In a twist that few saw coming, it appears “American Pickers” is actually performing better in the absence of Frank Fritz. Over the last few weeks, new episodes of the show have been hauling in over 1.3 million viewers. The last episode to feature Frank Fritz had 1.28 million watching, and the numbers don’t lie. But what explains the bump in viewers?
When they announced that Frank Fritz wouldn’t return to the show, fans were furious. Fritz’s absence began as a result of some health issues. He had to leave the show temporarily for back surgery before COVID-19 hit. And with the pandemic in combination with the health issues, his continued absence didn’t seem that odd. But eventually, fans started to get curious. What did “American Pickers” do with Frank?
That’s when it came to light just how dramatic things had become behind the scenes. Apparently, Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe hadn’t spoken to each other in years. It quickly became clear that the show had no intention of bringing Fritz back.
“He knew my back was messed up, but he didn’t call me up and ask how I was doing. That’s just how it is. The show is tilted towards him 1,000 percent. I can’t even bend that far down to show you how much. That’s fine,” Fritz told The Sun recently.
Frank Fritz Doesn’t Think He’s Easily Replaced on ‘American Pickers’
Despite acknowledging that “American Pickers” leans toward Mike Wolfe as the main personality, Frank Fritz thought that the dynamic between them was a major draw. And based on the backlash the show received via social media, fans seem to support that idea.
“You couldn’t just stick two people in a van and get the chemistry you get from me and Mike. We’ve known each other for about 40 years. We can finish each other’s sentences. When everybody is getting along and there’s no drama, me and him are very good together,” Fritz told The Sun.
To get an idea of what the fans have been saying, comments like the one below have become commonplace in the wake of the Fritz news breaking.
“American Pickers without Frank is Fake American Pickers. We all know this. Lock Mike and Frank in a room until they figure it out,” a Twitter user wrote.
Yet, the viewership numbers only seem to be increasing. The news cycle itself may be responsible for the increased numbers. After all, the title “American Pickers” has been in the news constantly over the past week or two. Perhaps people are simply trying to catch some drama unfolding on the show.
At any rate, Mike Wolfe is carrying the action these days. He’ll occasionally have a guest like his brother, Robbie, or an antique expert tag along on his picking adventures. For now, it’s working. But as the drama fades, the viewership numbers may tell a different story entirely.
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