She explained to Freshly Inked Magazine that Wolf would return with these wild stories of his adventures picking and the people he’d meet along the way. Colby was incredulous and told him she needed video proof that these things happened.
“I believe he came up with the idea because none of us believed his crazy stories,” Colby told the magazine. “He would come back from a pick, two weeks on the road, he would have all these crazy stories about the people he ran into and the places he stayed. He had to film it to prove it to us. That actually worked out pretty well for him, didn’t it?”
Wolfe addressed this before. He admits that the idea for the show came from those conversations.
“I shared some of my experiences with my friends, and they said, ‘You should buy a video camera,’ so I did,” Mike Wolfe explained during an interview with Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine.
He even mounted a dashboard camera and pointed it at himself so he could talk as he drove. A familiar setup for anyone who’s ever watched an episode of American Pickers.
“I made videos and posted them on my website,” Wolfe explained. “With those videos, I started pitching the concept, and I finally sold it to the History Channel.”
Mike Wolfe Pitched ‘American Pickers’ for 5 Years
American Pickers remains one of the most popular shows on the History Channel, drawing in more than 1.3 million viewers in its season 22 premiere last month. However, the show got off to a rocky start as Mike Wolfe pitched the idea to networks for more than five years before he got History Channel to take a chance on him.
One of the biggest challenges was explaining to producers what a picker actually did and how they could make that interesting. So, Wolfe — the consummate negotiator — used that as an advantage rather than a hindrance.
The History Channel finally caved and decided to give the show a shot in 2010. It was an immediate success. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of the term picker.
But, for the record, Wolfe has a very specific definition for his job.
“A ‘picker’ is a guy that’s on the front line in the trenches. We’re the ones resurrecting these things, digging them out of the dirt,” Wolfe said in an interview with NH Business Review. “Sometimes before it even hits the market it may change hands four or five times through dealers before it sits on the shelf of your local antique shop or at an auction.”