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Why did Frank Fritz leave American Pickers?

The TV host made his final appearance on the show in 2020

Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe on the red carpet in 2015
Megan Bull
TV Writer
15 April 2024
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Frank Fritz appeared on American Pickers for over a decade, before waving goodbye to the series in March 2020. The TV star explained to The Sun that he had simply taken a break to undergo surgery, but as of 2021, he had not been invited back.

"It's up to the network whether I come back on the show. It ain't gonna affect me one bit. I didn't leave the show," he began. "I finished shooting and then I had a little back surgery and then the pandemic came."

Frank Fritz posing on the red carpet in 2012© Shutterstock
Frank Fritz took a break from American Pickers in 2020 to undergo back surgery

By July of that year, however, his co-host Mike Wolfe confirmed that Frank would not be returning to American Pickers for season 22.

Posting a behind-the-scenes photo on Instagram, Mike noted: "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 Colby] 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."

Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz on American Pickers© Shutterstock
In July 2021, the TV star revealed that he had not been invited back

Mike concluded: "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."

Around the time of Mike's statement, reports of a rift between the TV personalities had already begun circulating, fuelled by Frank's revelation that there had been tensions behind the scenes.

View post on Instagram

"I haven't talked to Mike 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 to The Sun.

"The show is tilted towards him 1,000 percent. I can't even bend that far down to show you how much," added Frank. "That's fine. It's like you've got Aerosmith and there's Steven Tyler and he's the front man. I found my spot, I'm second and he's number one on the show. That's no problem with me, maybe he does have a problem."

Reflecting on Mike's Instagram statement a month later, Frank even told Newsweek that he doubted the 59-year-old had penned it. "Somebody wrote it out for him. 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."

Mike eventually responded to Frank's comments, suggesting that the star's struggles with alcohol addiction had played a part in their feud.

Mike Wolfe suggested that Frank's alcohol addiction had affected their relationship© Shutterstock
Mike Wolfe suggested that Frank's alcohol addiction had affected their relationship

"We all do care about Frank and we want him back on the show. I would love to talk with him again, we would absolutely love to, but he just can't get it right," he told The Sun. 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."

In July 2022, Frank was found unresponsive in his home after experiencing a stroke. Taking to Instagram, Mike wished his former co-star a full recovery.

Frank Fritz close up and smiling on the red carpet© Shutterstock
Frank had stroke in July 2022

"I have been very private in the past year in regards to Franks's life and the journey he's been on. There has been lots of opinions in regards to mine and Frank's friendship and the show but now is not the time to set the record straight. Now is the time to pray for my friend," he began.

"Frank has suffered a stroke and is in the hospital. Please keep him in your hearts and thoughts. Frank I pray more than anything that you make it through this okay. I love you buddy."

By May 2023, The Quad-City Times had reported that Mike had visited Frank in the hospital with the two putting their differences aside. Focused on his recovery, Frank is yet to return to American Pickers, although fans have remained hopeful that might make a comeback on the show someday. 

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