‘American Pickers’ Ratings Revealed For First Episode After Frank Fritz’s Stroke

by Alex Falls

Former American Pickers co-host Frank Fritz suffered a stroke earlier this month and has been hospitalized ever since. His former castmates have since spoken out and offered many words of support. As have countless viewers via social media.

Fritz was let go from the show a year before his stroke. Ever since Mike Wolfe has carried on with American Pickers with his brother Robbie. The show has been on a break since Fritz’s hospitalization, but this week History Channel aired the first episode since the incident.

According to The Sun, the first episode since the news broke brought in higher ratings compared to episodes beforehand.

The July 23rd episode drew 901,000 viewers. The new episode came after History Channel through an American Pickers marathon focused on old episodes featuring Fritz.

For comparison, viewership for the July 9th season premiere came in at 833,000 viewers. It was the first episode after a four-month break.

Ratings have been in decline since Fritz left the show. Season 23 of American Pickers kicked off on January 1st and drew 1,050,000 viewers. But by the end of the season, viewer interest started to wane as only 830,000 viewers watched the March 12th episode. 

Fans on Fritz

Fans started to turn sour on American Pickers after Wolfe decided to fire Fritz. He was a fan favorite. And once he was gone, viewers felt the show had become stale. Many voiced their concerns on Twitter with many sharing the opinion that it’s “Not the same without Frank.”

One viewer noted the show changed its format after the hosting shake-up. “Very dry and boring without Frank – scripted, no freestylin’; a very different show. I understand that he isn’t coming back but you should have ended the original show and started a new one moving forward.”

Another was harsher in their opinion. Writing, “Haven’t watched since 2020 when Frankie got canned. Not going to waste my time on this stuff ever again… I wish they would take this new garbage off the History Channel. It’s a great station.”

Fritz After ‘American Pickers’

Fritz last appeared on American Pickers in March 2020. He took time off for major back surgery that left him with 185 stitches and two steel rods in his spine. Fritz got healthy, lost 65 pounds, and even sobered up. He was ready to return to the show, but his firing was announced in July 2021. Fritz’s comments at the time signified the growing rift between him and Wolfe.

“I haven’t talked to Mike in two years,” Fritz said in 2021. “He knew my back was messed up, but he didn’t call me up and ask how I was doing. That’s just how it is. The show is tilted towards [Mike] 1,000 percent. I can’t even bend that far down to show you how much. That’s fine… It’s like you’ve got Aerosmith and there’s Steven Tyler and he’s the frontman. I found my spot, I’m second and he’s number one on the show. That’s no problem with me, maybe he does have a problem.”

Despite the fued, Wolfe was the one to announce Fritz’s stroke and hospitalization. In the announcement, Wolfe asked for “thoughts and prayers” for “his friend.” However, he’s also received criticism for the post as some fans still feel slighted by Fritz’s firing.