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American Pickers was a huge hit for The History Channel in 2010; it had the highest debut on the network since 2007. It continues to be popular today, now in its 25th season.
But in the past few years, American Pickers saw some changes in its cast: namely, long-time co-lead Frank Fritz abruptly left the show halfway through season 21. The credits still listed him for most of the remaining episodes, but never appeared on the show again.
The network and the rest of the cast didn’t mention Fritz’s absence, either, causing fans to wonder what had happened to him. Luckily, we’ve got the answers in this guide and can explain why Frank Fritz left the show and why it’s unlikely he’ll ever return.
At first, Frank Fritz was only absent from the show because of a back surgery and the pandemic. Afterwards, however, The History Channel opted not to put him back on the show.
When Frank Fritz first vanished in the middle of season 21, no one on the show mentioned it. There was no press release explaining his absence, either. Then, in January 2021, when season 22 aired, Fritz was still missing. Not only that, but the show apparently promoted Danielle Colby in his place.
It wasn’t until July of 2021 Frank Fritz himself addressed his absence from the show. He told The Sun that it was up to The History Channel if he ever came back or not. “I didn’t leave the show. I finished shooting and then I had a little back surgery and the pandemic came.”
Fritz also revealed that he and co-star Mike Wolfe in two years. “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.”
He explained, “When everybody is getting along and there’s no drama, me and him are very good together.” But apparently there was drama, as Fritz claims the show was tilted “1,000 percent” towards Wolfe. Fritz says he was fine with his position on the show, but if Wolfe wanted change, he had the power to get it.
“I think Mike wants to get his brother Robbie in there to replace me. I don’t know why he’s behaving like that towards me.”
Mike Wolfe Says Goodbye To Frank Fritz
Mike Wolfe finally addressed Frank leaving the show with a respectful message Frank found suspect. Danielle Colby, on the other hand, directly said that it was Frank’s actions that caused his split from the show.
Shortly after Frank Fritz spoke to The Sun, The History Channel announced via Entertainment Weekly that Fritz would not be returning to American Pickers.
EW also published Mike Wolfe’s statement on the decision: “I have known Frank for as long as I can remember, he’s been like a brother to me.”
“The journey that Frank, Dani (Danielle), 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.
“I will miss Frank, just like all of you, and I pray for the very best and all good things for him on the next part of his journey.”
However, Frank spoke to The Sun again about Mike’s words. “Mike’s statement was bulls***,” he said, “somebody wrote it out for him. We never were friends in grade school.”
“I don’t believe in ten years he’s said five nice things to me, you know? Unless he was cutting somebody else down and we were both laughing.”
Cast And Fan Reactions To Him Leaving
Danielle Colby took to Instagram to show her support for Mike over Frank Fritz after Fritz left American Pickers. Frank’s fans, however, were even more supportive of Frank on Twitter.
Tagging Mike Wolfe, Danielle Colby said on Instagram, “I’m proud of how you have handled the last 12 years and look forward to many more years of rolling around this big blue marble together.”
“I’m truly saddened for the loss of Frank on the show,” she went on, seemingly pinning some of the tension on the show directly on Frank. “I’m incredibly sad for his struggles. I have personally watched everything over the last decade.”
“I wish things could have been different but we must be accountable for our actions when we cause instability or pain and suffering to others. Frank caused so much pain for himself that it has been hard to watch.
“I truly hope Frank receives all the help he needs to become well after years of being unwell. It is not my place to speak Ill of someone who needs help so I will keep my comments uplifting.”
As for Frank’s fans, they flooded Twitter in support of the American Pickers star. “I used to love this show, but it’s gone way downhill since Frank left,” one user opined.
Another called it “unwatchable”:
What Is Frank Fritz Doing Now?
Sadly, Frank Fritz suffered a stroke in July of 2022. There’s speculation that he and Mike Wolfe have reconciled, but Fritz’s health prevents him from returning to American Pickers.
An anonymous friend also reported that Mike Wolfe and Frank allegedly reconciled over Memorial Day weekend in 2023.
While it’s unlikely that Frank can return to American Pickers due to his health, he is recovering and is still able to enjoy his life, according to a close source. The friend says that Frank is enjoying “being totally out of the limelight” for now.