‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe Revealed the ‘Biggest Mistake’ During Show’s Creation

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for A+E Networks)

In 2010, the History Channel began a brand-new adventure in reality television. This is when the wildly popular series American Pickers first premiered to audiences.

A smash hit, the show is famous for introducing a new concept to the world of collecting. The series also ended up inspiring many of us to finally sort through those storage spaces we have been filling for so long, hoping to find some priceless collectibles.

With its unique take on building collections in interesting ways, such as diving into some hidden collections in homes and businesses all across the country, American Pickers has long captured the interest of a wide variety of audiences.

It may be a major hit now, but, Picker’s creator, Mike Wolfe, says that developing the show wasn’t an easy task in the beginning.

Primarily, the host says, the idea of the show as it is today wasn’t the easiest task to develop. According to Wolfe, figuring out how to communicate his love for picking into a concept fit for a television series was more of a struggle than he had anticipated.

“The biggest mistake I made was in the proof of concept,” the American Pickers creator explains in a recent interview with Script Magazine.

“Can this guy do this?” Wolfe continues of the roadblocks he faced while developing the popular series.

“The idea looks great,” he adds. “But can you do it?”

‘American Pickers’ Host Had To Figure Out Screen-Time

From attics to garages, to basements, barns, or even hidden crawl spaces, the American Pickers take their viewers with them as they venture out into some unique settings.

The Pickers spend their days digging through properties for one-of-a-kind antiques or collectible pieces. And, audiences have loved it since day one.

But, Wolfe notes, the concept wasn’t always clear to potential showrunners during the show’s creation.

“That’s where I failed,” the American Pickers creator explains of developing the series’s concept.

According to Wolfe, part of the struggle was deciding on how the hosts, meaning himself and his fellow pickers, would be portrayed on the series. After all, for Wolfe, it wasn’t about star-power or screentime. The series was all about the picking.

“I had tons of footage of picking,” the History Channel star explains.

“But nothing on us,” Mike Wolfe continues. “And that’s where I dropped the ball.”

While pieces were missing from Mike Wolfe’s selling of American Pickers, in the beginning, the popular television host does note that he thinks these shortcomings were beneficial to the development of the show in the long run.

“I think what helped me was being so naïve to the process,” Mike Wolfe explains in the 2013 interview. Wolfe also adds that his dedication to making the show work is what drove the concept to its eventual success.

“I wasn’t going to let it fail,” the American Picker explains. “I didn’t care about anything on the backend of it, I just cared about the show.”