‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe Continued Turning Down Offers from Production Companies in Show’s Early Days

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Getty Images

There’s no denying that American Pickers star Mike Wolfe has brought the show a long way over the years. But it’s crazy to think about everything he went through when trying to get the show off the ground.

If you are a fan of the show, then you know that Mike Wolfe has made a life out of picking. He combined his natural talent with lots of research and began to figure out how to bring the idea in his head to the table. Wolfe didn’t always think he would be a television star, especially when he had so much trouble, in the beginning, finding a production company.

‘American Pickers’ Begins To Pick Up Some Interest

Eventually, however, he started to get some interest in what would later turn in into the show, American Pickers. Wolfe sat down with Script Magazine where he told the story about one of the first companies that contacted him.

“I got a call from Scout Productions (‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’). They saw the videos on my website and loved them,” he said. “As a production company, they’d never taken an idea from outside. Everything they’d done was from the inside… but, they loved this, and wanted to work with me. They said they were going to put something on paper, send it to me and get things started.”

Interest is one thing, but Mike Wolfe had other demands that he wanted to be met. Naturally, he wanted to have an influence on where the show went. But Scout Productions offered him nothing of the sort. So, he turned them down.”

“They offered me like next to nothing. No creative control. No EP title. No creator title. Nothing. I don’t know sh—t, but I knew that. I turned it down.”

Wolfe says that the company was surprised when he turned them down.

“They were like, ‘You’re passing on us?’ And I said, yeah, I’m passing. And I walked away. It was one of those things I would either regret the rest of my life or I was going to go beyond it to bigger and better things. But I had to take the risk.”

Mike Wolfe Signs with JWM Productions

Mike Wolfe may have turned down plenty of offers from production companies in the beginning stages of American Pickers. But when it was all said and done, there was one company that he crossed paths with and liked. And that was JWM Productions, who he eventually signed with.

But Mike Wolfe is a perfectionist. Just signing wasn’t good enough for him. He called members of the production team and asked them how he could improve on the show going forward.

“I said, ‘tell me who passed.’ They told him their names. Then I would research the person, get their email, and then contact them myself asking why did you turn it down, what did you like about it?”

It goes without saying that his hard work and relentless attitude has paid off.