The best part of American Pickers was the banter between Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and Danielle Colby. Unfortunately, Frank hasn’t been on the show since the middle of season 21. When season 22 began, fans hoped to see the star make a comeback, but instead, he was temporarily replaced by Jon Szalay.
Many rumors and reasons were given for Fritz’s departure from the show. So, we investigated Frank’s mysterious disappearance from the antiquing show and have laid out all the facts below. Meanwhile, we keep hoping that Frank will someday return to American Pickers.
Best Friends Forever?
Frank and Mike have always seemed like best friends, making Frank’s departure all the more problematic. Since Frank’s hiatus, the two have been sending pretty mixed signals regarding their relationship. In July, Fritz revealed that he had left the show for good and hadn’t spoken with Mike for two years.
Whereas Mike claimed that he would be happy to have Frank back on the show if Frank could “get it right.” Frank contended that Mike hadn’t reached out to him after he left the show to deal with his personal issues. What happened to their friendship?
Inseparable Since Junior High?
According to Mike, he and Frank have been friends since junior high school and have always balanced each other out. Danielle has said that they are almost opposites; Mike is a jokester and a prankster like a little kid, whereas Frank is serious and the “old man” of the group.
After leaving the show, Frank claimed that he and Mike were never childhood friends and that Mike has said about five nice things to him in the past ten years. Frank went on to say that they never got along unless they were “cutting somebody else down.”
Fanatic Fans Overwhelm Frank
It’s possible that Frank left the show because of his personal issues with the long hours and hard work that didn’t bode well in combination with his physical problems. Furthermore, Frank has expressed his exhaustion from the overwhelming attention the two get from fanatic fans.
Frank told the press that he and Mike and the crew put in eighteen-hour workdays. While the show is filming, they wake up before 4 a.m. to set up. He explained that since “Pickers” is a road show, they finish filming and drive to the next destination, spending every night in a different hotel.
Always Second Best
Frank also hinted that he always felt like second fiddle to Mike. He claimed the show was “tilted towards” Mike 1000 percent. Fritz also seems to think that Mike has a problem with him because Frank is more popular with fans, easier to identify with, and more down-to-earth.
Frank described himself as “more of a regular ol’ guy” and expressed his feeling that he was less arrogant. He called his fans common people and said they were “pizza and Busch Light” guys, like himself. Could it be possible that Mike was jealous of Frank’s popularity with fans?
The Simple Life
Frank is a pretty low-profile guy for a reality star. He isn’t active on social media and has mentioned more than once that he doesn’t plan to be in the spotlight forever. Frank even stated that when the show ends, he plans on getting rid of all the stuff he picked up.
He said, “I’ll go back to just being Frank, still living in my town. I haven’t bought a big house, no fancy cars.” Could Frank have just wanted to go back to his simple life? Maybe, but that isn’t the main reason for him being off the show.
He Wanted to Come Back
For a while, Frank still wanted back on “American Pickers,” he said he wanted the job back. The star expressed how much he missed his friends from the crew and meeting so many interesting characters on the road. However, he knew how hard it would be to put the show on after not talking to anyone from the crew for two years.
Fritz also suspected that Mike planned to replace him with none other than Robbie, Mike’s brother. He seemed hurt, claiming that no one had better chemistry than himself and Mike, who have known each other for 40 years.
Franks Embarrassing DUI
Sadly, Frank Fritz has had quite a few struggles in his personal life since the show “American Pickers” first aired. In 2017, Frank was stopped driving in the wrong direction on the highway while under the influence. Frank failed the sobriety test given to him by the arresting officer and was charged with a DUI.
The DUI alone could have been a good enough reason for producers to try and kick Frank off the show. However, he put the mistake behind him and still stuck around for a few more seasons.
Not Just Alcohol
Frank ended up admitting that he had been under the influence of alcohol and Xanax when he committed the DUI. The judge was lenient with him and had him pay a fine. Frank was also assessed for substance abuse issues and remain and was probated from driving for a year.
However, Frank was not happy. He claimed that the details of the case were wrong and that it made him sound like an enemy to the public. He felt that the media portrayed him as a crazed drunkard weaving down the freeway when he claimed to have been barely inebriated.
Was Frank Guilty?
People didn’t understand why Frank had pleaded guilty if that was the case. To their speculation, he replied, “I did use the illegal U-turn. I missed my exit, and I turned through one of those interstate medians the police use.” However, he continued to insist that he had not been drunk.
There were traces of marijuana found in Frank’s blood, which he claimed were a few weeks old and unrelated. He had been in Colorado, where using weed is legal, and insisted that he isn’t “a big drug user.” As for the Xanax, Frank said he took it for anxiety.
Caught in a Lie
Fritz even alleged that the police didn’t arrest him. He explained that they never handcuffed him and never took him to the station. Instead, they drove him home. The American Picker agreed that he had veered across the freeway but explained that he had just been reaching for his mobile phone.
The star also stated that he hadn’t gotten a ticket in 34 years. However, the Globe Gazette proved this to be a lie. The paper wrote that Fritz had been given five separate tickets between 2003 and 2017. One such offense was detailed as “failing to maintain control.”
Fritz’s Stint in Rehab
Later, when Frank left American Pickers, he revealed to the public that he had entered himself into rehab to deal with his addiction to alcohol. Frank spent 77 days at a facility in Iowa. We are glad he finally addressed his substance abuse.
To bad that at the time of his DUI, Frank was unable to admit he had a problem. Mike expressed his worry for his former costar, saying that “Frank is just going through a lot personally with addictions. It’s unfortunate that he’s made decisions that have him the way he is.”
Sober for Almost a Year
Since rehab Frank has been sober for eleven months, he has decided that he doesn’t like drinking any longer. Frank now continues to attend AA meetings twice a week and is working hard to maintain his sobriety.
Frank shared that he has a rough history of alcoholism in his family. His mother passed away five years ago from alcohol-related complications, and his grandfather was also an alcoholic and is no longer with us. Frank decided that he didn’t want to go like they did; he felt that “it didn’t sit too well” with him.
Feeling Better Than Ever
“I don’t think I’ll ever have a drink again,” Frank explained, “because I don’t like the feeling anymore.” He also remembers all the dumb things he did drunk and wishes he could forget. Sober Frank feels excellent and has expressed his hope to get back into the swing of things now that life is so good.
The star knows that if he had gotten his act together five years back, things would have worked out differently, and he would be a different person. He wishes that he’d gotten sober sooner and avoided some of his mistakes.
A Surprising Engagement
Around the same time as his DUI, Frank was also going through some issues in his dating life. The American Picker had been dating a woman named Diann Bankson. The couple had been on and off for almost thirty years and, in 2017, were engaged to be married.
Diann and Frank first started seeing each other when he was only 25. They broke up after a while and had a comeback ten years later, before parting ways yet again. When Frank was 55, they were again reunited, although this comeback wouldn’t last either.
Rumors of Cheating
In 2021, The Sun published evidence of legal documents that revealed what’d led to Diann and Frank’s final breakup. Bankson had begun a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend because of an occurrence involving fireworks. Furthermore, Diann claimed she had caught Frank cheating on her two years previous.
When asked about his alleged infidelity, Frank didn’t deny that he’d had someone over; however, he claimed that Diann had been unfaithful far before him. According to Frank, his fiancé had been seeing someone else for two and a half years. Frank even got a tattoo to commemorate her betrayal.
The Firework Debacle
When interviewed, Diann completely denied Frank’s claims that she had been unfaithful, claiming that he was trying to make it seem as if she was the bad person. However, the rumors of their cheating were not the real reason the couple broke up. The reason was Diann’s injury from the fireworks.
As Diann tells it, Frank and an unnamed friend were drunk and playing around in the yard with fireworks. Apparently, the two tried to light a firework, and it wouldn’t go off, so they placed it in a “closed cylinder vintage ashtray” and forgot about it.
The Faulty Firework
Instead of properly disposing of the faulty firework, the explosive was forgotten in the closed ashtray. Diann was unaware of the dangerous item in her ashtray and later went out to smoke. When the woman put her cigarette in the ashtray, it ignited the firework, and the vintage ashtray blew up.
The explosion caused Diann to sustain severe burns on her hand and arm. Furthermore, her eyelashes and eyebrows were singed off. According to the lawsuit she filed, the burns Diann sustained were third-degree burns, which are considered extremely dangerous.
Diann Sustained Severe Burns
Diann further claimed that Frank wouldn’t take her to the hospital after her injury. She alleged that her fiancé had merely told her to “toughen up.” According to her suit, Diann had experienced emotional and physical suffering at the hands of Frank and was physically impaired.
On the other hand, Frank claimed that it had not been him who had left the firework in the ashtray. He believed it was the friend who had been with him. Frank said that he didn’t even know the firework had been in the ashtray. He also denied telling her to “toughen up.”
Frank Had Disappeared Earlier
Frank claimed that Diann had simply gone to sleep after she had been burned and that the next day, they saw how bad it was, and he took her to the doctor. Frank was adamant that it had not been him who had been negligent with the dangerous explosive.
Nevertheless, the debacle with the fireworks and the lawsuit seems like a good enough reason for Frank to be asked to leave American Pickers. However, the star exited the show before the suit became public knowledge. Therefore, it seems that there may have been a different reason for his departure.
Was It Due to Health Problems?
When Frank first left American Pickers, Mike explained his absence. Wolfe explained that his costar was temporarily gone due to a back operation. This was a plausible explanation, considering that back operations can take months to heal from and require physical therapy.
According to Frank, his surgery was severe, and he needed 185 stitches and had two rods put in his spine. However, many fans receptive noticed that Frank was having other physical issues before departing American Pickers. Could his ailments be the real reason for his permanent hiatus from the road show?
His Autoimmune Disorder
Avid viewers will have noticed that Frank’s weight went up and down drastically, quite a lot throughout the many seasons of American Pickers. The changes were most prominent in seasons eight and nine of the show. Many fans discussed it online, attempting to understand the cause of these changes.
Frank ended up revealing to his fans the reason behind his weight changes. The star explained that he has chronic Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system, causing inflammation, pain, weight loss, and other painful and debilitating symptoms.
Frank’s Chronic Crohn’s
Frank became known for speaking out and raising awareness about his disease. In an interview, the star discussed it, explaining that “Crohn’s is a terrible, terrible disease.” He went on and elaborated that the condition “affects so many people’s lives and their family members.”
Frank believes that discussing his disorder is essential. The star thinks there should be more awareness about the disease and its effects on people’s lives and their ability to function. Likewise, the condition can be challenging for friends, family, and the afflicted people’s support systems and loved ones.
Terribly Difficult Symptoms
Part of raising awareness about Crohn’s disease meant explaining how the disease manifests. It is a disorder of the intestinal tract which causes terribly difficult and painful symptoms. Patients with Crohn’s often display fevers, intestinal bleeding, skin rashes, and even severe weight loss and malnutrition.
Perhaps the most inconvenient symptom is that most people with Frank’s condition need to be near a restroom at all times in case of an emergency. This type of disorder can cause embarrassment and shame, so Frank’s bravery in sharing his disease is all the more admirable.
With Help from the Crew
The cast and crew of American Pickers have been very helpful and supportive of Frank. Since Pickers is a traveling show, they are always on the road, making it harder for Frank to be near a restroom in an emergency. So, the showrunners made sure that Frank could travel in a camper with a bathroom.
Having a portable bathroom on the road made Frank’s life much more bearable. That way, he could relax and not be stressed. To make it less hard on his stomach, Frank would try and eat his main meal in the evenings while on the road.
An Inspiration to Others
Frank made it his mission to show that despite the illness and the awkwardness, challenging social situations, and embarrassment it can cause, people who suffer from it can still live a happy, productive life. The star wanted to inspire other people with his condition to live their best lives.
He knows how tough a hand he’d been dealt but still explained that the disease can be controlled and is less severe if treated correctly. Frank explained that eating right and getting the correct nutrition is crucial. Furthermore, planning ahead to decrease stress can also make a difference.
When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
Frank shared with the press how he deals with his Crohn’s. The star explained that American Pickers’ whole crew knew about his disorder and helped him out. The staff understood that if he needed a break, it was urgent. They all learned that with Crohn’s, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
The star explained that worrying about finding a restroom, or making it in time to the toilet, is the most stressful part of Crohn’s disease. Therefore, having a helpful and understanding crew was such a blessing for Frank. He could never have done the show without them.
Difficult to Deal With
Fans commented, worried about the drastic shifts in Franks appearance between seasons eight and nine. So, Frank decided to open up about his disease, writing on Facebook, “A lot of you have been wondering about my health and my weight loss. I have an illness called Crohn’s, which at times is difficult to deal with.”
The star also shared that although his weight loss started because of Crohn’s, he decided to use the momentum to shed some more pounds. Weight loss is a Crohn’s symptom that can be due to malnutrition. Therefore Frank had to eat healthy and nutritious foods.
Exercising and Eating Good
Frank shared with his worried fans how he’d been “exercising and eating good.” He also thanked them for their “kind words of concern,” pledging that he “couldn’t do what” he did them. The talented Picker wanted fans to know that he was moving on to a new healthier chapter in his life.
Frank shared that due to his disease, he had lost 65 pounds. He set off to a fresh start, ready to keep his condition under control and to stay strong and functioning. Frank told viewers that he was transformed due to healthy eating and physical fitness.
Controlling the Condition
People were incredibly moved by Frank’s Facebook post. Many of his followers admitted that they, too, suffered from the same medical condition. Some even offered up ideas on how to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet or how to deal with the pain and stress that comes with Crohn’s.
One fan expressed his gratitude towards Frank, saying that he’s “an encouragement for all of us Crohnies out there.” Other people with the condition understood that even if Frank seemed fine on the outside, he was constantly working hard to maintain control and deal with his uncomfortable symptoms, just like them.
Not the First or the Last
Frank Fritz is not the first or the last celebrity to suffer from Crohn’s disease. Many famous people deal with the same rough condition. Other famous people who have Chrohn’s are- pop legend Anastacia, 90210-star Shannen Doherty, and comedian Pete Davidson.
It was even revealed that the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower had Crohn’s disease, as did iconic Hollywood star Carrie Grant. From Olympic athletes such as Carrie Johnson and Kathleen Baker to famous rockstars like Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, this inflammatory disease can impact anyone.
The Horrible Reality of Crohn’s
Every one of these stars knows how tough living with a condition like Crohn’s can be. Like Frank, guitarist Mike McCready shared his struggles with fans in an article in the HuffPost, explaining that he “was successful beyond my wildest dreams musically, but very sick physically.”
McCready told all, sharing that he’d experienced “‘accidents’ on stage and spent the first song of my lifelong dream of opening for the Rolling Stones,” incapacitated in the restroom. Episodes of Crohn’s disease can be stimulated by stress. Therefore, being on stage or camera must be rough for people with the condition.
Looking Better Than Ever
No matter how it came about, Frank’s weight loss seemed to be a good thing for the star. He admitted being happy about it and working hard to be healthy. Frank’s many fans congratulated him on his change, and Frank thanked them for their kindness, explaining that he’d been watching his “p’s and q’s!”
Alcohol can be aggravating for anyone suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s. Luckily, since leaving American Pickers, Frank Fritz has quit drinking and is taking even more steps to implement and maintain a healthy and beneficial lifestyle.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
It seems as if Frank finally has his disease under control, but did it have anything to do with his departure from American Pickers? Many fans have speculated whether the combination between his Crohn’s and the Covid-19 pandemic caused Frank to leave the show.
He had left the series because of his back surgery and rehab, but did he not return because of a medical condition? Citizens with pre-existing conditions were advised to social distance and self-isolate throughout 2020 and 2021. Is it possible that Frank went on hiatus to stay out of harm’s way?
Splitting With Diann
It could very well be that a combination of all these factors caused Frank to leave the show initially. However, it seems that his personal drama was why he wasn’t encouraged to return to the series after his break. Did the showrunner’s fire Frank from American Pickers?
With Diann’s lawsuit accusing Frank of negligence coming to light, as well as his DUI, alcoholism, and messy breakup, it looked like Mike wasn’t happy with his costar’s image. Mike shared that he would miss Frank and “pray for the very best and all good things for him.”
Will The Show Survive Without Him?
Can American Pickers survive without Frank? It’s no secret that he was a fan favorite and one of the main draws of the series. Will the show’s other star stick around without Frank? Mike has shared that Frank has been like a brother to him for as long as he can remember.
Wolfe has been very sentimental about their time on the show, sharing in a post- “The journey that Frank, Dani and I started back in 2009, like all of life, has come with its highs and lows, blessings and challenges, but it has also been the most rewarding.”
Ce Sera Sera
Danielle Colby has confessed that American Pickers may not be forever. “One never knows what will happen in the future,” said the show’s female lead. Colby shared that she doubts American Pickers will be her last job but confessed that it had been her coolest job so far.
Danielle explained to fans that she feels obligated to stay because of Mike, who helped her get on the show. She said she’d stay “’til the end,” or at least however long Mike remains on the series. Furthermore, she professed that she wouldn’t leave until her “time there has run its course.”
The Future of American Pickers
Mike himself considered ending the show after season sixteen. However, the star changed his mind and has stuck with it until now. Mike shared with his fans that their support has been “a constant reminder of what the show’s message has always been; thru these places, people, and things we all have a common thread.”
Mike expressed the feeling that “We’re here to not only take care of the past but also each other.” Danielle has recently shared how happy she is to be on the road again with Mike, her “best friend, and big brother.”
Not the Same
There is no denying that Frank’s fans miss him very much. Mike Wolfe may have a new sidekick, Jersey Jon, and is considering his brother to fill Frank’s shoes, but fans keep asking about Frank. The show’s viewers want him back and say that Pickers is not the same without Fritz.
Frank shared that “Thousands of people want [him] back; they’ve got a petition to get [him] back on the show.” He shared that “people are really outraged about where [he’s] at right now.” However, it looks as if Frank, Mike, and Danielle aren’t patching things up any time soon.
It Won’t Keep Him Down
Frank said that he wouldn’t let his disease keep him down, and he “could go either way and find a new show, have something new and have just as much fun. That’s what it’s all about, being satisfied with yourself and having a little bit of fun.”
Recently, Frank said, “I’m just trying to get through life… and be as happy as I possibly can. Life is what you put into it. If you don’t put much into it, you don’t get a lot out of it.” Will we be seeing Frank in his own antiquing show sometime soon?
The Beauty of Picking
Danielle shared how saddened she was that Frank left the show but explained that “Frank caused so much pain for himself that it has been hard to watch.” Colby expressed her wishes that Frank gets the help he needs. She shared her hopes that “everybody continues to love each other even through the hard” stuff.
One thing is for sure; fans will continue to watch the show as long as Mike and Danielle continue turning antique finds into money. The beauty of picking is that it’s addictive to watch. Therefore, we’ve collected 40 behind-the-scenes secrets about the series.
Driving A Hard Bargain
Although Frank and Mike seem like really nice guys, they certainly know how to drive a hard bargain. Some sellers have claimed that they even set a price with the guys before filming, only to have Mike and Frank start haggling again when the camera goes on.
Of course, knowing how to haggle and how to get the best bargains is part of being a picker. However, some of the sellers who have been on the show felt that they got the short end of the stick and were intimidated into bringing down their prices too far.
Hobo Jack Musical Talent
American Pickers fans will recognize the name, Hobo Jack. You may remember that he can sing and play guitar from his time on the show. However, it is a lesser-known fact that Hobo Jack is a recorded musician. Jack’s real name is Jack J. Sophir.
Jack taught himself folk guitar and ragtime piano in his youth by watching famous musicians like Pat Webb and Trebor Tichenor. He has released music under the name Backwoods HOBO Jack. His work is inspired by the American tradition and mythology surrounding the hobo. There is a Hobo Convention every year in Britt, Iowa.
Danielle and Mike’s History
Danielle Colby and Mike Wolfe were close friends long before the two teamed up on American Pickers. In a 2010 interview, Danielle shared that Mike has been a friend of hers for over ten years. Colby even said that Mike helped her out with her own projects before she joined pickers.
Danielle looks up to her costar and says that “he’s just a really cool guy.” Many fans have speculated if there’s more between Mike and Danielle than friendship, wondering if the two took things to the next level following Danielle’s divorce. But there is no proof that they’re romantic.
Mike Chose Danielle for Pickers
Mike chose Danielle for American Pickers because Colby doesn’t look like the run-of-the-mill antique seller. Mike explained that he “wanted someone that did not look like they would work in any antique shop because [he] wanted [their] show to be looked at in a different way.”
Mike said he “wanted people to look at antiques like they’re fun, they’re rad, they’re killer, they’re awesome.” He was right. Pickers definitely has a cool vibe, partially because of Danielle’s edgy look. Danielle helps American Pickers aim at a younger, hipper audience than other antiquing shows.
Rumors of Planted Items
It seems as though Mike and Frank are especially good at finding rare, one-of-a-kind items that most people would just walk past. The pickers sometimes even find things that turn out to be worth tons of money. What is the secret to their success in finding such precious treasures?
Rumors are circling that some of the especially expensive finds on the show were planted. Like any reality show, some of the events in it are staged. However, we’ll never know which items the pickers actually found and what items were placed ahead of time by the show’s producers.
An Immediate Success
American Pickers was a hit with History viewers in no time. The first episode had an incredibly high rating, with 3.1 million viewers. The show broke the network’s record, becoming the show with the highest-rated pilot episode on The History Channel since Ice Road Truckers in 2007.
Mike shared on his social media in 2020 that when American Pickers premiered in 2010, the show quickly “became the number-one non-scripted show on all of cable television.” Pickers was voted the number one non-fiction series of 2010. What is it about American Pickers that audiences love so much?
American Picker’s Celebrity Cameos
Throughout the many seasons of the show, a couple of celebrities have made cameos on American Pickers. Jack White, frontman of The White Stripes and the Raconteurs, appeared in season 5. Dan Auerbach from the band, The Black Keys shows up in the series in season 13.
However, the most exciting famous face to appear on American Pickers is definitely Dolly Parton. Dolly is a super fan of the series herself and actually reached out to the showrunners asking if she could have a cameo. So, in season 11, they filmed an episode in Dollywood.
From American to International
The show may be called “American” Pickers, but that doesn’t mean that audiences abroad don’t love it too. Pickers has found loyal fans internationally, in many countries, from the U.K. and Spain to Romania and even Israel. Canada and Australia took their love for Pickers even further.
Both America’s Northern neighbors and their Pacific cousins down under created spin-off series; however, neither spin-off did as well as the original show. Aussie Pickers only lasted two seasons, and Canadian Pickers lasted four seasons. Is it the US cast or the US pickings that made the American show last so much longer?
The Network Disagreed with Casting
Can you imagine the show without the eccentric Danielle Colby behind the counter at Antique Archeology? The show wouldn’t be the same without her. However, rumor has it that History didn’t agree with Mike about bringing Colby onto the show.
The show’s producers didn’t want Danielle on the show and thought it should be just the guys. But Mike and Frank believed in Danielle Colby and insisted that she be one of the team. Their instincts were on point. Danielle really brings something unique to the series.
Frank Fritz Finds
Even before American Pickers started out, Frank Fritz was doing pretty well. The talented antique picker has always had an eye for finding unique automobiles for cheap, fixing them up, and reselling them for way higher. Frank always knew how to make a living, even without being a reality star.
The Picker also has his own store, called Frank Fritz Finds in Savanna, Illinois. Frank’s store also has a restaurant attached. Maybe Frank’s success as a business owner and his eye for antique cars will get him his own show now that he’s no longer a part of American Pickers.
Flip This Junk
Some less successful names were being suggested before the name American Pickers was chosen for the antiquing show. The producers thought that “the American Picking crew,” “Flip This Junk,” and “Mr. Picker” were all excellent choices, but in the end settled on American Pickers.
We have to say, we are relieved. There is no way a show called “Mr. Picker” would have become as popular as American Pickers is today. The name “Flip This Junk” might be catchy, but it can also be pretentious and alienate sellers who take pride in their wares.
Mike Started Alone
It’s hard to imagine the first 20 seasons of the series without Frank, but now that he is leaving, it’s an excellent time to find out that Mike actually started the show alone. American Pickers was Wolfe’s creation and dream, but he felt that something was missing.
Mike knew that he needed a partner in picking and asked his childhood friend Frank Fritz to team up with him. They’d known one another for so many years that the two were sure they would be a good fit. They weren’t long; 20 seasons together is no small feat.
From Rags to Riches
Mike grew up with a single mother and two siblings. They didn’t have much, but they got by. Mike learned to pick from a young age since he grew up with slim pickings. They didn’t have much money, so he had to develop a good eye and the skills to haggle and find the best bargains.
Nowadays, he has taken his childhood skills and refined them, becoming a professional haggler and Picker. Mike not only came from rage to riches himself, but he also knows how to take items that look like rags and turn them into riches.
A Bold Gamble
Almost every show produced begins with a creator filming a pilot to convince a network to pick up their series. Not American Pickers. Mike convinced History to create his show without having to make a pilot for them. History went straight to filming the first season with no trial episode.
It seems that History’s bet paid off. American Pickers was an instant smash hit and has stayed popular through 22 seasons. The American Pickers did end up “making a living telling the history of America… one piece at a time.”
They Don’t Work at Antique Archeology
For super fans who are planning a trip to Antique Archeology, be warned! Mike, Frank, and Danielle Colby don’t actually work at the stores in Nashville and Iowa. So, please don’t get your hopes up to meet the famous cast of the antique show at their home base.
Since the show became so popular and its cast became as famous as they are today, they were forced to stop operating the shops because fans wouldn’t leave them alone. It seems that they stopped selling antiques and became a tourist destination, so they quit working in the stores themselves.
Mike’s Favorite Antiques
Each of the cast members has their favorite types of antiques. It’s well known that Frank is partial to collectors’ cars and that Danielle is a fan of vintage fashion finds. Though most people don’t know what Mike’s favorite antiques are. He confessed in 2016 in Country Living magazine, “I’ve always loved old phones.”
Apparently, the star loved the vintage telephones so much that he has a retro phone booth set up inside his home. However, that doesn’t mean he is satisfied. Mike is still on the hunt for the perfect old phone for his collection.
Picking With Jodi Faeth
In 1994, way before he became a star, Mile met his long-time wife, Jodi Faeth. However, even back in the 90s, Mike used picking up Jodi to score better pickings. Jodi shared that when she first met Mike, “he used to disguise picks as dates.”
She claimed that he would pretend that they were going to places for romantic getaways, but he actually was chasing after antiques. “He’d say, ‘We’re going to Wisconsin to a bed-and-breakfast.’ We were really going to Wisconsin to meet Speedo Joe.” Somehow, he still stole her heart.
Everything Worked Out
Mike may have convinced History to hire Danielle Colby, but he also had to persuade Danielle herself. Danielle wasn’t as sure of herself as Mike was of her. Mike shared with fans in 2010 that he “asked her to do it, and she’s like, ‘Are you guys nuts?!’
Nevertheless, Mike and Frank convinced Danielle to join the show, and it all turned out great. We can’t believe that it almost didn’t happen. Who could fill Colby’s shoes? No one would stand out the same way Danielle does on American Pickers.
Secret History Buff
Danielle expressed on her website that her “work on American Pickers reflects [her] real-life passion for history.” The star believes that the beauty of antiques “lies in the story. Without a back story, there is little value to vintage.” She couldn’t be more right.
Danielle explained that her “goal is to bring to light all sides of history, lay them out in front of you, the viewer, and allow you to become an involved steward of history yourself.” That’s why she ended up joining the show! To elevate different sides of history and share it with audiences.
A Late Bloomer
Even though Mike and Jodi were together since 1994, they didn’t get married until 2012. The couple also has their first child the same year. Mike expressed that since their daughter Charlie was born, “life is never a dull moment.” He shared how much he loves being a dad.
Unfortunately, Mike and Jodi’s marriage didn’t last. The two recently split after 30 years together. In June 2020, the couple separated, and this November, Jodi filed for divorce against Mike, citing irreconcilable differences. Charlie reportedly lives with her mother, but no official information about her custody has been released.
Mike’s Other Income
One would think that Mike makes all of his money from picking, considering how good he is at haggling. However, the star revealed that most of his income is actually from other endeavors. He explained that he may as well be a clothing retailer and that he invests in real estate.
Furthermore, Mike owns an antique store in a renovated car manufacturing plant in Nashville, Tennessee. The venue is called Marathon Village and houses a coffee shop, boutique candy store, a photography studio, a winery, a recording studio, and even a craft brewery.
Donating Proceeds to Charity
When Mike and Jodi’s daughter Charlie was born, she needed corrective surgery. She had a cleft lip and a cleft palate. Because of his personal experience, Mike has been a big supporter of Operation Smile, a charity that funds surgery for kids born with mouth and face defects worldwide.
Mike raised awareness about the cause by commissioning sculptor Isabel Bloom to create a statue of his daughter Charlie. The sculpture is called “Charlie’s Smile” and depicts the girl sitting on a dog. Proceeds of the sculpture were donated to Operation Smile.
Hoping to Inspire
Mike began picking for antiques at an extremely young age and has always dreamed of inspiring others to do so as well. He wants there to be a new generation of pickers who also recycle American antiques and find the value in turning trash into treasure.
Mike even appeared on an episode of NCIS called “One Man’s Trash.” Ducky and Gibbs watch American Pickers and spot a murder weapon from a sixteen-year-old cold case in the episode. Mike gives the weapon to the detectives but asks if he can have it back when they are done solving the crime.
Mike’s Lovely Home
When the show first started, Mike Wolfe was living near the Antique Archeology location in Iowa. However, as he became more successful, Wolfe moved to a village called Leiper’s Fork, outside of Nashville, Tennessee, near his new store location.
He has a five thousand-one-hundred-square-foot house on 32 acres of land, most of which are woods. The giant home is basically a palace and sports a Disney-esque turret, 150-year-old front doors, and gates from the 1860s. Mike admitted that he didn’t even haggle on the price and said he loves Tennessee and will never leave.
Danielle Was a Jehovah’s Witness
Danielle may seem like she was always a rebel. However, the reality star was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, to a religious family. Danielle’s parents are what she described as “very strict” Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Antique Archeology store manager kept to her family’s rules and religion growing up.
Despite being strict, Danielle’s parents and siblings surrounded her with support and love, and she was raised well. In 2004, Danielle married Robert Strong and had two kids. However, Robert didn’t like how famous Colby became on American Pickers, and their marriage fell apart.
Picking Since Childhood
Mike has the talent for picking running in his veins. The American Pickers’ creator and longest-running cast member made his first pick when he was six years old. It seems like he has always been traveling the back roads of America looking to buy rusty gold.
At age six, the barn picker discovered an old bicycle hiding in a heap of scrap and decided to fix it up. After he was finished, he sold the bike to another neighborhood boy for five bucks. Mike wasn’t lying when he said he’d buy anything he can make a buck on.
Frank Lost in Court
Once a well-known antique collector named Jerry Bruce got in touch with Frank about buying an old polarimeter (a tool used to test for sugar levels in alcohol) that he’d seen on American Pickers. Frank agreed to part with the object for a total of 300 dollars, and the two signed a contract.
However, according to Bruce, Frank never sent the polarimeter or cashed the cheque. Therefore, Bruce filed a complaint against Fritz, claiming breach of their contract, and Frank was made to pay the collector 1000 dollars, plus another 80 bucks for court costs.
Hobo Jack’s Literary Talent
Hobo Jack is full of surprises. Not only is he a musician, but the enigmatic man is also an acclaimed author. Jack has penned three novels, all of which are fantasy-style fictional tales about the hobo lifestyle. His most well-known read is titled Amazing Adventures of The Tramp Prince.
The book tells the tale of a young man’s life and his search for a new home after losing his family farm in the 1900s. Although many of the dialogues in the story are between the young man and a toad, the novel has been called highly philosophical and controversial.
Mike’s Literary Prowess
Hobo Jack is not the only secret literary genius. Mike Wolfe is also a published author, although he is steered at a younger audience- kids! Published in 2013, Mike’s book “Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure” guides kids on how to become pickers.
Mike has experience as a kid picker, so there is no one better to write such a guide.
The star also has an online message board on his website to help show children what to do. Furthermore, he is known for hosting kid-friendly picking and recycling events.
Each to His Own Car
Many people allege that the show is not as real as it seems and that all the scenes in which Mike and Frank drive together are staged. In truth, Mike and Frank travel from place to place separately and are only seen in the car together for filming. Even if they do travel separately, we like their car scenes together.
Aside from their two separate cars, a whole entourage of vehicles follows the pickers around the country- they have a mobile home, a bunch of vans, and a U-Haul, all there to carry their pickings.
Danielle’s Body Art
As the years go by, Danielle seems to become more and more inked. Among her tattoos are a sailor girl, a man, an owl, a compass, a bunch of flowers, and a native American woman. Danielle’s shoulders have leopard spots on them. Her neck is adorned with flowers, and her chest and torso are covered with a design.
Danielle also has tattoos on her hands. One hand says “Mom,” and her knuckles spell out the words “Hold Fast.” On her back, she has markings like those on a violin, as well as a quote along the top of her shoulders.
Mole Man Ron
In 2010, Mole Man Ron appeared in one episode of American Pickers and made a considerable impression. Ron is a picker with a 26-room lair, underground, filled with pickings. Since appearing on the show, a documentary film was made about Mole Man Ron.
The film premiered at film festivals in 2018 and is called Mole Man. The movie follows Ron’s life and the building of his now 80-room lair that sits in his parent’s backyard in Pennsylvania. The documentary won prizes at five film festivals, including the best documentary at Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival.
A Career in Burlesque
Before working at Antique Archeology, Danielle was known for quite a different set of talents. Colby was a Burlesque dancer! Since she grew up religious, Danielle at first felt that her burlesque career was dangerous, taboo, or wrong. However, she grew to love the dance.
Her stage name is Dannie Diesel, which sounds a lot like the nickname Dannie D that Mike calls her on the show! Danielle is especially excited by vintage burlesque costumes and the history of the dance genre. She also fixes up vintage burlesque costumes from the 1800s and sells them.
Worth $10 Million Together
Thanks to the popularity of American Pickers, its three main stars are doing pretty well financially. Mike Wolfe has an estimated net value of around five million dollars between his real estate investments and his stores. Frank and Danielle each have a little less but are still well off.
Frank Fritz’s net worth is estimated to be around 4 million; however, it may have changed due to his lawsuits and his hiatus from American Pickers over the past year. Finally, Danielle Colby is said to be worth around 1.5 million dollars. Altogether, the three are worth over ten million dollars.
A Jack of All Trades
Danielle Colby is more than just a burlesque dancer and a star on American Pickers; she also was the owner of a vintage clothing store. Her boutique was called 4 Miles 2 Memphis and specialized in vintage and retro clothing. She also hand-made fashionable accessories and sold them in the shop.
Nowadays, Danielle’s designs and fixed-up burlesque costumes can be found for sale on her Etsy account. The starring lady of American Pickers never ceases to wow fans with her many hobbies and talents on and off the small screen.
Mike Never Called Frank
Despite Mike’s supposed sadness at Frank leaving the show, Frank claims that everything Mike said was a lie. According to Frank, when he left American Pickers to get back surgery, Mike never even called him to wish him well or ask how his operation had gone.
Frank was very hurt that no one checked on him after he left the show. He further alleged that Mike basically abandoned him when he took a break for his health and that Wolfe didn’t want him back on the series. Frank claims that Mike didn’t call him for two whole years.
Rumors About Danielle Leaving Pickers
As of late, rumors have been sprouting up about Danielle possibly leaving American Pickers. The reason for the rumors is that Danielle’s Instagram with the handle @americanpicker has been deactivated, and her Facebook name has been changed from Danielle Colby: American Pickers to just her name.
Of course, no official announcements have been made, and she still retweets American Pickers-related news, so no need to be worried. According to History, the show’s network, Danielle is currently living in Puerto Rico, volunteering in orphanages and animal shelters. Let’s hope she moves back in time from the next season of Pickers.
The Grascals Song
Did you ever wonder where the show’s theme song came from? The bluegrass band, The Grascals, are huge fans of American Pickers and approached Mike Wolfe in 2014 and asked if they could write a theme song for the series. Mike agreed, and the band recorded their hit “American Pickers.”
Not only that, but Dierks Bentley collaborated with the band on the single and can be heard in the song. The Grascals are a well-known bluegrass band from Tennessee that has played with Dolly Parton. Mike himself appears in the song’s music video along with Dierks and the band.
Ambassador of Zambodia
Fans of American Pickers will remember “Prince Mongo,” an eccentric character that Frank and Mike visited in his decrepit castle in Memphis, Tennessee. Mongo’s real name is Robert Hodges, although he refers to himself as “Ambassador of Zambodia” or “Prince Mongo.”
Mongo has aspirations beyond presiding over his own palace full of junk and antiques. He has actually run for Mayor of Memphis and Mayor of Shelby County. He began running in the 1970s and still does so today. In 1991, he even got 2000 votes, making him third place!
Picking the Best Finds
Mike Wolfe may love picking and antiquing, but he is a clean and tidy guy. He even stated, “I love this stuff, but I would never live in a place that looks like the places we pick.” Some say that makes him just too picky and even a bit of a snob.
However, most people wouldn’t live in such cluttered spaces themselves. Loving antiques doesn’t mean you have to live like Prince Mongo or Mole Man Ron. That’s what Mike, Frank, and Danielle are there for! To pick the best finds and sell them at Antique Archeology.