Mike Wolfe has dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to “American Pickers.” The show has only been on since 2010, but that was far from the beginning. Wolfe spent more than five years pitching the show’s concept to networks only to face rejection. A hard enough time in itself. But fans may be surprised to know that it didn’t necessarily get easier once the show made it onto TV.
Of course, having “American Pickers” picked up by the History Channel was a major achievement. But for Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the work had only just begun.
These days, the show is a certified hit. Wolfe is extremely proud of that and feels he has been rewarded greatly for the effort. Though, at one time, he was under the impression that “American Pickers” would get easier to make as the seasons progressed.
Mike Wolfe reflected on his time with the show during an interview with Small Town Big Deal in 2016.
“American Pickers” is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, but it’s the most rewarding thing. And I was so naive to the process—I mean we’d never done television before. Frank and I were friends since eighth grade and we just wanted to be ourselves. And I think that’s what resonates with people. But at the end of the day, it was like how do we make this different somehow. Or how do we move forward…” Wolfe said.
Keeping ‘American Pickers’ Entertaining is a Constant Challenge for Mike Wolfe
According to Wolfe, deciding how to move forward remains the challenge to this day. He didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to find ways of making the same thing entertaining to watch each week.
“You’re challenging yourself constantly,” Wolfe continued. “Even if I’m buying that gas tank. How do I talk about that gas tank differently? Because the audience has seen me buy the gas tank a million times.”
The Rewards Have Made the Challenges Worth it
Mike Wolfe was doing well for himself before “American Pickers” came along. He already owned one of his Antique Archaeology stores and had a knack for turning a profit on his picking endeavors.
Since the show took off, however, he’s found himself in quite an advantageous financial situation. The reality TV star has a reported net worth of roughly $7 million.
The money is a big reward in itself. But at the end of the day, Wolfe wasn’t in it for the money.
“A lot of the stuff that I did sell over the last 10 years, I’ve been going back and I’ve been buying it back,” Wolfe said in the interview.
He’s passionate about antiques, and the most rewarding thing has been enabling himself to hang onto the pieces he really loves.