‘American Pickers’: Do ‘Rare’ Items Get Planted on the Show?

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by CHANCE YEH/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Ever since 2010, the crew at American Pickers has been entertaining fans on History Channel. They find the items, pay cash and flip for a profit. However, reality television isn’t always rooted in reality. While the basic premise of the show is real, some parts are given help to really make them pop.

Fans have long wondered if parts of the show are staged. While nothing is 100% made up, it isn’t always what it appears on the screen. While Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have decades of experience collecting and finding great picks, their success rate on the show is higher than in real life. Not every pick has those valuable items.

So, the truth of the matter is, producers, get involved more than it seems. Part of shooting a great episode of American Pickers has to do with the setting. Old barns, outbuildings, shipping containers, and more. That is where Frank and Mike enjoy picking. So, the producers find places to fit that ideal setting. They also find items that will wow viewers and occasionally plant them in locations.

While this doesn’t mean that the deals on the show are fake, the “owner” of the items isn’t always the owner. Basically, if someone owns a property that fits the aesthetic, but doesn’t have any great items, producers will take the items to the location. That means that the deal has usually been made prior to the filming, but both the American Pickers and the owners on the shows make it seem real enough.

When it comes to filming entertaining television for over a decade, sometimes a little embellishment is needed. Whether it happens naturally or not is up for discussion. However, the show remains interesting and viewers tune in to see the next great item on the show.

‘American Pickers’ Without Frank Fritz

By this point, viewers know that Frank Fritz is no longer with the show. The last time he appeared on an episode of American Pickers was back in March 2020. In fact, Mike Wolfe and Fritz have not spoken to one another in over two years. For friends that grew up and went to the same high school together, that is a hard turn left.

What doomed the relationship is up for debate. While Wolfe maintains that he still deeply cares for Frank and hopes to have him back on the show one day, that isn’t the case on the other side. Fritz accuses Mike of not calling or checking in after he hurt his back. Then, Fritz allegedly went back into his battle with alcohol addiction.

It is all a personal drama that doesn’t seem to have a solution. Fans have not been happy with the change, and many want to see Frank back on the show. However, with the two years between the two, that doesn’t seem likely to happen at all.