‘American Pickers’: Viewers Only See a Small Percentage of the Hundreds of Items Mike Wolfe Buys

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

It’s no secret that much of what we see of reality shows is only a fraction of the footage the camera crews get, but according to American Pickers host Mike Wolfe, this goes double for the number of items he buys on his road trips. Wolfe makes his living off of picking, so it’s not surprising that he needs to bring a lot of items back to his store in order to see a profit. After all, much of the items we see on the show range in price from a couple of bucks to several thousand. So, if a seller has a garage packed full of old relics and antiques, you can bet that Wolfe is taking a lot of those items with him.

As much as the American Pickers star would like to show more of his exploits on the road, there are so many hours in the day and minutes in the episode. So, in order to satisfy both the business side and the entertainment side of the show, he tells the story behind a couple of the most significant or interesting items on the property.

“Say I buy 500 things on a property or 200 things. What we do is we pick two things on that property, sometimes three, that are significant to tell a story,” Wolfe shared during a 2013 book signing. “‘Cause there’s two things that are going on there. There’s what I actually do for a living and then there’s the entertainment factor of it.”

From the hours if not days that the American Pickers star spends at a site, we get to see the most exciting, informative and comical moments of it all.

‘American Pickers’ Star Debunks Theory That Show Is Staged

While the American Pickers host is able to choose which items make it on air, he stressed that this doesn’t mean what he does is fake. Like any reality show host, Wolfe has received some criticism about the show’s authenticity. But, as he clarified, the show has no need for fabrication – all the good stories are already at the property.

“What I actually do for a living is what you see me do,” the American Pickers star explained. “We don’t go in, we don’t plan things. We don’t have to plan things. I mean, look at all the stuff that’s out there. We walk into a building, and it’s completely full.”

Of course, the star has to make his livelihood a bit entertaining, but this never jeopardizes the authenticity of the pick, the people involved or the show’s premise.

“Now, are there things we do for the entertainment factor? There are. Because if you guys watched me do what I really do for a living, you’d probably turn the channel. You’d go, ‘Oh, this guy’s boring. Click.’ There are things that we have to do to connect stories,” he concluded.