‘American Pickers’: How Mike Wolfe Says He Reacted When History Channel First Picked Up Show

by Clayton Edwards

American Pickers had humble beginnings. The show that is a hit today wasn’t much more than a vlog in its infancy. Mike Wolfe mounted a camera on his dash and talked while he drove from place to place. Then, he would film some of the actual picking action. When he got home, he would edit those videos down and post it on his website. He used that footage to pitch the concept of what would become the current History Channel staple.

This wasn’t an easy sell for Mike Wolfe. In fact, he tried to get the show off the ground for five years. Several networks shot the idea down immediately. Wolfe had a couple of offers over the years. However, they weren’t good deals. Wolfe didn’t know much about the entertainment industry. He did know that he wanted creative control over his show. After all, it was his passion project and he wouldn’t sell the show or himself short.

Finally, Mike Wolfe teamed up with Cine Flix Productions. They sent a cameraman with him on a three-day pick in the Northeast. During that time, the cameraman recorded plenty dof picking footage. However, he also did something that Wolfe had never done. He recorded an interview with Wolfe and Fritz. The interview showcased their personalities and passion for picking as well as their chemistry. It helped them sell the show.

In 2013, Mike Wolfe told Script all about his reaction to finally hearing that he sold the show to The History Channel.

Mike Wolfe Gets Big News

Mike Wolfe waited for news from Cineflix. However, he didn’t have high hopes. After years of going nowhere, he knew better than to hang everything on one outing. Then, they called him and said that they sold the show to the History Channel.

Mike Wolfe told Script, “I asked if they had it in writing and he said, ‘No, but History said they wanted it.’”

Wolfe had already been through this before, so he didn’t believe it. “As soon as you have something in writing, call me,” he told Cineflix. At that point, Mike Wolfe was hardly returning the production company’s calls. However, that all changed one day. Wolfe told Script, “Finally, the head of development from Cineflix, Charles Tremayne, flies into Tennessee and tells me History has bought the show and is going to start filming soon.”

That sounded great. However, Tremayne admitted that he didn’t have anything in writing. He told Mike Wolfe, “Trust me. We will be here September 8th and start filming.” Wolfe wasn’t convinced. He simply said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

After that, Wolfe got a good lawyer and drew up a contract. The rest, as they say, is history.