros. Discovery and Lions Gate Entertainment ... accusing the media corporations of negligence they insist led to Ryan's death.

In the docs, the family says the area where 'Street Outlaws' filmed drag racing scenes was a dusty, weather-beaten, rough asphalt 55-mile per hour roadway in the Las Vegas desert, which didn't meet any of the industry safety standards for drag racing.

TMZ broke the story ... Ryan died back in August in a fiery crash during filming for his popular Discovery show. We were told Ryan was racing another driver when he lost control of his car near the finish line, with the vehicle rolling before catching fire.

In the docs, Ryan's family says the roadway where he crashed was only 12 feet wide instead of the industry standard of 30 feet. They also say the sides of the road featured broken asphalt and gravel shoulders with sheer drop-offs, instead of the industry standard concrete barriers.

Ryan's family claims there were numerous crashes during filming, including cars flipping, rolling and catching fire ... and they rip the media giants for filming life-threatening collisions and airing them on TV for profit.

The family claims the rough asphalt caused racecars to lose traction, the narrow lanes left drivers no room for corrections and the gravel shoulders and drop-offs sent racecars into out-of-control slides that only ended when the vehicles dug into the sand, flipped and rolled.

The Fellows say Warner Bros. Discovery knew it was extremely dangerous to hold races on the roadway ... and they claim it was an "extreme departure from what a reasonable careful person would do in the same situation to prevent harm to others."

It gets worse ... Ryan's family says Warner Bros. Discovery had multiple opportunities to move filming to a safer location after "numerous horrific crashes," but they say the network instead "sat back, flipped on the lights and cameras, and waited for the next inevitable crash."

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That crash happened August 7, when Ryan's family claims his racecar lost traction on the roadway, slid off the road and flipped into a roll. The Fellows say Ryan's car rolled multiple times before coming to a rest upside down and catching fire, and they claim he hung upside down in the driver's seat on fire for more than 30 minutes before fire crews removed him from the car. By that time, the family says Ryan was horribly burned and dead.

The Fellows say after Ryan's death Warner Bros. Discovery moved the show to a dedicated 75-foot-wide drag strip at a professional California raceway ... and the family says the change "proves the availability and feasibility of a safer alternative to the unsafe desert roadway."

Ryan's family is now suing the media companies and they want punitive and compensatory damages because they say his death is causing suffering and loss of love and companionship.

We reached out to Warner Bros. Discovery ... so far no word back.

'Naked and Afraid' Contestant Melanie Rauscher Died From Huffing Air Canisters

"Naked and Afraid" contestant Melanie Rauscher accidentally died from sucking in a lethal amount of compressed air used in cleaning products, this according to her autopsy report.

35-year-old Melanie was found dead near cans of dust cleaner in Prescott, AZ, on July 17. The report, obtained from the Yavapai County Medical Examiner, says that Melanie inhaled the toxic propellant, leaving her unresponsive.

Her official cause of death was listed as difluoroethane toxicity, which is commonly known as "huffing" among young adults looking for a quick and cheap way to get high. The report noted that drugs and alcohol did not play a role in her death.

As we reported, Melanie was dog-sitting at a residence whose owners returned home from vacation to find her deceased on the bed in the guest room.


Melanie was a contestant on "Naked and Afraid" in 2013 and the spinoff show 'XL' in 2015.

'Deadliest Catch' Russia Launches Missile After Fishing Dispute 'Did Russia Shoot A F---ing Missile?!!'


The "Deadliest Catch" fishing boat kinda got entangled in geopolitics, after Russia launched a missile almost immediately after a nearby ship had a run-in with a Russian fishing boat.

The video is crazy ... the crew on D.C.'s Time Bandit was cruising along off Alaska, when someone screamed to look up toward the sun. Sure enough, they saw a missile shooting into the skies just as plain as day.

Apparently, another ship called Wizard had a run-in with a Russian fishing boat, near the U.S.-Russia border. The crews on each boat exchanged words before the folks on the Wizard told the Russian crew to scram.

During the back and forth, the Time Bandit was called for back-up. The Russian ship ended up retreating ... when suddenly things took a scary turn.

You hear someone from Time Bandit's crew scream, "Did Russia shoot a missile, dude?"

Someone responds ... "It's coming right for us, captain!"

You can catch the full episode on Discovery tonight at 8 PM.

'Naked And Afraid' Contestant Melanie Rauscher Dead at 35

"Naked and Afraid" contestant Melanie Rauscher has died under mysterious circumstances in Arizona -- her body was recently found near cans of dust cleaner, TMZ has learned.

Melanie, who appeared on 2 seasons of the popular Discovery Channel show, was dog sitting at a residence in Prescott, AZ while the homeowners were away on vacation, according to Corey Kasun, a rep for the Prescott Police Department.

The homeowners returned on the afternoon of July 17 and found Melanie deceased on the bed in the guest room, Kasun said.

We're told several cans of compressed air -- which can be used to clean dust off computers -- were found near her body. It's unclear if Melanie consumed the contents of the cans.

Cops say there were no obvious signs of foul play, and they did not find a suicide note or drug paraphernalia. The dog was okay.

The Yavapai County Medical Examiner will determine Melanie's cause of death.

Melanie was mainly a contestant on "Naked and Afraid" in 2013 and the spinoff show 'XL' in 2015. Close castmate Jeremy McCaa posted a touching tribute to Melanie on his FB page, saying he was "feeling broken."

Melanie was 35.


Trump Doc 'Unprecedented' Airs Publicly After Congress Subpoena ... No Smoking Gun???

The documentary about Donald Trump that Congress subpoenaed has finally aired -- but there doesn't seem to be too much hard-hitting evidence that wasn't already known.

Filmmaker Alex Holder's 3-part movie, "Unprecedented," debuted publicly on Discovery+ Sunday ... but from the reviews recapping what was actually shown as it relates to Jan. 6 -- it sounds like no smoking gun exists in the footage, or at least in what Holder put out.

Congress seized 11 hours worth of film -- and also had AH testify behind closed doors as well -- but ya gotta figure anything truly damning would've been included in the final cut ... and so far, it doesn't seem like Trump said or did anything we haven't heard before.

Several outlets which have watched the doc have done thorough recaps, and as far as Jan. 6 is concerned -- it appears Holder only got Trump/his family on camera after the fact.


None of his kids opted to discuss it, but DT himself reportedly said this in the movie ... "Well it was a sad day, but it was a day where there was great anger in our country."

He adds, "People went to Washington primarily because they were angry with an election that they think was rigged. A very small portion, as you know, went down to the Capitol, and then a very small portion of them went in. But I will tell you they were angry from the standpoint of what happened in the election because they're smart and they see and they saw what happened. And I believe that that was a big part of what happened on Jan. 6th."


Aside from that, there doesn't appear to be much else about Trump's mindset during the actual day itself ... but frankly, everyone has seen what he said publicly that day -- and there's also been testimony during these hearings that have shed some damaging light.

What Holder did make good on was his promise to us that his doc would expose that Trump's campaign laid the groundwork for this whole mess right on election night ... when they started rolling out an insidious strategy to try and keep Trump in office, at any cost.

Fox News

That much was certainly made clear. Congress's interpretation of the doc are expected to be included in forthcoming hearings ... time will tell what they have to say about it.

Trump Documentary Presidential Campaign Led To January 6th Riot Says Filmmaker Alex Holder


Filmmaker Alex Holder thinks his upcoming Trump documentary paints a clear picture of how former President Donald Trump and his team incited a riot at the Capitol.

Alex joined us on "TMZ Live" Friday and says Trump and co. were a hostile bunch as he interviewed them in the months that led up to the January 6th insurrection -- using words like "belligerent" to describe their tone.

Fox News

His interviews with the former President were filled with anger, and says he spoke to Trump months after Jan 6 at Mar-a-Lago, who still stuck to his story about "smart people" rightfully fighting for what they thought was right.

He says the series, which premieres Sunday on Discovery+, will follow a couple of storylines ... one about how Trump allowed the riots to take place, and another about the dynamic between DT and his kids -- something he finds just as interesting.


As we reported, Alex's footage was subpoenaed by the House Committee last month, using it as evidence to prove Trump was involved in causing the Capitol riot.

'Bering Sea Gold' Brady Kelly Cops Plea in Assault ... Sentenced to Hard Time

Brad Kelly, the star of Discovery Channel's "Bering Sea Gold," will serve prison time after striking a plea deal for a brutal domestic violence case in Alaska ... TMZ has learned.

The reality TV star was arrested back in February after beating up a woman with whom he shares a child. Cops said hospital staff told them the woman suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck in the head.

According to the police report, obtained by TMZ, the woman told cops she got into an argument with Kelly, went to sleep and woke up to find him standing over her in a pool of her own blood.

Kelly told officers the woman fell and hit her head on a table, but he was arrested and charged with second-degree assault domestic violence.

Kelly's attorney, Jon-Marc Petersen, tells TMZ ... his client pled guilty to felony assault and prosecutors dropped the remaining charges.

Kelly was sentenced to 4 years behind bars, with 3 of those years being suspended. His lawyer says Kelly could be released after 8 months ... as long as he keeps his nose clean behind bars. Once he's out, he'll be on probation for 5 years.

Corrections officials tell us Kelly has been in custody since Feb. 11, but they are not providing a projected release date.

January 6th New Trump Documentary ... Former President Opens Up About January 6th


There could be a "Watergate moment" in the January 6th hearings ... because there are HOURS of footage not just before the insurrection, but on that very day and after ... and the House Committee has now subpoenaed all of it.

Filmmaker Alex Holder had incredible access to Donald Trump and his family from September 2020 right through January 6th.

Somehow this all flew under the radar until this week ... and it could provide the Committee with not only video showing Trump's state of mind after he lost the election -- something critical for the Justice Dept. in deciding whether to prosecute him -- but it could show what Trump was doing while rioters stormed the Capitol.

Discovery just released a trailer for the doc, and it's apparent Trump opens up about January 6th. This is incredibly significant because if the interviews were done shortly after the insurrection, Trump would have been oblivious to how this all eventually played out with Congress and the public. In other words, he may have expressed his true feelings.

We don't know if Holder was filming in the Oval Office on January 6th ... if he was, it would show Trump glued to the TV and, even more important, what he was saying as various officials and family members begged him to put a halt to the attack on the Capitol.

As for why this could be a "Watergate moment" ... back in '73, no one knew about the secret Nixon tapes in the Oval office until mid-hearings, and that's what brought Nixon down.


For Holder's part, he said ... "When we began this project in September 2020, we could have never predicted that our work would one day be subpoenaed by Congress," he said. "As a British filmmaker, I had no agenda coming into this. We simply wanted to better understand who the Trumps were and what motivated them to hold onto power so desperately. We have dutifully handed over all the materials the Committee has asked for and we are fully cooperating."

The doc will run on Discovery+ sometime this summer in 3 parts.

Stay tuned ...

'Alaskan Bush People' Bear Brown Play By The Rules ... Assault Charges Could Disappear

"Alaskan Bush People" star Bear Brown could have a clean slate when it comes to the assault charge he's facing, but he's gonna have to put some serious work in over the next 6 months to make it happen.

According to court docs obtained by TMZ, Bear has agreed to satisfy a bunch of conditions before his next hearing in November -- and if he's successful, the charge will be dismissed.

As for the conditions -- he's gotta let the court know if he changes his address, pay a total of $270 in fees, and ditch all of his firearms. Of course, he also can't get arrested, violate any criminal laws, or commit any acts of violence/harassment to another person.

If he can check all those boxes, his domestic violence assault charge will be thrown out.

TMZ broke the story ... Bear was arrested and booked for 4th-degree domestic violence last month, after an argument with his wife Raiven Adams. Raiven claims things escalated and he pushed and pinned her down on a bed ... though Bear insisted he just tried to grab her phone and never got physical.

Cops claimed the only injury they observed on Adams was a scratch ... but it was enough to make an arrest.

The two tied the knot in January after getting engaged in 2019, the relationship has been rocky at times, but the couple ultimately decided to stay together.

Prior to his agreement, Bear was looking at the possibility of up to a year in jail and a $5k fine.

'Naked and Afraid XL' Contestant Poops Out Tomato Seeds For Garden ... Plants Are Growing!!!


"Naked and Afraid XL" contestant Dan Link is getting creative in growing his own food in the Amazon ... using undigested tomato seeds from his poop to grow plants, and it's working!

Dan, a survivalist who's appeared in two previous seasons of "Naked and Afraid," planned out his poop seed garden way in advance ... eating a bunch of tomatoes before getting shipped off to a rainforest in Peru to film the new season.

The move is paying off ... Dan took a dump in the woods and mixed in some dirt, then added water ... and now there are plants sprouting from the ground.

Dan's garden is growing so well, he's been moving the seeds around ... and now there are three garden terraces, which are growing like crazy.

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The unique tomato garden is featured in Sunday's episode of "Naked and Afraid XL" airing at 8 PM ET on Discovery.

Dan is among the contestants trying to hold out for 60 days in the rainforest ... and based on the video, he seems stoked to eat his poop seed tomatoes once they're ripe.

Bon Appetit???

'Alaskan Bush People' Bear Brown Arrested For Domestic Violence


9:21 AM PT -- According to the police report, obtained by TMZ, the argument between Raiven and Brown was caused over a back and forth the two had about cleaning their camp trailer for a move. Raiven told cops she asked Brown to watch their son, and things blew up from there.


In the report, Raiven claims things got physical between her and Brown -- and he allegedly pushed and pinned her down on a bed. Officers say they observed a scratch on Raiven, but no other physical injuries.


However, during the argument, Raiven was also on the phone with some of her family members -- who told cops they could hear Raiven yell, "Ow, you're hurting me!" and could hear Brown calling her a "bitch."


For his part, Brown told cops he attempted to grab Raiven's phone, but never got physical with her. That clearly wasn't enough for cops, who placed him under arrest.

"Alaskan Bush People" star Bear Brown has been arrested for domestic violence and is now in the Okanogan County Jail ... as the show kicks off its 13th season.

34-year-old Solomon Isaiah Freedom Brown -- AKA "Bear" -- was booked Friday for 4th-degree domestic violence. He was released Monday without bail.

Brown married Raiven Adams in January of this year, after getting engaged in August 2019. Just 2 weeks after their engagement he said they "made the difficult decision to part ways as a couple."

The day after their split, they announced Adams' pregnancy, and decided to give their relationship another shot. They separated again, before reconciling once more. Brown held his son, River, for the first time at 6 months old.

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"Alaskan Bush People" is currently in its 13th season on the Discovery Channel ... the show follows the Brown family that considers themselves a "wolf pack" -- isolating themselves from civilization for months at a time, attempting to survive in the wilderness.

The Sun was first to report the arrest.

We have reached out to Bear's reps, Discovery Channel, and the Sheriff's Office that made the arrest ... so far, no word back.

Originally Published -- 6:45 AM PT

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