‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe Went With His Gut Instinct Bringing Danielle Colby Onto the Show

by John Jamison

Give Mike Wolfe credit. The American Pickers star has a great sense of what makes a compelling TV show. Wolfe made executive decisions before his show became a History Channel staple, and the network didn’t always agree. One of those was the addition of Danielle Colby.

If you’ve ever seen American Pickers, then you know it adheres to a relatively simple format. Mike Wolfe, and formerly Frank Fritz, would go out to locations on the advice of their researcher in the office. Initially, that research role didn’t exist. Or rather, it belonged to Wolfe.

The American Pickers star explained how the formula we all know and love came to be during a 2013 interview with Scriptmag.

“The format was underneath my nose, but I hadn’t even seen it until we started making the show. The key was coming up with someone else to do the research that I was doing and that became the format. The structure is based on her… where she sends us, the struggle of what’s going on back at the shop, and her calling to say she just got something appraised,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe’s time was of better use out on the road where the majority of the show took place. Getting the History Channel to leave a camera back at the office with Danielle Colby was a tough enough sell in and of itself.

The Value of Danielle Colby to ‘American Pickers’ Cannot Be Understated

Despite Danielle Colby being a tough sell, Mike Wolfe stuck to his guns, and the network eventually came around. It proved to be one of the best decisions American Pickers could have made. After all, Mike’s goal from the get-go was to make antiques sexy. Okay, maybe not sexy, but more exciting than something like Antiques Roadshow makes them out to be.

Beyond Danielle Colby’s youthful, tattooed appearance was what she brought to the show in terms of personality. Not only has she become a favorite of fans on the show, but she’s also the glue that holds the whole thing together.

“It brings more storyline into it. It brings another relationship, it brings a girl into it. History viewership is 60% male. The first thing I told her was I wanted her to do it because I want to make a show about antiques that no one has ever seen before, and you look like you have nothing to do with antiques. You’re a smart ass, you’re a girl, and we need a girl,” Wolfe continued in the 2013 interview.

Fast forward to today, and Danielle Colby has outlasted original American Pickers star, Frank Fritz. To be fair, Frank was a fan-favorite, and many aren’t happy with his absence. But the fact of the matter is the show still works. At least some of that credit falls on the contribution of Danielle Colby.