You’d think someone who spent five years trying to get his show off the ground would want to be as hands-on as possible. But when it came time to pitch “American Pickers” to networks officially, Mike Wolfe took a backseat to a production company that liked what they saw in the idea. In hindsight, Wolfe is relieved they handled the pitch instead of him.
Wolfe was obviously passionate about his show idea and wanted nothing more than to have it made. It was quite literally his life. If “American Pickers” didn’t exist, there’s a strong chance Mike Wolfe would still be driving around the country looking for cool antiques.
So he was already doing the picking work while trying to make the show happen. For years, he filmed himself going out on picks, documenting his finds. Finally, by sheer luck, Wolfe made the connection that changed his life.
At a funeral, of all places, he linked up with an old high school buddy who had become a pretty big name in UFC circles. He liked Mike Wolfe’s show idea. So he mentioned it to someone he knew from a production company. He unknowingly brought them one of the biggest shows they’d ever tackle.
‘American Pickers’ Star Mike Wolfe Didn’t Understand the Television Business
Mike Wolfe had plenty of passion. However, none of it had to do with the inner workings of getting a television show made. There’s no shame in that whatsoever. It simply wasn’t his wheelhouse. So when JWM Productions, a company with a popular show on the History Channel, got involved, Wolfe was prepared to take a step back.
Handing his passion project over to people with far different intentions couldn’t have been easy. Looking back, however, Wolfe is glad that he left the work of convincing the network to the professionals.
“JWM never filmed me, never asked me any questions. They had some guy pitching my show who didn’t even understand it. But you have to realize when to hold them and when to fold them. If I had been in the room back then and in on the pitching process, I probably would have said all the wrong things and would have been maybe a little bit too emotional about it,” Wolfe told Scriptmag in 2013.
It would have been easy for Wolfe to demand complete control over the “American Pickers” process. Fortunately, he had the self-awareness to realize he was out of his depth when it came to pitching a TV show.
“I didn’t really understand the business side of things and what the network was actually looking for, or if we could deliver it. So, I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there. I learned a lot,” the “American Pickers” star continued in the interview.